3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners. | High Sierra Topix  

3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby thepreciselife » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:46 pm

So next month ( 4th of July ) my gf and I are going on our first backpacking trip.
We live near Los Angeles, and plan to drive up there Thurs after work, sleep in the area,
then start our trip Friday morning but we need some suggestions on places to go.

We do not have any actual backpacking experience but we do have a lot of outdoors experience.
We also do a fair amount of hiking usually ~6 miles or so, so we're looking to keep it around 6 miles
or less so we can arrive Fri in a few hours, then hang out there the rest of the day, possibly do a short hike on Sat then come back on Sunday.

The main request that we have is that its nothing to crazy, and we can camp near a lake
with fish in it (so I can catch our dinner) but do not worry, we're taking food so we have a plan B.

I'd also like to have a campfire, just for the coziness of it, but we also own backpacking stoves
so we can live without the campfire but lake/fish is one of the main things.

Other than that, we're both really into photography so really scenic/green/wildlife areas would
be perfect.

I understand hiking 6 miles is totally different than backpacking 6 miles but we're both really healthy /fit people so I truly believe 6-ish miles would be perfect for us, don't want anything to easy.
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.



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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:25 pm

Several questions come to mind.

East or West side of the sierra?

Do you have the gear? pads, tent, stove, mosquito headnets, etc.

Mav has his questionnaire at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205, which you could answer before we proceed, but two places you can consider as you're filling that out are North Lake to Piute Lk or even up to Muriel on the East side out of Bishop. This is '9400' to 11,300' to the pass in 5 miles. if you wanted to head to Muriel. Piute Lk is less as it's only 3.5 miles in. they both have fish. Being "outdoors" people for this trip means nothing unless your'e ok with altitude.

Or Chain lakes out of Quartz mtn trailhead on the West side out of Oakhurst. Altitude is less in this case and i would recommend this one depending on what you really want to see.

Chain lakes is nice and you can have a fire. You cannot have fires at Piute or Muriel as you'd already be above treeline.

There is only a use trail to Muriel but it's pretty obvious. Chain lakes trail is marked.

With fire season approaching faster than expected, they might shut down fires altogether around July 1st.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby Jimr » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:18 am

If you really want a campfire and they are allowed in July, then you may want to look into western approaches. 6 miles or so will keep you below treeline. On the east side, most if not all trail heads are around or above 9000' so it will be difficult to find a legal place for a campfire, but the views get quite grand with less forest and more granite/peaks quickly in view. Finding a lake to camp and fish can be had from either side.

I don't do too many western approaches, but it may be easier to get a walk in permit from the west side than the east on such a busy weekend. Others could chime in on western approach availability. If you plan on an eastern trail head, it would be good to have two alternate plans (3 different trail heads) in case your first has met it's quota by the time you get to the desk. You can also go to recreation.gov and try to secure a permit on-line ahead of time.
What?!
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby thepreciselife » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:22 am

Either side of the Sierra is fine, I am open to all suggestions.
As for the gear, yes I believe I have everything that I would need, minus the pad and sleeping bag, need to go purchase that this week. (only own a 2 person bag)

In regards to the questionnaire;
What level of backpacking experience do you have?
I would say 1.5 (cause 1 is minimal hiking)

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
Class 2 (nothing to extreme)

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography
- Fishing

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
2 nights / 3 days

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
No layovers, somewhere around 6 miles

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?

I would prefer loop or out and back

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?

Not at all just want to soak in the beautiful scenery and catch some fish.

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No

Actually, so far Chain Lakes and Ten Lakes were the top 2 on my list (well, the only 2 on my list haha) but Chain Lakes looks more scenic, and hopefully less crowded.
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:00 am

4th July will likely have pretty thick mosquitoes. Just be prepared. Get heat nets. Also, you may have to rent a bear can - no big deal but be sure it will fit in your pack. If you only have 3 days you do not want to drive nearly all day, so I would stay with the southern Sierra, and forego the fire if needed. How about into Pear Lake from Lodgepole? Mineral King into Franklin Lakes is good if willing to drive a long curvy road and do some elevation gain right off the bat. Probably not too difficult to get permits for this. On the East side- First, Second and Third Lake from Glacier Lodge is another good 3-day trip, although there is a bit of elevation gain, no fires and it can get crowded with the day hikers. Another nice but crowded 3-day hike is Hungry Packer Lake from Sabrina Lake. You would have to take a chance on a walk-in permit on 4th July because I suspect all reserved permits are gone by now. The North Lake to Piute Pass and lakes en route is a very good plan, if you can get permits. If willing do drive all the way to Mammoth Lakes, Duck Lake is a good destination, but there is better camping up at Pika Lake, a bit further. Also cannot beat the Minarets for scenery with fishing, but scoring a permit on 4th July may be impossible. There are always permit cancellations or reserved groups who end up with less people than reserved, so two people have a fair chance at a walk-in permit, but have a Plan B at a lesser used trailhead. You can get your permit at any Inyo FS office (Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth, Lee Vining). Same day walk-in permits are available after 11 AM, I think. You need to call and check on the details. You may not be able to get on the trail 1PM so plan a short first day.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:21 am

Welcome to HST!
Two places that are great for beginners is Little Lakes Valley and 20 Lakes
Basin. Both would be a long drive, but the hike into the wilderness is just a
few miles and extremely easy. Both offer good fishing and beautiful scenery,
but mosquitoes will be bad, and LLV will be very crowded. You will need bear
canister for both of these places. There are numerous TR's here on HST that
you can check out using the search feature.
Here is a recent one to LLV: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... =1&t=11078
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby thepreciselife » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:38 am

Oh man, LLV looks beautiful.

I understand the weekend of the 4th will be very crowded but is it possible that it will be too crowded
to enjoy the quietness and some campsite privacy? From the map on that page it looks like there
are other nearby lakes to hike to like Ruby Lake or Gem Lakes (possible Sat day hikes?)

As for the mosquitoes, we have head nets but I've been told they're mostly out at dusk/dawn?
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:13 pm

Read this for mosquitoes: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7828&hilit=mosquito+avoidance#p56699
Hidden Lakes eastern side offers some solitude, hidden campsites, and beautiful
scenery. Great overlook on the trail going up towards Mono Pass, and several
lakes worth visiting at the southern end of LLV make for some great day hikes.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby rlown » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:19 pm

mosquitoes are out all the time. they prefer shade, but you don't get much of that. wind is what helps, but that's unpredictable.

I'm guessing we're confusing you by now. Once you pick a place, try and get a permit either through recreation.gov or by calling. Then, when you hone in on gear for the area, we can totally help.

BTW, what packs do you have, and how heavy are you planning? If you are buying pads and sleeping gear, that's kind of a red flag. what tent are you carrying?
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:58 pm

If your planning to go out often then never mind, but if this is one time or two time
thing then why not rent (REI) some sleeping bags. If this trip is about seeing whether
backpacking is right for you, then rent, and then buy if you get hooked by the
experienced. Here is a list of stores in CA that rent, call the one closest to you
about sleeping bag and pad rentals: http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html#california
Also have them at: http://www.sportchalet.com/category/ser ... rentals.do
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby thepreciselife » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:23 pm

Yea, I doubt I won't want to do it again because I feel this one trip will be the first stepping
stone for a lot more trips I want to complete. Renting from REI would be convenient, IF the one
closest to me rented sleeping bags but it says they don't on their site. However I do plan on
renting a bear can from there to save me some time the morning of the trip, and possibly
some hiking sticks to relieve some pressure off my legs.

As for gear I have a 55L bag, and my gf will be carrying another smaller backpack.
The tent is (I think) a High Sierra 2 person tent, weighs about 5lbs.... overall
Im guessing i'll be at about 20-25lbs (need to weigh it all in my pack this weekend)

So I can take the trail to LLV then venture off to Hidden Lakes or any of the other areas
around there for a little more solitude?
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.
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Re: 3 day / 2 night Backpacking for beginners.

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:30 pm

So I can take the trail to LLV then venture off to Hidden Lakes or any of the other areas
around there for a little more solitude?


http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/inyo/rec ... 4&actid=51
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