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Help a rookie plan a backpacking trip

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:59 pm
by hikerblogger
I've got all the gear I need, now I need somewhere to take it.

I've done a few overnighters around the Bay Area and now it's time to start reserving vacation time w/the employer. I'm thinking of doing a couple 5-day trips to the Sierra during the summer.

I'd sorta like to avoid the crowds/bears at Yosemite.

I'm 44, married, in pretty good shape. Not interested in major scrambling or climbing... just good hikes with good scenery.

All suggestions welcome; and if you're already planning a trip and wouldn't mind having a bearded, slow-walking white guy from Peoria in your camp, let me know.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:50 am
by wingding
A couple of years ago we did a 6-day loop in Northern Yosemite (away from the crowds). I'd recommend it and it could easily be done in 5-days. We went from Twin Lakes near Bridgeport to Peeler Lake the first day, then on day two we went from Peeler Lake to Benson Lake with it's beautiful beach, day three we had a short day and only went as far as Smedberg Lake, Day four brought us into Matterhorn Canyon with the great view of the Sawtooth Range from our campsite, Day five we hiked out through Slide Canyon and over Mule Pass to Crown Lake. On day six we hiked out. If I did it again, I'd probably opt to camp in Slide Canyon over Crown Lake because Slide Canyon is very beautiful. Crown Lake was my least favorite campsite on the trip.


Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:07 am
by Hikin Mike
Although I haven't done the hike wingding suggested, I have been to some of those locations and I can tell you they are a must-see!

Barney/Peeler Lake
Sawtooth Range
Crown Lake

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:23 am
by hikerblogger
That looks like a great trip... thanks for the suggestion.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:43 am
by markskor
If going to Smedberg, Do not forget the fishing pole - world class right after the snow melts!
Benson is great, especially in the early season. It is a giant lake, and there are River Otters there, but the shoreline- away from the beach - is steep and a real bear to get down to.
As I understand it, there are other ways besides the trail up to Barney, to get to Peeler. This stretch of trail - Twin Lakes to Barney - is probably the worst design of any Sierra trail I have been on - somebody should be shot! It doubles back - through a marsh - goes out a 1/2 mile - comes back again back through the same marsh, and picks up only 30 feet elev.
BTW, while you are up there, above Peeler, don't forget to bag Matterhorn Peak - (by the famous sand hill route) - the views are killer.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:15 pm
by BSquared
Do you have copies of "Sierra North" and "Sierra South?" Those were virtually my Bibles when I lived in California and could do casual Sierra trips. ... s&v=glance They've got trips of all lengths, from virtually all the major trailheads.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:50 pm
by wingding
BSquared - I agree those are great books - full of wonderful trip ideas.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:40 pm
by hikerduane
From what I have seen so far, you can't go wrong. Ansel Adams and the John Muir Wildernesses are great. Pick out a spot and go for it. If you are like me, you can spend months pouring over maps. Beyond the Sierra, consider the Trinity Alps or Marble Mt. Wilderness, although they would be better before it gets too hot. You still have a little time left, I'm 53 now.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:49 pm
by JM21760
Do be prepared for the Ursine visitors that will most likely make an appearance. And, you might watch the weather forecast. I'm just speaking for some very early pack trips I was on. Teenage "Let's go now!" and then 3 days of rain. (Man, if only I was 30 years younger.) But, I digress.

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:34 am
by copeg
As hikerduane said, you really can't go wrong. Starting from just about any trailhead will lead you to places you can spend months exploring. I'll throw out a few suggestions:
1) Never done this in its entirety, but you start at Crescent Meadow in Sequoia, to Bearpaw meadow, over Kaweah Gap, up to Little Five Lakes, Black Rock Pass, and back to Bearpaw.
2) This trip may be too long for 5 days, but the Evolution Loop is amazing. South Lake to North lake. Takes you through Dusy Basin, Leconte Canyon, Evolution Basin, Evolution Canyon, Humphries Basin.
3) The Rae Lakes loop - but if your looking to get away from people, I wouldn't strongly recommend this one (you could visit Rae Lakes from the east over Kearsarge Pass which is another great trip).
4) Agnew Meadow, along the PCT to 1000 island lake, then follow the JMT to Garnet lake, side trip to Ediza, than back down the Shadow lake trail to Agnew Meadow.