Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking | High Sierra Topix  

Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

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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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:28 am

Bigcounrty951 wrote "We are starting to realize that, and may be drastically
changing our expected hike dates."
There are several threads that you can read about dealing with skeetrz on this
site.
Some of the prettiest times coincide with skeeter season, and it is definitely
not a reason to cancel or avoid!
The best wild flower times are in July and August, and waterfalls, cascades, and
rivers are at there mightiest in June, and July.
Just be prepared with clothing and chemicals (when needed) and do not let them
mess with your mind, which a lot of folks unfortunately allow them buggers to do.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby bigcountry951 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:08 pm

More excellent advice ya'll! Thanks so much. I will keep the board informed of what happens.
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby SPeacock » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:53 am

There are a couple more books you would want in your library. Both of these cover from basic to very extreme. Skim it all for a good read.

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills Probably the 'go to book' for most techniques and things to consider. Many consider it the 'bible' for backpacking.

The Mountaineering Handbook, Craig Connally ISBN 0-07-143010-5 It is a good companion to Freedom of the Hills. Connally puts forth a good, reasonable approach to getting ready for and doing any kind of hike. You will save more than the price of the book just on gear, clothing and time it takes to get ready for a hike. It is nicely organized so you can just read a chapter at a time in any order.

All of these would be at REI.

If you take back packing trips (and hikes) on the east side, you will be at high altitude quickly...perhaps from the start. Don't let your enthusiasm get away from you. Take if very slowly to start - you have all day and you have your house on your back. You can stay almost anyplace when you have to. Just follow the open fire rules.

By slow, it could be that you will be making head way at just over a 1.5 miles per hour. That will still get you to most first camp spots before evening, even if you don't start until noon. Many more seasoned hikers plan on 10 mile days. Even that at a slow tread is less than 7 hours. Get up early - don't waste sunshine. Practice how to pack, eat, cleanup and be on the trail quickly. Take a leisurely lunch. Snack on hi energy stuff all day long and make an early day of it at camp so you can explore a bit. The plan is to beat any thundershowers in the early afternoon and to get over any passes and exposed parts early.

I leave how far we go up to my wife. Near the end of the planned day, she usually adds an hour or so more because she doesn't want to do the next day's hard part early in the morning, or she wants to make it to a better spot to camp, or she is just putting miles in the bank. Or just because she knows she has more energy than I do left over and wants to rub it in that women are the stronger gender.

Work on the step-breath method. Inhale as the right foot is moved forward, exhale when the left one is moved forward. If you need more air, take smaller steps. Any forward motion is good. This will reduce the number of breaks you take during the day - and speed you along with a lot less wear and tear on your body. But don't forget the breaks. This is supposed to be fun too, ya know?

If you manage your respiration, you manage your heart rate. You want to compromise on a rate that will allow you to continue forward progress but not leave you gasping and your heart trying to strip a gear. You still might not be able to talk a lot on trail, other than to grunt out an UH HUH or UH UH. Monosyllables between pants work too... such as: look, water, food, slower, help, rest, stop, dying.

To reduce the use of the last two, you should plan on being fit. The best conditioning is a mixture of gym work pumping iron (check with a trainer on what to do - you can get gyms for $1 a day and no long term contract if you shop around), and jogging. Sorry, but you just have to get the feet and leg bones and tendons used to being abused. Here is a good plan:

http://exrx.net/Beginning.html

and look at the "jog/walk program" under CARDIO. But first read about reducing injury while jogging. Moderation as in all things is the key.
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby bigcountry951 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:11 am

@ SPeacock....

WOW! Thank you so much, I really enjoyed reading your advice, as I did so many others in this forum.

I will take every word to heart! I think my biggest problem right now (in relation to your advice) is that we havent been hitting the gym yet. My wife and I have a lifetime membership to 24 Hr Fitness, so the option is there...I just need to get over my daily routine and get in there!

Thanks again!
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby SPeacock » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:43 am

Everyday we give an hour or so to those we know to help them; or to our employer when it is needed; or to family members we love. But seldom do we take an hour a day for the most important person you will ever know. Yourself!

Hiking, carrying a too heavy pack, walking up hill all day (that surprises many who get in the Sierra) and trying to enjoy this relatively expensive trip will be made CONSIDERABLY easier if you both plan on an hour day doing strenuous exercises at the gym and taking a walk in the neighborhood at night. Include resistance (weights) and not as much cardio at the gym. You will need to knock off a few pounds too. Quit eating all that junk and sugar.

The more fit you are the better you will enjoy the trip and appreciate what you have gotten yourself into. You will be expending between 400-600 calories an hour for 5-8 hours a day. You should get on a machine at the gym that will show you how many calories you are expending...and see how you feel after an hour of it...and that is not at 10,000', up hill, on rocky trails, with steps made by the trail crews for what seems an eternity, in the sun (don't forget the sunglasses, hat and UV lotion, lip balm) unimpeded by atmosphere.

This is beauty you really have to work for. And it is exhilarating if you are ready for it.

Besides, you know it and every physician you are aware of and ads on TV are telling you that you should be doing it.

Well, only if you want to have a better quality life for longer. You know you are in trouble when you can't fit exercise in because too much is going on.
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:37 am

SPeacock

Well put! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Postby East Side Hiker » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:36 pm

I can remember many times desending into a small valley - lets say a "swale" - and the sound of all the skeeters was deafining... My poor dog had to hide under a sleeping bag. We were miserable... But it is just one of those things you have to deal with. What can you do but use the sprays, the least toxic ones. Thry're all at REI. And you have to get into and out of you tent asap because there will be dozens of them in there in seconds...
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