Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place | High Sierra Topix  

Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

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Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby oldranger » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:14 am

Starting Friday of Memorial Day Weekend I embarked on what turned out to be a 9 night, 10 day trip from Agnew Meadow to Silver Lake. The first 7 nights were spent at my planned destinations. The afternoon of the 8 TH day I arrived at my intended destination but after catching a nice rainbow decided I did not want to spend the night as it was cold, windy, and too desolate for my mood. So I started moving toward my next planned destination. After a little over a mile and dropping 600 feet I encountered a break in the slope and a complex of rises and gullies, and little ponds. It was totally enchanting and since there was a tiny rivulet for water I decided to stop and camp, far from any fish bearing water that I generally seek. Suddenly I reflected on my many travels where I passed up really nice places because they were not where I was "supposed" to be. Not this time! Next day the mood continued. I travelled less than a mile, considered hiking all the way out, but decided I was not ready for civilization nor was I ready to go off exploring as I usually do if not fishing. Here was a flat bench in the middle of a steep slope,a nice burbling creek, a patch of snow to make a slushy, and plenty of trees to sit back against while reading, sipping on the slushy, and munching on goodies. Time well spent or am I just getting old (that is a given but is it a cause?)

But back to the point, do you often pass up really nice places because you are supposed to be someplace else? Or do you interrupt your planned itinerary because you encounter an unexpected great place to be?

Just wondering!

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: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:32 am

I suppose I do pass up nice places allot actually. I think I have stayed a few times at places just because it was so nice but the only one that comes to mind off hand is the time I stayed on Windy Point. I was supposed to be heading to Marion Lake but the views were so incredible and there was a patch of snow for water so I said screw it I'm staying right here!
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby Jimr » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:26 am

Mike, I think it's more a sign of seasoning. I've passed up planned spots and headed on to better pastures, but I've never cut anything short because I ran across a nice place to stay.
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:29 am

Time well spent or am I just getting old (that is a given but is it a cause?)

That's the way I tend to travel in the Sierra. I could say it's because I'm also a geezer, but that's the way I've always done it. I (or we if I'm with my wife) will have a planned itinerary with each night's location planned. Then, once I'm out there, either on the trail or cross-country, for all the intentions there may be to stop at a certain place, I will either come across a sublime place short of my intended destination and camp there or get to the intended destination, not particularly like it, look at the map for what's up ahead, and, if there's still lots of daylight, continue on, usually finding a better place.

When I'm solo, this sometimes drives my wife crazy, since I leave her with a map with the route and planned night's destination marked. Then she'll get the SPOT and wonder where the hell am I. When I return, I either have to remind her of the number of times we've camped somewhere besides where we intended or she says "so [location] must have been pretty.."

The one thing I always stick to is the entry and exit date and location, though there have been instances where my whimsy led to a rather long hike on the last day so I don't get to my car until it's nearly dark and don't get home until midnight or later.
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby sparky » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:08 am

I never stick to my planned itenerary. I just float on the breeze.....I honestly cant think of one trip i have done where I have made all my intended stops. Outside the sierra in small wilderness zones I do...just because there isnt really any worthwhile alternatives.

Also, while i do prefer a nice campsite, it isnt a high priority, i usually just stop when im tired
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:38 am

oldranger wrote:
Time well spent or am I just getting old (that is a given but is it a cause?)


No, I believe your allowing yourself to commune with nature on a higher or simpler
level. Not allowing schedules, deadlines, stress or other job, family or self induced
limitations to cloud your enjoyment of the purity, and freedom that come with this
experience which is basically the essence of the nature Mike.
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: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby longri » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:43 pm

oldranger wrote:Time well spent or am I just getting old (that is a given but is it a cause?)

Why couldn't it be both?
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:48 am

Because I solo I generally stick to my route, but do not necessarily stick to planned campsites. My only criteria is to be back to my car before my food runs out. Must admit that I get permits and tell family that I will be out one day later than I really plan, so that if I have extra food I can stay another day without everyone going into a panic. If I run into a more spectacular campsite than I had planned and if it is within a few hours of my planned destination, I will stop and camp. Or if my planned destination is less than I had hoped for, I often go on for an hour or two and find a better spot. I also hate getting wet. I never slog on in a rain storm just to get to my planned campsite.

That said, I plan my trips with careful review of the most scenic campsites. I do most of my photography while camped, and consider the lighting with respect to what I want to photograph. I also am very careful to choose campsites that get early morning sunshine because my hiking style is get going at the crack of dawn. I am a destination-to-destination hiker. Never have done the set mileage or hours per day like the PCT hikers do. I may do 12 miles one day, and 4 miles the next. Honestly, there are so many wonderful places to camp in the Sierra along any route, that if I were to stop at every great spot I ran across I would only get a few miles every day!

When I backpack in the Wind Rivers, I have to be more flexibile due to about a 60% chance of severe afternoon storms that can start as early as noon, and two to three 1-hour storms can roll in during one afternoon. In this case, it is hike when you can; hunker down when you have to. Make hay when the sun shines!
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:22 pm

Not in the way of your experience. But then we don't choose our campsites like the vast majority of groups and to that end our process is not too unlike yours.

The vast majority of non-thru hiking backpackers and groups have lake destinations. Their trip itineraries read like a lake to lake fest. That is why almost all the recreation.gov drop down choices for camp spots are lakes. When they arrive at their destination lake, they either camp at the first available campspot meeting basic needs regardless of whether other groups are nearby or go around a lake some to where they are more secluded. Regardless, they almost always are withn 200 feet of the water. Scenery is not much an factor because when a person has just hiked several hours carrying a heavy pack, they usually are seeking shade and comfort.

With fishermen it is also all about lakes. They may in fact always move to camp at the part of a lake they think has the better fishing. For instance with larger lakes, away from where a trail is near a lake where groups of course camp at because those shores are "fished out" or fish are spooking thereabouts. Or where steep slopes are beside a lake indicating likely better depth. Or they may circle a lake till the water looks like fish ought to be there. For them that is great scenery. Heck some of them, the first minute they reach a lake are not going for their water bottle but rather their rod. Then without bothering to take off the pack (takes time and then has to be lifted back up) they stumble around the lake edge casting out hardware till they start catching fish. And that is where they camp. So with most fishermen scenery is down the list.

Most thru-hikers are different. They may look at the topo as the day begins and see several potential campspots miles away that may fit their mileage quota. Many just keep hiking until their tired and one of those campspots appeals to them that may have to do with scenery or may be about comfort. So reaching one they assess how much they feel like stopping and if the appeal is low enough and they still have enough energy are likely to keep moving. Or if they are the more social sort, campspots must be near the rest of their tribe. So where they see 3 or 4 groups camped every 200 feet along the trail, well must be OUR spot. Eventually in any case if nothing is that appealing they will stop any place that has a water source. In that sense they are not so tied to the lake to lake mentality because once they get to a campspot are the least likely to hike any further than the near lake edge or that clump of trees to take care of business. For many of them a stream by a trail works just like a lake.

With serious photographers they may practice some of the above during their early years backpacking, but eventually will start to notice how valuable it is to camp near where they need to either capture late or early light. They may in the past have camped with everyone else at Pine Lake, and then hiked in the dark with flashlight for 2 miles after getting a dusk shot at Sunset Lake. And then likewise at dimmest dawn in chilly air hiked to Sunrise Lake. However eventually on a trip they actually camp at Dusk Lake even though it is a place other groups rarely do and notice how superior the whole process works.

Now this person is a base camping photographer though base camping to this person is not the same as horse camp base camping where the campspot remains the same for a days. My base camping is more likely to move about the destination zone a bit. Thus may reach a destination basin with several lakes. Before a trip, I will have done considerable work sizing up where the best place to camp may be. Much has to do with scenery and access to places I will be day hiking to. Of course once reaching a destination basin I'm like one of those big black ants that must crawl over every square inch in their domain. As a group, we spend an average of maybe 15 minutes after reaching camping zones hunting for the best place to camp. Sometimes spend an hour doing so and it almost always pays off. If at a lake we tend to camp well away from shores or trails. Don't mind the fill up all containers water chores. So the first day will be looking for a beautiful intimate landscape that works as a camp. Often those places have never been used and after we leave will go back to looking the same. Don't need a firepit or smooth flat tent spot. Lots of my spots are rather rough and small bumps are not an issue as am not going to be laying flat on my back most of a night anyway.
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Re: Do you ever stop and make camp just because you like a place

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:24 pm

I have had a habit of drastically altering large trip plans mid trip, and I can think of one time when this was dictated by a desire to camp where not in the game plan. I tend to have an itinerary that has certain key places I'd like to go to--I have a preferred route and schedule going in, but this has been subject to modification due to factors including: (1) it's a nice place and I'd rather stop here than where I've planned or (2) the group is either slower or faster than planned so the planned camping spot changes or (3) certain factors cause me to do a very different route than originally planned. An example of (1) came on a trip somewhere in Goddard Country on an all off trail day (most the 7 days were in fact off trail). Judy and I were about half way through (in distance) with our planned campsite shift that day. We passed this large lake that we didn't know much about (and it hadn't factored into our plans going into the trip). Some huge trout rocketed out of the water and came down with these monster splashes. That abruptly changed the camp spot for that evening. We didn't catch any of those golden finned boulders, but we spent an entire afternoon and evening trying (our collective total ended up being a single 8-inch golden by Judy). Later we found that the lake we spontaneously stopped at was one of the most legendary lunker lakes in the High Sierra. This little change in our trip came after we had already made a bigger mid-trip change in our plan (made on day 3), which was to turn a route that was mainly in and out by the same way into a loop.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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