When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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quentinc
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by quentinc » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:48 pm

I know we have this other thread going about how absurd it would be to pick the Ionian Basin for your first x-country experience, but because of my obsession with Greek mythology, that is just what I did.

It would have been sometime in my early 30's, but I didn't start backpacking until I was almost 30. It was a day's detour from a North Lake to South Lake trip (going in through Humphrey's Basin -- now I always go over Lamarck Col to reach the Evolution area). I remember trying to get to the top of the little peak just to the west of Wanda Pass and having to turn back. But I got in and out of the Basin just fine.








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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by LMBSGV » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:52 pm

My cross country travel in the Sierra began on day hikes on trips with my wife. The first was in 1979 when on a return trip to Fletcher Lake we got there in the early afternoon. Looking at the map we saw Townsley Lake and decided to see what it was like. The hike up there was simple and easy. The lake was gorgeous. We spent the rest of the afternoon, seeing no one else, then walked back down to Fletcher where the hordes had assembled at several campsites. We thought about taking down the tent and heading up to Townsley, but decided not to. But that put the idea in our heads that camping a little ways away from the designated routes might be a great idea.

On subsequent trips, at certain places we ventured a quarter mile or so off the trail for campsites when it seemed like a good idea. We also dayhiked a lot off trail. After our son was born, we continued doing this. In 1991, we went to Humphrey’s Basin. The weather was horrible - it was one of those a typhoon off Baja rain patterns. We ended up at Lower Desolation Lake when racing to beat the lightning and first cloudburst. A couple of days later, taking advantage of a break in the weather, we went to Mesa Lake. We were now hooked on finding easy off trail routes. We went to Pioneer Basin, North Fork of the San Joaquin, the off-trail lakes in Dusy Basin.

My first solo trip was in June 1997 when I went to Davis Lake. I say cross country because there was scattered snow above Waugh Lake and deep snow by the JMT junction. I looked for the Davis Lake trail but it was buried under at least a foot of snow. New snow was falling so visibility beyond a couple of hundred yard was non-existent. I got out my compass to reassure myself that was the right way and then headed through the snow and trees to what I figured was Davis Lake. I arrived at the outlet creek of the lake. The snow continued until about 3:00 a.m., then the next day was back to typical clear June weather I saw no one for two days except a lot of wildlife emerging as the ice and snow melted while spring passed into summer. Beginning the next year, I’ve done solo trips with cross-country sections every year. My wife doesn’t like class 2, especially talus. Many of the places I want(ed) to go involve class 2 sections. So I take one trip a year solo to discover the wonders of off-trail travel in the Sierra.

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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by dave54 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:24 pm

I honestly do not remember.

As a child I remember hiking solo off trail in southern Cal. Wandering for hours through the brush and scrambling over rocks just to see what is over the hill. My parents worried, of course, and called the sheriff at least twice.

When I first moved to the real mountains I just continued the same. I never felt constrained by trails. After a while I realized I felt more comfortable solo off trail than I did, say, walking through a large city after dark. I felt like I was in my element. Sleeping alone miles from any trail or camp, with my wife not really knowing where I am, never bothered me (or her. After a few years of marriage she just accepted my absences, although I still do not know if it was resignation or confidence).

Although my long multi-day treks are largely over (knees), I continue long solo trips on my mountain bike. I start out in the early morning without a plan or itinerary, and go where my front wheel takes me, returning to home at dusk.
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by Herm » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:25 am

Although not lengthy, it was my first real travel offtrail - the year was 2007, in the basin above Sabrina Lake -it was after hiking in to Blue Lake, then further on trail to Midnight Lake. The next day, we climbed the ridge between Midnight Lake and the basin holding Hungry Packer Lake. After spending a night at Midnight Lake, we hiked down along the shores of Topsy Turvy Lake, then up past Pee Wee Lake, and then through a narrow gap and then down a gully to the Emerald Lakes, where we joined the trail down to Blue Lake. The offtrail travel was easy, but it seemed so untouched, and raw, and - you know what I am talking about.

My first solo backpacking trip I completed last summer; some here have viewed and read my post on this forum. It was such a good time, but could have been so much better without the smoke from Kings Canyon fires. Such a good time, I look forward to an extended variation of it this year.

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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by rlown » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:24 pm

guess i'd like a definition on "off-trail". I think every fisherman or hunter just points somewhere and then goes. They find it, nice, as do I. They don't and maybe get's fogged in, they bivouac. In the sierra, I've been cross country since i started in ~'78.

For me, I don't like solo.. I don't mind others that do. I did kinda do an off-trail/solo on Thanksgiving in '82 up on Carson pass towards Round top. Found two people who didn't know where they were, and needed to be guided out the next day to their car. Nice game of cards, some blackberry brandy, and then got them back to their car.

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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by BrianF » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:36 pm

My first cross-country was my first trip to the sierra, about 15 yrs old (42 yrs ago!) from LeConte canyon to Ladder lake. I don't remember for sure my first solo in the sierra, I know I was still a teenager, I think it was a trip to the minarets - Lake Ediza and 1000 Island.
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by giantbrookie » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:05 pm

My first cross country dayhike in the Sierra was probably whatever peak in Yosemite my dad led us up sometime around 1966 or so. My first cross country backpack was probably 1972 to Bright Dot Lake with my dad on a trip that we climbed Morrison and Baldwin and collected lots of nice calcite. I have done very little solo hiking and zero solo backpack trips in the Sierra or California; I did several solo dayhikes of the up and back from home variety and the solo dayhike from a basecamp during a longer backpack. I took several solo backpacking trips while working in Montana in the summer of 1980 (Bitterroot Wilderness) and these are the only solo backpacking trips I've ever done. I guess I've always liked backpacking with people, so the only solo backpacking trips I did were by necessity because I was basically on a work assignment working alone out of a cabin far from town and didn't have anyone I was hanging out with. The oddball thing is that for many years I enjoyed the few times I would do solo hikes (usually a peak bag) as a part of a backpack trip with others. I also really enjoy those little solo dayhikes I have been doing for the past several years.
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by Cross Country » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:32 pm

My first cross country trip was with Lee Starke up Copper Creek to Grouse, over Goat Crest, down to Kid Lakes, over to Glacier, then out. At that point of time in my life it was my greatest adventure. I kept trying to read the topo and relate it to Lee. He got to chuckle and laugh a lot on this trip.

My first solo trip was 2 years earlier. I hiked up the river from Forks of the Kern. I kept trying to read the topo with almost no success. I didn't see anyone for the first 2 days.

Here is Lee at out campsite at Grouse (or Kid) and me on Goat Crest over looking Kid Lakes.
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by oldranger » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:08 pm

Tom
With the snow it is hard to believe that horses have gone over this pass. As did my wife and I on our 3rd backpacking date before we were married. Oh my gosh that will be 30 years ago this summer!

Mike
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Re: When and where was your first Sierra cross country and solo

Post by jimqpublic » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:23 pm

Can't remember first cross country. My parents didn't want me going on solo trips as a minor, so the day after I graduated from high school in 1983 I set out on a two week, 1000 mile solo bicycle tour. A few days after returning from that I went on my first solo backpack trip, which was also mostly cross country. This was over the July 4 weekend.

I went from South Lake, over Bishop Pass, then kept high along the backside of the Palisades until I reached South Fork Pass. Down the Middle Palisade Glacier to Glacier Lodge, and back up into the Big Pine Lakes Basin for a final night. I think I took a total of 5 days. Between Bishop Lake and Glacier Lodge I didn't see a single person. Between Bishop Pass and the foot of Middle Palisade Glacier I didn't set foot on anything other than snow or rock (including walking across a lake).
Jim

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