Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

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gorgbroza
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Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by gorgbroza » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:43 pm

We're a group of two dads and three kids (ages 9-12). The kids have a few backpacking trips under their belts, all at low elevation. The boys (9) have completed several day hikes in the 7000-8000' range. My daughter (12) has day hiked Cloud's Rest, Gaylor Lakes, etc., and did well at those elevations.

Our permit is for two nights, August 1-2, starting at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead. The plan was to arrive the day prior and utilize the TM backpackers campground. From there we'd follow the JMT NB, camp around Cathedral Lakes the first night, Sunrise Lakes the second night, and exit at the Sunrise Lakes TH. Nice short trip, with the priority on ensuring the kids have a good time, so the dads can drag them out further next year.

I'm concerned about the smoke from the Ferguson Fire. I understand there are many variables which make it difficult to predict the air quality out near Tenaya/TM, so if not much has changed by the weekend, I may want to cancel and head elsewhere. (Or am I overreacting?)

Any recommendations for an easy 2-3 night trip, where a permit for five 1st week of August may still be possible? I'd love to be near mountains. Driving distance (from near SF Bay Area) is not a concern.

Thanks!








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rightstar76
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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by rightstar76 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:35 am

Don't cancel your permit! You were lucky to get it. You won't know until the day before how the smoke is going to be. It could work out fine and you'll have a great time. However, as a backup, you might consider reserving a permit in Desolation Wilderness:

Gilmore (Zone 29 - Glen Alpine Trailhead and camp at Gilmore Lake - dayhike to Mt Tallac on your second day)
Velma Lakes (Zones 16 & 17 - Bayview Trailhead to the designated Velma lake(s) on your permit)

Don't use Mt Tallac or Eagle Falls trailheads as they are much steeper. Go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldorado ... ev7_019062 and read the Desolation Recreation Opportunity Guide under Desolation Topics.'

Hope the smoke clears in time for your Yosemite trip! :)

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by mrphil » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:28 am

That's a tough call. As Rightstar says, that's a good permit to hang on to, until proven that it's just not going to work out for sure. In order to keep your options open, hold on to it, don't cancel, just let it expire because it hasn't been picked up by 10am on your trip date. If someone else wants it then, it'll be theirs automatically. Be aware that if the smoke is bad in general, it'll always be harder on kids and the elderly. The Ferguson Fire is raging directly west of Yosemite. It won't be out, or even controlled, for some time to come. Certainly not by next week. The smoke is immediately moving east through most of the park, but also spreading to the NE and SE, and is being held low by a high pressure system that's creating an inversion layer. Even air quality in the Tahoe basin is being affected, but I do agree that Desolation would still potentially be a good alternative to consider.

This link has some telling pics posted by Paddy of the area from last week:
https://www.yosemite.ca.us/forum/viewto ... f=7&t=4333

For real-time images, keep track of the air quality by using the Yosemite webcams, including TM and the area you'll be hiking in: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmu ... ebcams.htm

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:59 am

Every day that area has looked smoky at least some of the day including today's image per link below. Look for yourself. Use day tool to change to earlier days. Also all areas east and northeast have been getting smoke at times including Tahoe. See the Conditions smoke thread for better info and advice.

https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/?p ... 9878926007

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:09 am

Welcome to HST!

Here are today's views in the Valley. Do you really want to go to the top of CR to see this and inhale all that? With that said, check this following link for smoke activity, just makes sure you update the dates at the top, this one is for 7/24 only, and check the Yosemite webcams, link provided, close to your trip. Also, check our fire update section for current statuses of the fires.
https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v1/run ... 00/#viewer
https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmu ... ebcams.htm
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by rightstar76 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:30 am

Gorgbroza, I think I was a little too optimistic. I would get a Desolation Wilderness permit online asap. Also, I would follow Mrphil's advice and keep your TM permit until it expires just in case things improve. As far as smoke getting to Tahoe, if it does happen, most of it will be in the Tahoe Basin. Since you'll be hiking in the mountains above, there's less chance you'll be breathing it. Also, if the fire is partially contained by next week and weather conditions improve, you might not get any smoke at all.
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by mrphil » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:39 am

They're going to close the valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, south entrance, and some services beginning tomorrow and running through the 29th for fire operations. Air quality advisories throughout the park.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/SouthernSierra

Definitely time to pull the plug and go to Plan B. No sense in even hoping for next week at this point.

Second webcam image of Maverick's post, up past Half Dome (the 18 miles of trail part you can't see through the smoke) is where you would be. I can't imagine you guys wanting to do that to yourselves. The kids would decidedly never want to go out again before they even got to Upper Cathedral.

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:40 am

They're going to close the valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, south entrance, and some services beginning tomorrow and running through the 29th for fire operations. Air quality advisories throughout the park.
Already posted here: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... 34&t=18651
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by rightstar76 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:54 am

But don't cancel your TM permit yet! Things could still turn around. If it doesn't, just let it cancel on its own. Also, if you haven't done it already, definitely reserve that Desolation Wilderness permit.
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

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Re: Tuolumne Meadows smoke concerns? Alternate trip advice?

Post by balzaccom » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:54 am

I am going to disagree with that last advice. If you know you are not going to use your permit, please cancel it so that the rangers can put it into play immediately, rather than waiting for you to show up, and then offering it to someone much later in the day when you fail to appear...
Balzaccom

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