Cancelled backpacking trips due to fires - Alternatives?

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.
Post Reply
User avatar
MMI
Topix Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:49 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Cancelled backpacking trips due to fires - Alternatives?

Post by MMI » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:47 pm

Hi HST Community -
Our family had plans to backpack from Agnew Meadows to Tuolumne this upcoming week. However, with the fires and bad air quality (especially with our 3 children in tow), we needed to cancel our trip. We had a Plan B to backpack in the Emigrant Wilderness, starting from Kennedy Meadows and making the loop down towards Emigrant Lake, Huckleberry, Deer, back up to Upper Relief. However, with the new fire near Kennedy Meadows and the closure of Hwy 108, that plan is now not a possibility. :( We're looking for a Plan C... Somewhere far enough north or south away from the fires (Ferguson, Lions, Donnell) and doesn't require a reservation (hard to come by this last minute). Thank you and appreciate any input! (We're in Mammoth Lakes right now trying figure out other alternatives.)
- Mia

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Regular
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Cancelled backpacking trips due to fires - Alternatives?

Post by wildhiker » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:51 pm

The problem is that nearly the entire Sierra seems to be affected by periodic dense smoke, not just from the Ferguson, Lions, and Donnell fires in the central Sierra, but from the much larger fires to the west in the Coast Ranges - Mendocino complex by Clear Lake and Carr Fire by Redding. Generally westerly winds push their smoke into the central valley where it pools up in the night and then gets carried up all the Sierra canyons by afternoon up-canyon winds. The Forest Service smoke forecasting computer models suggest that the southern Sierra, particularly on the east side, will have less smoke in the coming week (see https://haze.airfire.org/websky/v1/#status). Have you checked the possibility of the Bishop Creek drainage or Cottonwood Lakes on the east side?
-Phil

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10131
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Cancelled backpacking trips due to fires - Alternatives?

Post by maverick » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:49 am

Possibly a trip to Miter Basin out of Horseshoe Meadow or a Mineral King Loop.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

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, an HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
MMI
Topix Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:49 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: Cancelled backpacking trips due to fires - Alternatives?

Post by MMI » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:42 pm

To Phil and Maverick - thanks so much for the input. We initially tried Cottonwood Lakes, but were behind a Boy Scouts group with 14 kids(!) who canceled their Agnew Meadows start as well due to bad air quality. We ended up getting a walk-up permit for Big Pine Creek North Fork which we're stoked about; Our kids are excited to check out the glacier up there before it all melts away due to global warming ;). Sounds like the smoke starts to clear past VVR. We'll see and can report back some first-hand accounts of the smoke conditions down there.
To give back to the HST community which we're always thankful for:
Found this haze modeler which forecasts where smoke may be over the next few days. Helped us somewhat to gauge the severity of smoke conditions.
https://haze.airfire.org/websky/v1/run/ ... nt/#viewer

Here in Mammoth it's been hazy the whole time with a constant smell of smoke. However, it's been much better than when we first arrived on Saturday night where visibility we estimate was down to about 1-2 miles. We could barely see the mountains when we arrived here. Since we've been here, the mornings have been generally clear with the afternoons and evenings becoming noticeably more hazy (very much in line with what you mentioned Phil). Furthermore, alternatives going north became really not an option for us - even Tahoe was reporting bad air quality and haziness.
Thanks again and to all - stay safe out there. =)
- Mia

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest