the 2018 backpacking season

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markskor
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by markskor » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:50 pm

Hobbes wrote:... @ TM. It was bad enough when they didn't open the store, but the deal killer was lack of potable water and sewage disposal.
Usually I'd admit everything is my fault, but in this case, blame it on park services...and of course, Mother Nature.

A little history... In normal (regular) snow years, as soon as the road/pass opens up, two groups of "set-up" crews are sent up to the Meadows early, ~25 to a crew, and are put to work setting up the tent cabins, the store, the Lodge, and Visitors center. There is also another crew, a small water crew, sent up at the same time, just to deal with water and sewage issues. As to potable water - pipes first are sanitized/pressurized/analyzed/ certified - all before turning on the area's potable waterworks. That part is relatively easy.
Sewage is another matter as TM utilizes large, evaporation, sewage "ponds", located ~1/4 mile north/below/downhill of the Visitor Center. Well, as no toilets can operate until water lines are certified, and these employee crews still have to go, someone in charge (they? Aramark? Yos?) mistakenly put 5 port-o-lets in front of the TM store parking lot - supposedly only to be used by these employees. Turns out tourists also used them too - they overflowed - a real fecal disaster.

So, this last season (the high snow year), after the previous year's parking lot crapola, "they" mandated no large work crews were allowed up in the Meadows until after the water and toilets were already turned on. Only the small crew of three was sent up just for this purpose. Unfortunately, the snow remaining on the ground was still above the sides of the sewage ponds - thus no flushing until this melted down - thus no large work crews were allowed up until this melted off, and this didn't happen until 3 - 4 long weeks after 120 was opened. Even though Tioga Pass opened late June, and the Meadows were dry enough the early part of July, the store was not opened until the 27th.
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by jeremiahkim » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:57 pm

Dave_Ayers wrote:I have a different approach. I usually take one of my trips to the Sierra the 1st week of August every year regardless of conditions, not often revisiting an area. Then I experience whatever conditions there are and get to adapt and enjoy them. Over the years I accumulate a wider range of experiences/memories/photos/stories that way.
Sounds like a really novel approach and I very much appreciate the spirit of this.

Personally, half the fun for me is in the planning, especially with a normal M-F as it gives me something to think about during the year. I am like the idea of adapting to conditions although I will have to level up my general navigation skills a bit before I feel comfortable with trying this out.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Hobbes » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:15 pm

markskor wrote:TM utilizes large, evaporation, sewage "ponds", located ~1/4 mile north/below/downhill of the Visitor Center.
Thanx for the back story. We knew the road/campground was open by the end of July, and had no problem with making a last minute decision to go. However, the whole business with everything being closed - the HSC, store, etc - sort of dampened our enthusiasm. Then, Southwest was blowing out some super cheap fares to Albuquerque, so we flew there, rented a car, and drove up to Santa Fe for a long weekend.

Our usual Sierra routine is to spend the previous night @ June lake (a 6 hr drive from OC), then drive up to TM in the morning - with completely empty tanks. We then head to the TM campground ranger's booth, where I drop off my wife to let her check/decide on which sites are available. In the meantime, I head off to the potable water spigot/sewage waste depot, where I fill up our 50 gallon tank. This can take over 5+ minutes, so I have plenty of time to 'observe' the surroundings. The park does a great job with the facilities, so even 20 yards away there doesn't seem to be any obvious stink.

All loaded up, I lumber back to find out the site she's picked, and we're good to go. Been doing this routine for years.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:09 pm

Tuolumne Meadows has a totally different atmosphere if you go up there around the third week of March. For the last time that I was there in March, the total population was about 20 skiers.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Cross Country » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:31 pm

Hobbs wrote
To this mix, we can add a third, highly subjective component, which is "beauty". For me personally, since I hate trees, it's any place under 10-11k.
Really? You hate trees?
This struck as so strange that I thought it was funny. I'm still smiling.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Cross Country » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:39 pm

Reading so much about permits reminds me that I had a friend who almost never got a permit. He took almost half as many trips as I did (which is a lot) and he said that he never had a problem. When a ranger wrote him up he gave a fake name and left shortly thereafter. But this was back in the day before rangers might shoot you (haha - they do carry guns).

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Tom_H » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:44 pm

Cross Country wrote:Really? You hate trees?
This struck as so strange that I thought it was funny. I'm still smiling.
One of my previous instructor partners felt the same way. He lives in the east, but refuses to hike in the Appalachians due to the "trees." He loves alpine (above the treeline) hiking so much that hiking in a forest is disappointing. I've always enjoyed the variety of both. Ironically, he and I used to canoe together through southern costal plain river swamps that are virtually junglelike in nature and he loved that.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by bobby49 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:07 pm

Cross Country wrote:Reading so much about permits reminds me that I had a friend who almost never got a permit. He took almost half as many trips as I did (which is a lot) and he said that he never had a problem. When a ranger wrote him up he gave a fake name and left shortly thereafter. But this was back in the day before rangers might shoot you (haha - they do carry guns).
I watched an incident unfold back in the 1985 time frame at Young Lakes (Yosemite). I was about 75 yards away. One backpacker had shown up without the benefit of a permit. He pitched his tent right on the grass meadow next to the middle lake and proceeded to build a small wood campfire, so he was wrong in several respects. Mister Ranger walked up behind him and asked to see his wilderness permit. When the guy said that he didn't need one, the ranger went on with questions. The ranger advised him that there was no camping allowed on grass like that. There was no campfire allowed here, and there could be no tent that close to the water. The guy started to tell the ranger to leave (which is never a good idea) and then asked the ranger what he intended to do about it. The ranger unholstered his sidearm, and that almost ended the discussion. The ranger did not want to have to escort this guy out. Instead, the ranger radioed a description of the guy back to Tuolumne Meadows. When the guy came walking out a couple of days later, the rangers nabbed him there.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by balance » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:26 am

I used to plan my trips with consideration for weather, mosquitoes, snow, etc. Unfortunately, for several years, my number one concern has been smoke. I can deal with everything else with the right equipment and preparation. But there's just no way to "work around" or "deal with" smoke.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Cross Country » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:11 pm

I usually have a utilitarian point of view. I always wondered if I never had a permit and paid fines for the few times a ranger asked me for my permit how much per hour (waiting for a permit) it would have cost me.
One time I did pay a fine (I had a permit out of roads end) because a ranger lied through her teeth and wrote me up for something that was not illegal. I would imagine that before she submited the infraction she found out it wasn't illigal and changed the infraction. What I was charged with WAS NOT what she wrote on my paperwork. The pathetic thing is that apparently her boss went along with her falsified report. I wasn't going to drive all the way to Fresno from LA to fight it.

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