Must Do "A" List

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar
Topix Addict
Posts: 2562
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by SSSdave » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:03 pm

Not to be critical of Maverick's reason to post the thread as it is a worthwhile subject as I won't address his question and rather offer a terse ornery two cents about the attitude I see in many others visiting these places.

The Sierra Nevada is vast. Too much for any one m-f 8-5 working person over an adult lifetime to do more than put a modest dent in though one can visit most of the most popular locations. I won't come close to visiting all the SN locations I would find strongly interesting and worthwhile, but that does not bother me in the least. And I can say that far more greatly also about the whole planet that I've only visited a tinee tiny part of. Even some rich outdoor enthusiast that could spend their whole adult life going any places they desired would barely put a dent in what is out there. Much of the best is not about taking modern transportation to wherever but rather requires putting boots on the ground and hiking to after dealing with considerable logistics.

Consider how even we peon level humans in this era can do so so much more today in this modern era than even the wealthiest royalty could in centuries past. And that a whole lot of people just take such for granted ho hum. In the SN itself many hikers quickly pound through on trails hardly spending time visiting but trail side places as though that is enough haha. Thus think they have experienced what they went through but from my perspective are oh so wrong.

Look at all those JMT/PCT hikers that stop to camp at famous Thousand Island Lake because they read or heard it was one of the most scenic places in the whole range. But on ANY early morning late July when shores are vibrant green, wildflowers are out, and the lake waters are calm reflecting Mt Ritter behind Banner Peak, are any of the backpackers in dozens of groups camping up on the northeast hill along the trail even down at the lake? The same hikers that reached the lake the previous late afternoon while the sun was behind the ridge offering boring back lit views west. No, almost all rose well after sun's orange glow colored the peaks and are eating breakfast, putting their packs together, mostly just interested in getting back on the trail and moving out while vaguely glancing down at the lake.

So no I don't have and have not had for decades any bucket list or a "A list" of places I've been dreaming about. Of course there are fair numbers of those out in the backcountry like members here that don't reflect the picture I've painted and are interested in more than just scratching another place off a bucket list. I would rather in the few remaining years that I'm able to, return to some of those places I've already been to that I greatly love and enjoy base camping at, getting to know and experience deeply. More importantly I've seen a whole lot more during my modest life time than any people ever did in historic times and immensely appreciate and thank God for that.

User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:50 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: South OC, CA

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by oldhikerQ » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:35 pm

As my backpacking days draw to a close, there are still a few more places that I want to visit in the Sierra. In no special order:
Ionian Basin
Eastern Humphries Basin
Twin Island Lakes
Anona, Fern and No Name Lakes
I realize that there is much that I will never see in the Sierra, but the places that I have been privledged to visit have enriched my life immensely.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:17 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by bobby49 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:43 pm

Flamingo wrote:Mount Goddard... after decades of trekking around the Sierra, I still haven't visited Ionion Basin.
Uhh, if you go up the peak, look around for the camera lens cap that I dropped there around 1985.

User avatar
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:54 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by creekfeet » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:34 am

In my head I keep a mental checklist of places I want to visit. However, in the process of visiting these places I usually wind up adding another ten or so places to my checklist. Every time I climb a peak on my list, I wind up adding to my list all the lakes and canyons the peak's views give me access too. Anyhow, right now I really want to explore Kaweah Basin for the first time.

Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1309
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by Cross Country » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:36 pm

I've always made fun of "bucket" lists. New things are often fun to do but not just because they're new.
If I really wanted to do something, I did it, and usually not to far in the future. I've done a lot more than anyone I've known personally. Softball (thousands of games), skiing and surfing (hundreds of times, musician, art teacher. Things that don't really matter here on HST.
Every summer for 25 years I typically went to 2-3 BP places I had been and to 2-3 new places. I liked exploring cross country but I also liked good fishing that I had experienced before. Besides that, some places are so beautiful that I just had to repeat them. I went to several places at least 5 times.
Without excluding too much when I went on a BP trip, vacation or camping trips I usually tried to avoid tourists traps like Mt. Whitney or the French Riviera. By 12 years ago I had done just about everything I had ever wanted to do (not just in BP) and it was REALLY a lot.

My advice to "bucket listers": Try something different that you think you would like and do it so sooner than later. In that way, in the end, your bucket list might be very short.

PS: I never went to State Lakes, Josephine Lake, nor Woodchuck Lake, places I would like to have gone.

User avatar
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1743
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by balzaccom » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:32 pm

The French Riviera is actually very "Nice.". There's a reason so many people go there...

check out our website:" onclick=";return false;

User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 449
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by wildhiker » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:33 am

Gee, that's like asking which ice cream flavor at BR is best! I'd love to hike every single trail and cross-country route in the Sierra, but I know that will never happen.

At this stage, while I'm still able, I'm trying to plan some trips in to remote areas that I haven't visited at all yet - such as the upper Kern watershed, Kaweah Peaks, Monarch Divide, LeConte Canyon, Bear Lakes basin (out of Lake Edison), the Clark Range and some parts of northern Yosemite. I'm saving the short hikes (such as many east side basins) for when I'm really old :-). I also like to revisit favorite spots - like SSSDave, I've been to some favorites 5 times. The best trip is a combination of a favorite and a new area on the same trip!


User avatar
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Posts: 2846
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by giantbrookie » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:16 am

Although I've been hiking the High Sierra for >50 years there remain places I'd like to get to that I haven't yet visited. Years ago, I had a correspondingly longer list of places I wanted to visit for the first time. I still haven't been to Lakes Basin and I'd like to get there. There are several lakes with big goldens I haven't visited that I would like to send casts into. I also haven't gotten around to most of Emigrant Wilderness yet. With a fairly small number of days allotted each summer to the High Sierra in recent years I have devoted most of them to "tried and true" spots where I've caught large fish in the past, while mixing in a few "new" spots. Last year was pretty typical in this regard. If I get away for one exploratory trip (5 day max) it will usually feature a bunch of places I haven't visited. This is unlikely in 2018 owing to a heavy 2018 travel schedule. On the other hand, my daughter has expressed an interest in non-technical peak bagging (she doesn't like class 3, so this will be class 1 and 2), so there may be some trips this summer with a peak bagging component, but these will be to peaks I've done before.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html" onclick=";return false;

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4005
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:10 am

None a "must-do", but a "nice-to-do".

I would love to finish my "14ers", but doubt I will. I have three left. Muir, Russell, unnamed 14er between North Palisade and Sill (not even sure it is still considered a 14er). Not willing to do those solo.

Tehipite Valley and descending the MF Kings from the JMT to Tehiptie

Lots of small nooks and crannies and places I have already been. Too numerous to name.

User avatar
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 10301
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Must Do "A" List

Post by maverick » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:37 am

Muir, Russell, unnamed 14er between North Palisade and Sill (not even sure it is still considered a 14er).
If you are referring to Polemonium Peak, then yes, I believe it just over 14 WD.
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:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests