I want to share an interesting information for you

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I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by Celena » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:39 am

A lot of us still have full time jobs. My wife usually has to get leave requests in about 8-10 weeks in advance. Popular trailhead quotas also require early planning. The stuff that is hard to plan on is 6 months in advance is potential snowpack and wildfire smoke. Our last two summer trips were upended by heavy smoke. We went to eastern Nevada to escape the smoke.

This year I am considering planning a couple of shorter trips. One would be earlier to avoid the wildfire smoke. The 2nd would be in September to avoid the crowds. My thought would be it would be less likely to have both trips be washed out do to circumstances beyond our control.

I am curious how other hedge their planning bets when making summer trips plans far in advance. My concern with the early trip is a potential dangerous stream crossing or two. I am hoping that the 2nd week in July would be late enough to cross most water. I am considering a northern Yosemite trip that would involve crossing Return creek.

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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by stevet » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:34 am

My primary hedge is to have 2 or 3 different routes planned out and always start my trips from trailheads where part of the quota is reserved for walkup permits. Relying of walkup permits may seem risky in terms of securing a hike but I've relied on them for 15 years or so and never once was denied one of my route options. And in the case of this year I was easily able to push my hike back a few weeks to avoid snow.

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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by balzaccom » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:47 am

We often have a plan B, C and D...but we hike under different conditions than you do. We're retired, so we tend to focus on departures in the middle of the week. That seems to work fine. There are only two of us, so that makes permits easier, too. And because we are older, we didn't do a single trip that was seven days this year--only 3-5 day trips that would fit within that same window.

If your vacation time is truly precious, and you absolutely have to hike a specific hike, then the only option is reservations in advance...and pray for good weather. But if you can be flexible on date or trailhead, then the world is your oyster. Lots of areas near famous trailheads get a lot less traffic, even avoid quotas, and yet take you to many of wonderful locations.

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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:02 am

Another option is to learn to embrace less than perfect conditions. Weather in the Sierra is seldom so bad that you cannot do a trip but you have to be prepared and learn some skills. The late snow issue can be solved by learning snow travel skills and bring needed gear, such as microspikes. Smoke for me is worse. I would deal with this by planning early season trips before the peak of fire season. September trips usually mean there will be smoke in some Sierra locations.

Since most permits only require you to enter a specific trailhead and usually camp at a certain place the first night, you can always revise your route while you are out. I did this my last trip. My permit was to do a loop from North Lake through Bear Basin, Marie Lakes and then East and West Pinnacle Creeks. The weather was too uncertain for that route, so from Merriam Lake, I returned to French Canyon and went up to the bench to the east (Puppet Lake, etc), then over Puppet Pass to Humphreys Basin, where there are plenty of lakes to visit and fish, and travel is easy enough that bad weather would not put me in danger. Once when behind schedule, I exited a different trailhead rather than loop back to my car and hitched back to my car. I always carry cash so I can pay someone gas money when I hitch.

Another plan is to reserve permits for two entirely different areas. I do not think the agencies have a cross reference that would prevent you from this. Then just before the trip, cancel the one not used (so your permit space is free for first-come people). You can reserve one area in your name, and the other in the name of your spouse. The main thing about this method is to be sure to cancel the permit you do not use.

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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by dave54 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:18 am

Or plan your trips to areas that do not require permits obtained in advance or rigid intineraries and schedules. This gives you flexibilities.
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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by SSSdave » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:01 am

One cannot with certainty make long term backpacking plans months in the future that avoids weather, fires, or personal issues like unexpected health or career problems. At best one does what is possible given available information and then rub a rabbits foot. This last decade, wildflire smoke has had a tremendous impact on Sierra Nevada conditions beyond mid July. Before then conditions are usually not dry enough, however many of our smoke problems are a result of fires at lower California elevations where vegetation is already dry, brown, and crispy by mid May.

Like a miracle not only did this summer of 2019 have very few smoke issues but the jet stream has been further south often pushing fresh clean Pacific air over the range that resulted in the clearest air I've seen in decades. In late August I experienced days of superb dawn and dusk light during my Upper Kern trip that not only showed light was clear over the range but also west over the San Joaquin Valley and east over the Owens Valley into the deserts. Above dawn August 23, 2019 from Moon Lake, Tyndall, Williamson, Trojan, Barnard, Russel, Whitney.
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Re: I want to share an interesting information for you

Post by c9h13no3 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:53 pm

I plan maybe 1 trip per year in advance, and it's usually because I invite friends along. This year, it was taking my non-backpacking brother to Bearpaw Meadow. He and his wife had a cabin, my wife and I had permits. They never opened the camps though, so that trip got canned.

Otherwise I day-hike/no quota/weird route my way around to see what I like.
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