Planning trip - suggestions

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amigo
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by amigo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:43 pm

Wow, what an extensive brew pub report. Thanks very much. This is really good to file away until I head to CA. Now I'm really thirsty! Hmm, maybe I should do a brew pub hopping (pun intended) trip instead ;)








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TehipiteTom
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by TehipiteTom » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:35 pm

amigo wrote:San Fran -> Yosemite -> drive down the 395 ->
Only Southern Californians use the definite article in front of highway numbers. Civilized humans do not.
;)

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oldranger
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by oldranger » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:17 pm

Good catch Tom.

And while logic tells me that GB is correct that unopened beer containers left in the car should not be detected by a bear. The same should have been true for the beer that I once left under a rock in a creek while I went off on patrol but returned to find the same can, empty, with tooth marks in it beside the creek. On the other hand just this past Memorial Day after conscientiously placing all carcamping food (including beer) and cooking stuff in the yosemite creek bearboxes (with great trepidation as the NPS requires that the boxes be unlocked) I parked the trusty 4 Runner near the White Wolf intersection and took off for 9 nights in the Northern Yosemite backcountry. When I returned the odor in the car brought my attention to the fact that overwhelmed with a case of old age onset attention deficit disorder that I had left a banana on the dashboard of said vehicle, in plain site of marauding bears and not so eagle eyed rangers. The banana, considerably ripened and odiferous, remained untouched and the window unticketed. This clearly proves it is better to be lucky than good! (It also helps if you park in a location not frequented by marauding bears and maybe the ranger decided that the senior access pass was proof of mental incapacity and therefore I was incapable of criminal intent :D .)

Mike
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AlmostThere
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:47 am

My .02 cents worth.

I routinely organize trips for a hiking group. Half Dome will never be on my schedule again - it's crowded and not a wilderness experience so much as it is Just Another Line of Tourists. I tell people they don't want to do it if they have not been hiking at altitude - unless you are backpacking and can overnight up there, the day hike will kill your feet and legs for no good reason. People will sign up simply because "it's Half Dome! you have to do Half Dome!" - I had people limping and crawling back to their cars the one time I scheduled this as a day hike, took them from 9 am to about 6 pm to get back to the parking lot.

Half Dome now requires a permit if you day hike it on a weekend or holiday. Backpackers will be given a permit when they get their wilderness permit, no problem. Day hike permits are available online - check the Yosemite website for details.

Alta Peak (Sequoia NP, Wolverton trailhead) is hands down a better hike - more elevation gain, higher peak, better views of the Sierras (including Mt Whitney, due east, on a clear day), and I enjoyed camping at Alta Meadow much, much more than staying in Little Yosemite Valley. No crowds, no cables. Clouds Rest is a better view and no cables. North Dome is also great, busy but no crowds anything like Half Dome and no cables, and a great view of Half Dome.

I'm not going to say don't do Half Dome - I am a lifelong Yosemite fan, go there every year despite the crazy permitting procedures, crazy bears and crazy tourists. Half Dome is a neat place to go but I have to say that the crowds totally killed it for me. Never going again.

You don't want to leave bags, packs, or ice chests - whether there is anything in them or not - visible in the car in Yosemite. No sense in taking chances. It's the only place I'm aware of where bears break into cars, but they are starting to warn people in SEKI as well and there are bear boxes you are asked to use at trailheads, rather than leaving stuff in vehicles. The marmots in Mineral King are famous for chewing up stuff in your engine compartment if you don't use chicken wire or tarps to protect them, and I've heard rumor that marmots in the neighborhood of Courtright Reservoir also do the same.

If you are not taking more than two-three people and are flexible in your scheduling you can probably manage first come/first serve wilderness permits in Yosemite. The problem is that they are available the morning before the starting date. I've successfully gotten six permits for Happy Isles trailhead (most popular in the park) by showing up at 5:30 am to sit on the porch of the wilderness office. There were three people ahead of me. The person behind me wanted four permits for the same itinerary and only got two. You'll find it's less difficult getting permits for places like Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Ansel Adams wilderness, etc than it is in Yosemite.

The backpacker camps in Yosemite help with this - they are five dollars per night and available for you the night before or after a backpack (a ranger will walk around looking at permits in the designated campsites). They are very strict about your starting date and your possession of a bear canister on their approved list - the absence of a permit or approved canister will result in your being ejected from the wilderness if a ranger asks to see them. Friend was marched out from Red Peak Pass because he was out without a permit. The fine is 75 - unless it's a food storage problem, then they can fine you up to $5,000. Yosemite wins my prize for "park most similar to a police state" - but the scenery is worth it.

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TehipiteTom
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by TehipiteTom » Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:26 pm

AlmostThere wrote:You'll find it's less difficult getting permits for places like Kings Canyon/Sequoia, Ansel Adams wilderness, etc than it is in Yosemite.
This is true, but within Yosemite it varies from trailhead to trailhead. If you look at their permit availability page, you can easily see which trailheads fill up fastest and just plan to start from a less-popular trailhead.

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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by amigo » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:24 pm

After reading all your very helpful posts, I'm starting to not be so gung-ho about climbing Half Dome. I knew it would likely be busy, but it really sounds like a potential nightmare, depending on when we're there of course. I think we'll just play that one by ear. If we're there and it's not overly busy, we may try it if we can get a permit. If not, I won't sweat it. Lots of other spectacular places. My friend will only be more than happy not hiking a busy place - if he sees 2 people on a trail, he thinks it's busy ;)

Hiking less busy places sounds alot more motivating! I definitely will visit the valley, regardless, and may do the 4-mile/Panorama loop one day, perhaps North Dome or Clouds Rest another and try to get one or two overnighters (whatever happens to be available)....then do something in Ansel Adams Wilderness/Mammoth Lakes area and check out SEKI.

I take it one must reserve a permit for Rae Lakes loop months in advance as well? Are there last minute permits for this one? This really sounds like an amazing loop trip!

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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by gary c. » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:49 pm

amigo,
I would not give up on your plans for HD. If you can, follow mavricks and markskors advice about hiking in from the Tuolumne side and making a couple days of it. Yes, the crowds are bad and they do take something away from the experience but if you have never been there I think it's well worth it. I was there for my first time last year on a very buisy day and don't know if I would do it again myself. I do know that I'll never be sorry I experienced it that first time on the top. I'm sure that many of these guys have been up HD multiple times and wish they would share what there first time felt like. I can't imagine going back to the east cost and wondering if it would have been worth dealing with the people or not.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

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AlmostThere
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:01 pm

I know I sound discouraging, but that's mostly my discouragement. :retard: Doing it as a backpack from Tioga Road trailheads will avoid the wall to wall tourist hordes, until you get to the trail to Half Dome itself. And if you plan to hit the dome fairly early in the day, say before 10 am, you will share the cables with maybe two dozen instead of a hundred people. Weekdays are probably going to be the best days to show up.

I forget that I have been looking at Yosemite Valley from all angles forever and others may find the view jaw-dropping and stunning - I was much happier on Alta peak, and on Donahue Pass, and Silliman Pass watching the sun set over the clouds creeping up into the canyons among the sequoias...

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amigo
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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by amigo » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:10 pm

Yep, going up HD by starting on the Tuolumne side (and perhaps include Clouds Rest) sounds like a better option. That, of course, still requires I get an overnight permit. I'll just have to see what the future holds. I think we'll also try to get to Yosemite during the week. How close to Half Dome can one get by camping anywhere, assuming hiking in from Clouds Rest? I'm talking about away from LYV.

Any thoughts on the Rae Lake loop?

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Re: Planning trip - suggestions

Post by markskor » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:53 am

Obtaining Yosemite Wilderness Permits is a bit quirky, but still workable still last minute.
Thoughts:
1) The quota system in YNP is based entirely on the trailhead starting out...not the exit. Thus if adamant about going on your intended HD trip, you can "start" at a variety of trailheads, (ask or just look - whatever is open on the board), and still make it to HD.
Budd Lake, Cathedral lakes, Elizabeth Lake trailheads, (among others) will add a day, bit still eventually take you to the same spot (Sunrise Lakes) if Tenaya Lake trailhead is closed.
2) Quota allots 40% "next day only"...Add in the no-shows and that works out to ~50% of the slots at all trailheads always available...tomorrow. A small party (ones and twos) should find little pressure to obtain almost anything. The down side is that you may have to chill out in Tuolumne an extra day...There are worse places to hang out…Acclimate!
3) Saturday and Sunday starts are the most asked for...avoid if possible.
4) Go!
5) Next water after Clouds Rest is ~ 2 miles down, and there is water again about 1/4 mile after CR/HD trail junction (see TOPO)...both possible places to stay over... thus allowing you to get to HD cables relatively early.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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