Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

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.
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bigcountry951
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by bigcountry951 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:55 am

East Side Hiker wrote:I would wait until July. Before that, you may be headed for disappointments. If its your first time, think about Lundy Canyon, which is just north of Lee Vining. The vegetation is fantastic and there aren't that many people. Its the backside of Saddlebag Lake.

Or the South Fork of the Kern River. Or the Sonora Pass area - Leavitt Mdw.

Unfortunately, many of the best places on the East Side are full of people, like Mosquito Flat.
Yeah, we are taking the advice seriously, and very well will be changing our date from June to July, but as far as crowds go, we really dont mind. Its our first trip hiking anywhere, so we just want to get our feet wet. Believe me, if I were confident in our abilities, crowds would be an issue, but for now, we just want to do it, and have a nice story to tell with spectacular pictures. Like I told my wife....after we buy all this gear and prepare for this trip...we will then be alot more prepared for more trips, and soon be able to take our kids with us and teach them. I have no doubt that this is something we will fall in love with.








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LMBSGV
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by LMBSGV » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:36 pm

I just wanted to add another yes vote to WD's Sabrina Basin suggestion. We took our son there when he was 6. We spent the first night at Dingleberry, then up to Midnight the next morning for a couple of more days. Midnight, Hungry Packer, and Moonlight are all close together so you could hike up to one and then explore the basin on day hikes.

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tim
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by tim » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:55 pm

If you want to go early (say before July 4) then I would consider going out and back to Iva Bell hot springs starting from Devils Postpile (though last summer Devils Postpile didn't open until mid June). It is an easy 2 days to get there (12 miles) and a really wonderful destination. Midweek/early season it is likely to be pretty quiet as well. The trail stays low (all below 8000ft) but has great views and mountain scenery. There aren't any major unbridged stream crossings on that bit of the trail either (though you might get your feet wet once or twice).

We did the loop via Duck Lake last summer - another really good trip, but probably one for mid-late July at the earliest: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5344" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by East Side Hiker » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:34 am

If you wait for the snow to clear, Horseshoe Mdw has many opportunities. Start high. But there are a lot of people. Like Mosquito Flat - lots of opportunities, start high, but a lot of people.

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by bigcountry951 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:44 pm

So I guess, since we have concerns about the skeeterz, we should wait until June when the skeeter thread starts before we decide on which trail to take. All of your ideas sound great!

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by East Side Hiker » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:44 am

If you don't mind people, consider one of two places, if you can get a permit - Mosquito Flat (out of Tom's Place) or a trail out of June Lake (like toward Thousand Island Lakes). If you do Mosquito Flat, a meal and beer at Tom's Place can't be beat (but there's a lot of people). And think about Leavitt Mdw, off Hwy 108 - though dusty and sometimes hot, there's really a lot of opportunities from that trailhead.

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:44 am

I went up the Gem Lake trail last year. Here is a photo of Waugh Lake June 29. There will likely be more snow this year than last year, unless we get a very warm spring that melts it off. To get to Thousand Island Lake from the Silver Lake entrance you have to go up a lot of north facing terrain that will be very snowy. If you want to go to Thousand Island Lake, it is better to go in from Devil's Postpile, River trail. Last year there were plenty of dry campsites on the north shores of Gem and Waugh Lakes but the trail was often very flooded. It was not hard to find, just had to wade through water and mud- if you do this route you will "just get your feet wet" into backpacking in more ways than one!

Image

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by East Side Hiker » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:59 pm

Mosquitos will be a problem for a long time this summer.

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bigcountry951
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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by bigcountry951 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:46 pm

East Side Hiker wrote:Mosquitos will be a problem for a long time this summer.

We are starting to realize that, and may be drastically changing our expected hike dates. So it seems the skeeters typically are bad between June and August? How about September or October?

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Re: Eastern Sierras First Time Backpacking

Post by Mike M. » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:33 pm

Skeeters like standing water. Generally speaking, skeeter season follows the receding snow line. This year, we're likely to see skeeters at least into early August in the high country, depending of course on high quickly the snow melts. I would not hesitate to plan a trip due to mosquito concerns -- come prepared and plan to camp in areas with good drainage, thereby minimizing the potential to be pestered by the ornery critters. High water is another matter, but my bet is that most stream crossings will be manageable by early August, if not before.

September, especially after Labor Day, is a great time to visit the high country. Although the days are shorter, you will see some fall color, there are very few people on the trail, and the nights are usually cold enough to kill off any mosquitoes.

Mike

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