Campfire memories

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Campfire memories

Post by mort » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:21 pm

A couple of recent posts started me reminiscing...
The thread after the Cottonwood Pass trip report by wsp_scott went a little astray. A link to a list of Sierra Club outings and family camps sent me back.
And the thread "Who was Sam Mack?" by RSC with the memory from oldranger staying at Knoblocks Cabin ... in the 50s.
I've always had a kind of love/hate feeling about the Sierra Club. They have always been a great source of information and help for my backpacking, and I consider them political allies. But I was loathe to seeing a Sierra Club outing in the backcountry.
The list of outings reminded me of meeting a Sierra Club family trip in Matterhorn Canyon in July 1968. We had started the day at Rock Island Lake, and gone over 3 10,000' passes, and were wearily plodding into the campsites at the trail junction at the southern end of Matterhorn Canyon. To our horror we found the whole area crawling with the Sierra Club. Maybe 30 or so. And pack animals, and children. A few of the club people greeted us and directed us to a somewhat secluded spot. We set up camp and started our dinner, which was an experimental bean stew. Back then you cooked over a campfire, and hung your food in a tree. The stew never cooked and I suppose the Club could hear our conversation. The Club cook came over and gave us the remains of their dinner's scalloped potatoes, which were excellent. When we got up the next morning, the Club was already gone. It seemed almost like a dream.

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Re: Campfire memories

Post by gary c. » Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:38 pm

I had a similar experience with the Sierra Club. It's part of a trip report that I posted on here about 10yrs ago. Not quite so far in, Kearsarge Lakes. We had set up camp and were just starting to look around and fish a little when they started to arrive. One of them told us that they had to get two permits because of the 15 person max. In any case they were everywhere. I wasn't really too concerned until they kept us up late partying and just being loud. But the worst part was when morning came and after breakfast it was time to take my shovel for a walk. no matter where I went there was someone already there, coming back through, or walking ahead of me. By the time I finally worked my way high enough on the mountain to get at least a little privacy I could still see a half dozen fellow hikers below me walking around looking for a bush or making use of the one that they had thought was granting them some privacy.
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Re: Campfire memories

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:44 pm

Large groups should pre-dig one or two latrines. 30 people making their own "cat holes" is not OK. Also, two 15-permit groups camping together is not the intent of the permit system. I am surprised the Sierra Club would let that happen.

On one of my first long trips in the Sierra, in Dusy Basin I ran into a SPS group who were going out. I was looking for a campsite and while going upstream a bit to check that out, the entire group settled down on my original campsite. I found another site and at first was irritated and pretty nasty to them. I had just come from Ionian Basin, not seeing a person in 5 days. Then I went back to apologize for being so angry. Turns out they were going out early and had heavy packs so asked if I needed anything. Yes I did! A win-win for everyone! I had been out over a week and behind schedule so needed supplies. I used the extra fuel to wash my hair in hot water-what a luxury.

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Re: Campfire memories

Post by balzaccom » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:05 am

Thankfully, we've never really run into a large group like that on a hike. We did meet a boy scout troop one night at Peeler Lake---they hooted and hollered when they arrived, ecstatic that their day's work was over. But they did that within fifty feet of our tent. I quickly told them to pipe down. No other issues, other than my wife finding it awkward to head to the bushes with so many (about ten0 young scouts around.

The next day we arrived at Benson Lake and set up camp. Sure enough, not twenty minutes later the scouts arrived, This time the leader came over to us, apologized, and set up camp much farther away. And he promised that we wouldn't see them again.

he was right. And a good guy for taking all those kids backpacking.

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Re: Campfire memories

Post by wsp_scott » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:46 am

I just posted in my trip report thread about Crabtree Lakes and crowds. Looking at some of the itineraries and imagining 50 people (or more) camped in Milestone or Miter or Crabtree or ... is just mind boggling. And then when I think of the size of the campfire I just cringe.
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Re: Campfire memories

Post by Jimr » Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:31 am

I always used to refer to Sierra Club hikes as gang hikes.
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