Help me set priorities

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:17 am

If you do not fish, I would add side-trips to Fourth Recess and Third Recess to Pioneer Basin, as well as camping at Ruby Lake with day-hiking above it.
Another way to get to Pioneer Basin is to go in from Edison Lake, then do Second, Third, Fourth recesses as well. Sort of a grand slam of Recesses!

Keweah Basin is beautiful but stark and getting there is bordering on class 3. I also find that it is quite challenging to get good photos, but then I may just not be good enough of a photographer. I seemed to be always shooting into the sunlight. I have been there three times; once late season when views were marred by smoke, once on a trip with too little time so I just passed through and only the third time when conditions were right- flowers, clear air, more time, and when the little greenery there was remained lush. Access is long, but getting in and out can be as beautiful or even more so than Keweah Basin itself. What I am trying to say, is even after a lot of effort, sometimes conditions just are not good once you get there.

Blackcap Basin is somewhat similar, in that there is a lot of boring trail before you get there and, in my opinion, not as big of a reward as Keweah Basin. But you can make it more interesting by returning on an off-trail route.

Seriously, whatever route you choose, I would avoid late season because we may have another horrible fire season and smoke. I have done a lot of early trips in Emigrant. The good thing about going in Kennedy Meadows is that you do not have to deal with crossing Cherry Creek to get to the good stuff. Also, if you go in when the PCT hikers reach Sonora Pass, there is a reasonably priced shuttle service that makes going in the PCT and coming out Kennedy Meadows logistically easier. Also, hitching back up to Sonora Pass is very easy. But as you well know, if timing for the wildflowers, mosquitoes can be horrible.

Of course, if it were me, I would go to the Wind Rivers. But that is a long drive and if you are limited with vacation days, the drive alone will eat up 3-4 days. Makes more sense if you combine it with a loop road trip and avoid going up I-80, which is VERY BORING! One advantage is that no permits are required, so you do not have to plan ahead so much. Maybe leave this to Plan B, if things in the Sierra close down again. August is the best time.








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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by Love the Sierra » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:55 pm

I too have never gotten to Pioneer Basin. Was planning 7 days in the recesses and Hopkins and we were going to leave the Weds after Labor Day. SIGH
One of my best trips EVER was 6 days going from Kennedy meadows North to Wire to Buck Lakes. Got a glorious camp site at Buck and then day hiked to Emigrant Lake. The Flowers in Relief reservoir and around Emigrant Lake were STUPENDOUS!!
If you go to Hoover, do not miss West Lake. It was by far my favorite because it was most secluded because the climb up is so tough and we still had snow patches on a very hot day in August.

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by kpeter » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:18 pm

Terrific suggestions. Much to think about. Good thing I have some time to think!

I've never been able to do autumn backpacks because I am a college professor and my semester starts in mid August. With fires doing what they are doing, it does not seem like such a big loss these days.

I normally do three trips a year, so there will be room for an early season trip, a July trip, and an early August trip.

If I do the Wind Rivers I may do it in conjunction with the Sawtooths in Idaho, which I have wanted to return to--a favorite backpacking destination from my childhood. Two major backpacks on one long roadtrip. For me to do that next summer would involve motels, stopping to see old friends in Idaho, etc, and so I probably won't attempt that trip until I have the COVID vaccine, so that trip will be up in the air for a while.

I've wondered about a cross-sierra hike starting at Rock Creek, going over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin, and then exploring all the recesses on the way downstream to Edison Lake and out. I've also wondered about doing the same trip but extending it further by going north over Silver Pass to visit the Silver Divide and then south over Goodale back to Edison. Probably 8 days to see several never-before-visited areas. Would require setting up a shuttle.

Kaweah Basin is a long ways and I failed to get there once before when I tried. But the trip to Colby would be all new terrain. I'd also wondered about coming in from Cottonwood which seems to be the fastest (though boring?) approach. My last attempt was on my Kearsarge to Cottonwood trip, cut short by a bad knee.

I really would like to do a longish circuit in N. Emigrant out of Kennedy Meadows. I've been as far as Buck Lake coming in from Crabtree. I think the reason I have never tried Kennedy Meadows is that I usually do Emigrant early season, and the northern side seems to open later in the season--higher in elevation. I keep meaning to do it, and yet the west side always seems to be open before the north side. But not having to cross Cherry Creek might make up for walking on snow.

I really appreciate the Hoover advice. Those sound like manageable, shortish trips. Do they tend to be early, mid, or late season hikes?

So many positive visions to think about :) Just what I needed!

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by Love the Sierra » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:05 am

OK you guys, so the way into Cottonwood and Blackcap is wooded without a lot of granite but boring??? I love the forest and enjoy those approach days as much as the high granite days. OK, yes, I am addicted to the granite and a trip without granite and lakes is not really a trip...but please, don't say boring. It is ALL so beautiful and well worth preserving and enjoying and visiting!

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by kpeter » Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:39 pm

Love the Sierra wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:05 am
OK you guys, so the way into Cottonwood and Blackcap is wooded without a lot of granite but boring??? I love the forest and enjoy those approach days as much as the high granite days. OK, yes, I am addicted to the granite and a trip without granite and lakes is not really a trip...but please, don't say boring. It is ALL so beautiful and well worth preserving and enjoying and visiting!
Hah! Point taken. I think back around the time that the HST meet up was in Kaweah Basin one of you calculated the most efficient trailed routes in that did not need a cross-x pass--whether Shepherd to the Kern and down to Junction Meadow, or Cottonwood to Wallace to Junction Meadow, or a western approach to Colby Pass and down, and I seem to remember that Cottonwood was declared the fastest way in with the best trails and least elevation change, but that it was...ahem...less scenic than the other routes. But I have not done it so my "boring" comment was a reflection on old memories from old posts. In fact, I have done a couple of pieces of that route and can say the foxtail pines near Guyot are not boring :)

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by giantbrookie » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:55 pm

I think a lot of what you choose depends on the type of country you want to hike in and what sort of hiking you want to do within the criteria you've set. It happens that what I'm thinking of for next season is on your list, so I figured I'd give you my thought process even though my priorities are different. I've been mulling over a spectrum of options for next year and I've tried to balance my priorities of off trail exploration, fishing, and going somewhere new, but also realizing that I won't there are certain things I need to do while I'm still physically capable of them (ie the harder off trail stuff). Yet I find myself being pulled more strongly to the "newest" in terms of the largest region in the Sierra I haven't spent time, even though the amount of off trail stuff is smaller than any long trip I've taken in memory.

I had originally thought of a return to Mt Goddard country to iconic fishing spots (mostly off trail, but only one "creative" off trail route), then I kaboshed that plan because I thought of, some unfinished business in the Taboose Pass area that was "newer" only to sour on it because of limited off trail stuff, then set my sights on some really fun set of off trail routes out of Florence, but then I thought that I've been to the general Bear Creek-Mono Creek-Silver Divide area 3 times starting in 2015, so....

I've started to lean (but may still change my mind) to a N Emigrant-NE Yosemite only because it covers the most "new" destinations for me and an entirely new approach route, even though it's on trail. So, here's my preliminary game plan: day 1 Leavitt L (yes I have 4WD and I've always thought taking off from here would be fun and have never done it) to High Emigrant/Emigrant Mdw Lake. day 2 to Emigrant L. day 3 to Huckleberry L. day 4 to Snow Lake. day 5 to Tilden Lake. day 6 to Mary Lake. Day 7 finally a bit of "different" off trail going from Mary to Dorothy Lake (or possibly beyond) via pass S of Saurian Crest. Day 8 is either going all the way back or perhaps going back to some place like High Emigrant or going the "other" way along the PCT and camping something where. day 9 if necessary. But, it's a long time until the 2021 season and I may still change my mind, but one day I really want to do some version of this trip above.


Anyhow I think all of your choices are potentially nice ones and what you choose to do is mainly based on what your priorities are at the moment.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by dave54 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:22 pm

When I try to decide from a list of possible trips, I look on-line for previous trip reports.
The fewer the trip reports, the higher the ranking on my list. No references or mentions at all? -- a definite winner.

I like to go to new places where very few if any have been. Someplace that is not a new trendy place with selfies plastered all over the internet. Sometimes the location ends up being a disappointment, sometimes a great spot worthy of a return. In either case I had solitude and quiet.
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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by bobby49 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:26 pm

dave54 wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:22 pm
The fewer the trip reports, the higher the ranking on my list. No references or mentions at all? -- a definite winner.
If there are no trip reports at all, that might mean that nobody survived it.

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Re: Help me set priorities

Post by dave54 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:17 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:26 pm
dave54 wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:22 pm
The fewer the trip reports, the higher the ranking on my list. No references or mentions at all? -- a definite winner.
If there are no trip reports at all, that might mean that nobody survived it.
Then it becomes an adventure and not just another hike!
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Log off and get outdoors!
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