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[Yosemite]

3-4 day backpacking loop

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby emartinez03 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:30 am

Hi,

This is my first time backpacking in Yosemite. I am looking for a 3-4 day backpacking trip that loops back to the same place where I left my car or ends and starts in trail heads that we can shuttle back to our car. There are three of us going and we are in moderate shape, but want to take it easy, so like 5 to 6 miles a day. We don't necessarily need to hike to a new camp place every night. It would be helpful if one can provide an itinerary or at least a good place to sleep the first night (for permit purposes). I was looking around 10 lakes basins and May lakes, but am unsure. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:15 pm

You may be limited to whatever you can get a permit for, at this point.

Look at the Buena Vista loop, as well as Ten Lakes. Also consider using the hiker bus (if it's still running) or YARTS as a way of leaving the car at Tuolumne Meadows or White Wolf, traveling to the other trailhead, and hiking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. The usual way is from Tuolumne down the canyon, then up from Pate to White Wolf -- if you do this be sure you are up in the morning very, very early to start from the bottom, as the sunny switchbacks are incredibly awfully horribly hot and dry for afternoon or even late morning hiking. Very easy to get heat stroke working hard to carry a backpack up open granite trail.

There are also a couple of loops possible at Hetch Hetchy to have a look at. The same applies there -- if you can start before dawn heading out from the trailhead, do -- in the full sun going up from low elevation can be absolutely brutal.
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby emartinez03 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:20 pm

Thanks I am worried about getting a permit, but I looked and they seem to have permits available for the days I want to go for young lakes and ten lakes. If i chose one of these where would be a good first night stay at either of these and can I exit from the same place the same trailhead I entered? Thanks for your help!
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby Phil » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:31 pm

AlmostThere's suggestions are really solid. Just be ready to do some climbing. You better get a good map and know what the topography holds in store for either route before you commit. With being in "moderate shape" you also have to be realistic about the added issues of how that's going to work for you at altitude, especially for Ten Lakes. DO NOT discount the effects of altitude...without taking time to acclimate, it can take "moderate" to barely able to breath really quickly, even for someone in excellent shape. Another big consideration for both routes is the daily mileage you're looking to do as opposed to how long you plan to be out. You should be able to get in at least for some of either route around that 6 miles at times, but you're going to have to either resign yourselves to more miles per day or being out longer, especially if you want good campsites and water that you don't have to carry. You don't really get a choice beyond that.

As far as permits are concerned, she's also absolutely right- you're getting limited if you want to reserve ahead of time. To make it more likely, Ten Lakes Basin is a good choice, and it's currently going to be easier to enter from White Wolf for the GCT than it is to try to get a pass-through from Glen Aulin. In other words, do it in reverse. With the latter, you also get to avoid that climb which you have very little choice over having to get through at least most of before the end of the day and you find a place to camp.

So look at a map, be realistic, plan your itinerary accordingly. Make it work, it'll be worth it.
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby Phil » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:46 pm

As I said, know what you're getting into before you commit to Ten Lakes. Gorgeous area though. First night can either be Lower Grant Lake if you want a side trip, or Ten Lakes Basin itself. Either one will let them know that you're where you're supposed to be.

Young Lakes is an overnight. You can exit at the same entry point, but it's worth exiting via Dog Lake (no camping allowed) and hiking the short distance back to the car when you reach Tuolumne Meadows. As short as it is, it's also an easy deal and a great intro to YNP and hiking at altitude. First night is going to be Lower Young Lake for permitting purposes.
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby emartinez03 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:00 pm

Thanks for the help we plan on arriving the night before to acclimate to the altitude and hopefully that will help with the altitude. I have considered extending the days to maybe 4 or 5 days, but we will see what permits I can get. Thanks again you were major help.
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby Phil » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:11 pm

emartinez03 wrote:Thanks for the help we plan on arriving the night before to acclimate to the altitude and hopefully that will help with the altitude


Unfortunately, that's not going to do much for you. Just get plenty of rest, start early the next morning, go slow, stay hydrated, take a lot of breaks.

You're welcome. If you have more questions after you've figured it out, ask. Enjoy your trip.
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Re: 3-4 day backpacking loop

Postby balzaccom » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:11 pm

As usual, you are getting good advice here--especially about taking it slow and easy, and staying hydrated. You do NOT want to be six miles in when you really start feeling awful, and realize that your two options are to either hike back out six miles, or suffer where you are.

One note about Youngs Lake--there's an easy day trip to Roosevelt Lake cross country there, and another to climb Mt. Conness. So that could easily be turned into a four day trip with a base camp at Lower Youngs lakes. Both day trips are really memorable.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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