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[Yosemite]

May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

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

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May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby mamapacker » Fri May 20, 2016 10:19 pm

Two moms and four kids (9-12) looking for Cathedral Lakes/Ten Lakes type trip but going earlier in the season than normal and need advice for relatively short mileage, three or four day trip next weekend. We will get a same-day or next day permit on Friday morning depending on options and know how the system works already. What we don't know is where we can go without appreciable snow (dusting is fine; icy or deep is not) but where it's maybe still cold enough to kill the mosquitos at night. If there's still snow all over the high sierra, where can we do a low-mileage trip out of the valleY? Please provide your best bets! Thanks!
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Re: May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby Phil » Fri May 20, 2016 11:28 pm

Hi,

With kids that age and this early in the year, definitely stay lower. I would suggest you have a look at Yosemite Creek from Tioga Rd>down to the top of Yosemite Falls>then to the Valley. I think it's about 13 miles total. You descend, not climb, as you would on all trailheads from the Valley...more often than not, steeply. If you'll have two cars, use one on each end. If only one car, take the shuttle back up to it after you spend a night in the North Pines backpacker's camp at the end of your trip.

That's the best bet I've got going for the time and your crew. Save the higher altitude trips for later in the summer.
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Re: May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby mamapacker » Fri May 20, 2016 11:58 pm

Thanks, Phil. Sounds good. Any idea how buggy it will be? Head nets is what I hope to avoid . . .
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Re: May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby balzaccom » Sat May 21, 2016 8:05 am

This time of year, you'll either get snow or mosquitoes. You can't avoid both. Once the snow melts, the skeeters come out to play.

If you're looking for a base camp like Cathedral or Ten Lakes, you might look at Young Lakes as well. You can organize quite a few adventures from there. Not true of Yosemite Falls.

But these are higher elevation hikes and that means more snow. You might look at some of the Early Season Hikes that we list on our website (in my signature line) for more ideas. Those are lower elevation, And most of them are easier to permit than Yosemite.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby Phil » Sat May 21, 2016 12:17 pm

Balzaccom is right: mosquitoes or snow. With DEET or whatever your choice of repellents, you'll stop the actual biting, but the headnets are to keep them from swarming in your face, which can get more than a little unnerving. The elevations on the route I suggested are around 7500 feet and lower, so the mosquitoes are still going to be active and prevalent, but they should be beginning to slightly taper off fairly soon. Not entirely, but as best as you're going to get. Don't try to avoid the headnets, for the $2 or so a pop they cost and the fact that they weigh nothing, embrace them. Even if you never take them out of your packs, they're a nice insurance policy against crabby kids on the brink of revolt.

Young Lakes is another great, short hike for kids, but anything out of Tuolumne is going to still be mosquito central for some time to come.
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Re: May 27-30 backpacking advice needed, valley or tuolomne

Postby Phil » Sat May 21, 2016 3:54 pm

If you want a couple more days out of it, you can also modify that hike by heading over toward North Dome when you reach the top of the falls. So, you can do one night along Yosemite Creek, the next over by Lahamite Creek or North Dome, then the last night at the top of Snow Creek. All the daily mileages are bite-sized, and not too hard of terrain. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the descent on the Snow Creek trail down to the Valley via Mirror Lake, while fairly short, is also fairly steep. Although, Ive always preferred descending on it rather than the Falls Trail.

So yeah, for a few days out, that's the route I would do. But, you need to make absolutely sure the kids stay away from the water up there. In more than a few places, there's no time to recover if they go in and the water will be fast.
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