Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search
CalHotels.US--online reservations now CalHotels.US Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed. Click Here For Yours!
Hotel photos, maps, reviews, & discount rates.

U.S. Hotels in California (Yosemite, L. A., San Francisco ), AL, AK, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, FM, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, NV, MH, MP, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, PR, PW, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, VI WA, WV, WI, WY

[Yosemite]

September Hike Questions

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:39 am

I would never leave an unattended pack anywhere in Yosemite, even empty. Mine goes in the tent after everything's out of it, or in the locker if it's a backpacker camp (where you stay in a campground before/after the backpacking trip - Yosemite has four of these).

Bears break into cars for empty ice chests, and steal packs and tear them apart -- it ended a buddy's first and last backpacking trip within the first four hours of his hike (this was at Hetch Hetchy), when he put his pack down, stepped away a dozen feet to pee, and the bear dashed out and snatched it up, ran into the manzanita, and vanished. He gave chase until he heard the bear ripping everything up -- he had to pick up after the bear (that's a law too, and Leave No Trace) and carry everything in his arms back to the trailhead.

Rangers in Sequoia will tell you the same thing -- don't leave your pack anywhere. Forget smells, these are bears who know what stuff looks like now.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1697
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:16 am

I don't ever leave my pack unattended either. It's just not a good habit to get into, for many reasons.

If you stop to relieve yourself, need to step away to filter water, or for anything, either have your partner keep an eye on your pack or pull the canister and anything scented that doesn't happen to already be in it and set it on the ground separately. That's also a good reason to keep the can easily accessible and not buried under other gear when you load your pack.

At night, we don't exactly fully "empty" our packs, but with a few exceptions like incidentals, clothes, etc, everything is out already anyhow. We also check and double check for wrappers, or sunscreen, or anything else that might be an attractant. Pockets in places like your hip-belt are notorious places to forget to look, and will just as easily get your pack torn apart as anything. We then open up all our zippers, lids, or anything else that might require a bear to rip into the pack instead of just poking its nose in to satisfy any curiosity it might have. In other words, we make it as easy as possible to get into. Probably 98% of the time our packs go into our tent vestibules, and that's what you should really shoot for, too, but we do sometimes also lean them on a tree or on the ground close by. When we do this, I'll sometimes tether the packs together with a carabiner between the top handles so the whole package becomes much more cumbersome to quickly drag away with the thinking that if I'm yelling and standing my ground, or even sometimes chasing it, which I will be, the bear will hopefully abandon the entire proposition in it's haste to get away, which it usually will be in most cases (bears want easy and safe, not hard and risky). As with AT's chunks of granite, we rig something up to make noise if anything is moved. Precariously placing trekking poles on top works pretty well for this. In heavy bear areas, before bed, I also take a minute to gather up a handful of rocks a little smaller than the size of golf balls and put them where I can grab them quickly along with my headlamp. If I have to use them, I will, but head shots are a bad idea. Finally, I surround my entire camp with a set of lightweight landmines and Claymores...just kidding, or am I?

With cooking and the actual bear canisters themselves, we keep it all away from our tent. We make sure we've done our dishes, and place the canisters in a safe place. 100 ft from your tent is recommended, but it doesn't always work out that way. We'll try to find some rocks or a tree well if there's any chance of the cans being rolled into a creek or off a cliff, but mostly we just flip them upside down to reduce the scent cone and leave them on the open ground wherever it works.

In dealing with bears on an interactive level, you have to remember that they want your food, not you. They're also pretty timid, all in all, unless they're conditioned. But, they are smart and resolute. Unless you startle them (taking away their "flight" option) or threaten cubs, yelling (start before you get out of the tent), banging pans, lighting them up, or even just being in their way and somewhat menacing yourself will run them off. However, if a bear smells something it might want, and can't get at it by coming in from one direction, it's usually going to try to come at it from another direction, and they'll do it over and over again until it either proves pointless and not worth the effort, or you finally go to sleep and it comes in and satisfies it's curiosity. This, along with the grab-and-go method, are specialties of the bears up by Cathedral, Sunrise HSC/Lakes, Sunrise Creek, and especially LYV...your whole route, actually. But really, it's no big deal if you do what you're supposed to do and keep everything tight and leave them with nothing to do but see if there's something better to eat than grubs and berries. If they don't get your food or trash your stuff, no harm, no foul. And they all lived happily ever after. The End.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:30 am

This is a regional thing, note, because if you go anywhere else in North America, read up on the park/wilderness rules for that region to see just how very, very different black bears can be.

There was an actual bear attack on the Appalachian Trail recently that demonstrates what a habituated bear can be capable of -- the bear tore into the tent and bit his leg. He did the right thing -- shouted, drove the bear away, but it came back a few times. He went to the nearest shelter for first aid, and the authorities are looking for the bear. End result -- trashed tent, bite marks. The reason this does not happen in the national parks in California is that the rangers here tag, track, follow, monitor and watch habituated, nuisance bears that lose all fear of people, and kill the bears before they get too aggressive. So you will see a huge difference in the language on the websites -- for Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings, it is all about food, nothing but the food, scare away the bears and stand your ground. Bear spray is illegal here. You won't need it at all -- the bears don't attack people here. Look at the bear page on, say, the Great Smoky National Park page, and the language is totally different, with boldface and red text, telling you to stay away from the bears in a different language.

FOLLOW RULES RELATED TO BEAR SAFETY AND FOOD STORAGE for the region you are in, and you can be safe as everyone wants you to be. The bear canisters are all too often left in the trunk of the car by people here, who think it's just about their food not getting stolen. I listened to an endless argument between a ranger and some wannabe backpackers who insisted, repeatedly, that they would eat all their food the first day, they did not need a bear can! Honest, we won't let bears get the food! The ranger FORCED them to rent the can, before he would give them a permit. For the trash, and the pills, and the toothpaste, and the sunscreen....

It is a matter of safety for the bears and for the people who can get hurt by bears who repeatedly get that food reward (a granola wrapper is a food reward! a tube of toothpaste is a food reward! a bottle of aspirin - yes, everything that has an odor! Powerbait! put it all in the can!) and keep training in ninja skills to get your food to the point that they are getting too close to people too often. And then they get aggressive and get shot. The only bears in Yosemite that hurt anyone are the ones getting into a tent to find that wrapper or smelly item you left in there -- and find a panicking person that freaks them out and makes them defensive.

I spilled olive oil on a sit pad one time. No way that was going to come clean. I got that sit pad in the #%$^& can. It's a food reward if it tastes like food.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1697
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:44 am

You got a sit pad in your can?? I would've paid to watch you do that.

We stopped carrying tins of smoked oysters for the same reason. We got so freaked out about a splash here and a splash there that we treated the whole thing like radioactive waste until we figured it just wasn't going to work out and changed over to freeze dried, pre-seasoned tofu.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Soonernation » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:00 am

All good stuff about the bears.
Soonernation
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:44 pm

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby CGSteve » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:38 am

A little update about my trip plan and another request for advice...

Since finding this site and reading everything I can here, I have decided to change my plans a bit. On the final day of our trip, instead of hiking out to Happy Isles, I have decided to make a push to exit at TM. As of now, it looks like I will be a solo hiker with the balance of my group opting to head home and take a shower. Not me, I am going to milk this permit for all it is worth and see all that I can...

To save the trouble of going back and reviewing my trip plan, I have pasted it below and added the extra journey. My comments / edits are in red...

Day 1 - 24 Sep 2016
Depart the trailhead around 0900 at the latest. Our first night will be spent at Sunrise Lakes, the middle one to be specific.

Day 2 - 25 Sep 2016
Depart around 0900 again and make camp just below CR. Based on previously provided advice, and depending on how the group is feeling, I may push the group over CR and make camp where the CRT and JMT converge. For my own selfish purposes, this may give me an extra day to explore the area between HD & TM. For the purpose of planning, I will assume that I do not have the extra day for now, but would like to have an added option in my back pocket if the extra day presents itself.

Day 3 - 26 Sep 2016
Depart around 0900 and make camp where the CRT and JMT intersect.

Day 4 - 27 Sep 2016
Depart around 0900 enroute the top of HD. Not sure if we will leave our gear at the base of HD. Plan to hike down to LYV and spend our last night there.

Day 5 - 28 Sep 2016
Depart around 0900 enroute Curry Village for a beer and some pizza, maybe a shower and then drive home. <-- I will be continuing on until I reach TM, but I am leaving this open to whatever interesting suggestions you helpful folks might offer. The only absolute is that I do not want my trip to be over so soon. My goal is to exit during mid-morning, NLT 1200 on 30 Sep 2016.

Day 6 - 29 Sep 2016
???

Day 7 - 30 Sep 2016
Exit the trail at TM NLT 1200.
CGSteve
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:04 pm
Location: Madera, CA

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:33 pm

Hey Steve

So I guess this change in plans to go ahead and try to get everyone over to the CR/JMT junction sooner means that you managed to whip them into shape?

If I'm understanding you correctly, you now want to send them to Happy Isles and head the opposite direction from that point, correct? And then you're allowing just one more day's hiking, and the next morning to exit at Tuolumne?

If that's the case, it doesn't give you a whole lot of time to deviate from the JMT and explore elsewhere. I would plan to leave the CR/JMT junction and shoot for Upper Cathedral Lake on Day 6, then hike that last 3.6 miles down to Tuolumne on Day 7, getting there well before NLT 1200.

Staying on the JMT because of time restraints, from the standpoint of miles and adequate, yet picturesque camping, Upper Cathedral is also the best bet when all things and other options between the two points are weighed.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:52 pm

Just curious. When you split up, who is going to end up with the permit? And who is going to be hiking without a permit?
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1174
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:24 pm

Oh yeah, that's a really good point, Balzaccom. Maybe run that by the rangers when you pick it up or call and ask ahead of time. It'll probably work out as a mere technicality, but a factor best considered and dealt with still.

I would think that you should keep it since a) you are the trip leader of record, b) because the odds of you being asked for it are higher with time and distance. We spent a few hours hiking and talking with a wilderness ranger a couple weeks ago, and word has it that there's going to be a really concerted enforcement effort focused on Cathedral Lakes this year for permit and fire violations.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby CGSteve » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:12 pm

balzaccom wrote:Just curious. When you split up, who is going to end up with the permit? And who is going to be hiking without a permit?


Phil wrote:Oh yeah, that's a really good point, Balzaccom. Maybe run that by the rangers when you pick it up or call and ask ahead of time. It'll probably work out as a mere technicality, but a factor best considered and dealt with still.

I would think that you should keep it since a) you are the trip leader of record, b) because the odds of you being asked for it are higher with time and distance. We spent a few hours hiking and talking with a wilderness ranger a couple weeks ago, and word has it that there's going to be a really concerted enforcement effort focused on Cathedral Lakes this year for permit and fire violations.


Good questions and points, the very same that I asked myself which led me to call the Ranger's that handle these sorts of questions in Yosemite. I was told it would not be an issue for them to walk out without a permit, but they'd be happy to provide me with a second copy just to cover my bases. I also requested and received the badge number of the Ranger that I spoke with about this topic. He stated it would not be any different than someone who had to turn back from a group for whatever reason...according to him, what I inquired about doesn't skirt the rules because I am not changing anything with the trailhead quota.

Regardless, I appreciate the cautious approach...I do not want to deviate from the rules and make myself a part of the problem. :D
CGSteve
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:04 pm
Location: Madera, CA

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby CGSteve » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:19 pm

Phil wrote:Hey Steve

So I guess this change in plans to go ahead and try to get everyone over to the CR/JMT junction sooner means that you managed to whip them into shape?

If I'm understanding you correctly, you now want to send them to Happy Isles and head the opposite direction from that point, correct? And then you're allowing just one more day's hiking, and the next morning to exit at Tuolumne?

If that's the case, it doesn't give you a whole lot of time to deviate from the JMT and explore elsewhere. I would plan to leave the CR/JMT junction and shoot for Upper Cathedral Lake on Day 6, then hike that last 3.6 miles down to Tuolumne on Day 7, getting there well before NLT 1200.

Staying on the JMT because of time restraints, from the standpoint of miles and adequate, yet picturesque camping, Upper Cathedral is also the best bet when all things and other options between the two points are weighed.


Phil,

Thanks for the response! On the morning of day 5 the group will depart from either LYV or from the area where the CRT & JMT converge, or diverge depending on your direction of travel. They will head for Happy Isles and I will head back toward TM. That will give me full days on days 5 & 6 to explore. I'd like to spend the night of day 6 in a location that doesn't leave me more than a few hours from exiting to TM.

Sorry for the confusion, I just reviewed what I had written and it's a bit on the hazy side...
CGSteve
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:04 pm
Location: Madera, CA

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:24 pm

That makes sense, Steve. It was sufficient enough of a question to me to call and get the same answer. It's one of those things though- you're supposed to be able to produce your permit on demand when asked for it. And, it's a $300 ticket and escort out of the wilderness if you can't comply. If you do happen to run into a wilderness ranger in the field, he may or may not have radio contact to verify, so I would go ahead and get that second copy in order to avoid a citation that, whether it held up or not, would be more hassle than it's worth for what would otherwise amount to just a little extra ink up front.
Last edited by Phil on Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Phil » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:43 pm

Okay, there we go.

I would try to part ways at the junction instead of LYV in order to save yourself a 2 mile re-climb. They'll be fine on their own from there, so no worries on that account.

As per Balzaccom's original suggestion, I would either depart the JMT just past Sunrise HSC and either go over to Echo Creek and up to Echo Lake, or leave the trail between Columbia Finger/ just south of Cathedral Pass with the same destination. Exit the same way you went in, or follow the drainage back down toward the pass and pick the JMT back up there. No big deal in navigation, just a matter of a little advance recon for the easiest route. Check your topo ahead of time to get a sense of things, but it should become obvious to you when you're standing there.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 896
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby CGSteve » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:38 pm

Thanks for the help, Phil & balzaccom!
CGSteve
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:04 pm
Location: Madera, CA

Re: September Hike Questions

Postby Duane » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:56 pm

I had a surprising encounter several years ago on the last day of my Rae Lakes loop backpack in Kings Canyon.
Not a bear; a rather _insistent_ elk.
I was cooking my breakfast, heard a rustling through the bushes, and looked up to see an elk walk over and stick its snout right into my pot filled with cooking oatmeal.
"I'm sitting right here!" I said, more unnerved than angry. It was completely unafraid of me.
It hung around while I packed up my stuff and followed me down the trail for a few minutes before turning away.

Edited to add: I notified a ranger at the kiosk, and he said he'd deal with it. But how do you deal with an encounter like that?
Duane
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:10 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests