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10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a Route

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:32 pm
by daneandmalee
Hey guys!

The wife and I will be in Yosemite from 8/11-8/21 and have waited WAY to long to schedule our path.

It looks like we can still get a wilderness permit to enter at Tamarac Creek (but are open to another idea- it's just available for reservation and close to the big name spots).

We would like to hit Cloud's Rest and plan on hiking a good amount everyday, sleeping out of campsites and off the path.

Would anyone recommend a loop for us, and what other advise would you give (besides the obvious stuff on the NPS site...)

Thanks for your time!!

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:36 pm
by Phil
Do you have a good map already? Ten days is a long time, so there's plenty to see and do. What are the "big name spots" you have in mind?

When you say "first time", are you saying that it's your first time backpacking, period, or the first time in Yosemite and/or the Sierras?

A little more clarity on a few things will get you better advice all the way around.

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:00 pm
by AlmostThere
If you intend to spend 10 days backpacking you will each need a bear canister, and possibly a third, because there is a really hefty penalty for not being able to get all your food, toiletries and trash INSIDE the canisters.

You'll probably want to let us know what kind of experience you have. If none with backpacking as well as none with hiking at higher elevations? The first recommendation will be to STOP and do an overnight -- single night, not nine nights -- somewhere closer to home, to get your gear figured out. 10 days is WAY too long for a first backpack. Especially if you've never packed a bear canister in your life.

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:10 pm
by AlmostThere
The very best way to see those big name spots, by the way, is NOT backpacking, but day hiking. It's really very difficult to backpack some areas because due to the high usage of those big name spots, they have designated "no camping" zones where you are not allowed to camp, at all. You won't be able to camp anywhere but the designated campsites in Little Yosemite Valley until you are two miles beyond it, for example, so if your long route goes over Clouds Rest you will 1) be in very very populated areas, because lots of day hikers and people doing the John Muir Trail go through there 2) not be able to go down the hill very far before you are forced to go into the designated campsites (read: zoo) in LYV.

You can go for less populated areas by avoiding Yosemite Valley and Half Dome COMPLETELY. For example, a starting point on Tioga Road heading north, or a trailhead off Glacier Point Road heading south.

With ten days, I would start at Mono Meadow and go AWAY from Half Dome and Clouds Rest, over Red Peak Pass, and do a long loop around but not quite reaching all the way to the JMT.

You need a map of Yosemite - I recommend Tom Harrison maps.

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:01 pm
by Phil
Mono Meadow>Red Peak would be nice, but what about using Tamarack Flat, but going in the opposite direction over to Aspen Valley>White Wolf>Ten Lakes? Not a route many people think of, but with lots of perks, not the least of which is, it's not a route a lot of people think of.

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:46 am
by MadDiver
I think the big problem with Tamarack Flat would be getting back to Tamarack with the ridiculous shuttle schedule. However White Wolf Campground and Lukens Lake to Lukens Lake (at the moment) have spots open. You could do Ten Lakes from there as Phil mentioned, continue to the May Lake area, across Tioga Rd (hint: arrange a food drop at the Sunrise trailhead before starting) and now you get to see Cloud's Rest like you want and opened up the whole Sunrise/Cathedral/Vogelsang area. From there circle around how you wish, you can end either in the Valley or Tuolumne Meadows. Young Lakes also has availability, you could do a similar thing starting there, then past Glen Aulin and continue as above. I also think the Mono- Red Peak loop would be nice (something I really want to do myself...).

Other advice? Your wilderness permit allows you to stay in the backpackers camps in North Pines, White Wolf or TM the night before the permit date and the night you finish your trip, no reservation needed. Useful if arriving late and/or need to spot a car and take the shuttle somewhere or just to relax. More important: Extra battery and memory cards for the camera :)

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:18 am
by daneandmalee
These replies are amazing! Looking through the routes this evening. Thanks so much for all the advice!

To answer a couple quick questions: we've both backpacked before on 4-5 day trips, and have researched the bear canisters a lot. It's been several years for us but we're excited to get out and go- we are flying from Indiana and would rather spend the time getting to know ONE park than spending 2 night a piece in several locations.

The info about being able to camp at those sites the night before and after in invaluable thank you so much.

I'm sure I'll have a couple follow up questions about the routes tonight but this is just what I was looking for so far, thank you!

Re: 10 Day Wilderness Backpacking - First Time - Suggest a R

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:22 am
by AlmostThere
Also consider routes that leave the park. Ansel Adams Wilderness is equal in beauty and much less trafficked, aside from the JMT corridor. The Banner/Ritter/Thousand Island area used to be part of Yosemite but boundaries were redrawn.

Going out over high passes into the more remote places in Ansel Adams and returning via Isberg, emerging at last at Glacier Point for an ice cream bar before catching a shuttle on the tour bus to Curry for pizza, would be a really nice end.