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Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of hike?

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

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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby Phil » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:57 am

Yeah, the ONLY exceptions I've ever seen, either personally or anecdotally, have been in contiguous route transitions through separated trail systems in and around TM that might have arguably required at least the notion of some minor road travel in order to leave one trailhead and pick up the next, but NEVER an exception that allowed for an overnight in TM....hiking on beyond the restricted camping area is the price we've always accepted in the deal.

So yes, if anyone reading this thread (now or ever) has a differing opinion, and wants to test it out, you need to always remember that the wilderness ranger is the ultimate arbiter of your fate, and if it isn't clearly written and a logical route (that they know really well), or he/she thinks you're trying to pull a fast one, they're going to make it simple and cite you, and you can sort it out as to whose interpretation is the more correct in front of the magistrate.
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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby markskor » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:48 am

Work/ slaving away at the Tuolumne Store the last 7 summers...I see it all. Up there, for a few months anyway, things are totally out of control with no good solution seen as a there is a total lack of anyone enforcing the rules as well as no available manpower to do anything.

Agreed, something has to be done as it stands now the PCT hoards come through in mass (we call it the bubble) - especially in June / early July...they do whatever they want with their "We are PCT" attitude and complete impunity... (not so much the JMTers as they also exude a bit of a different attitude (not as entitled) too but spread their seasonal hike out a bit longer).

We have a local expression for it - The Tuolumne Vortex - usually they stay 3 days in the TM backpack camp...many hitch or YARTS down to the Valley just to see it - sans permit, and return the same way to continue on north. Nobody really checks anything unless they are really doing something egregious.
Thus written rules or not, the answer is yes.
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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby MNku » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:38 pm

balzaccom wrote:Here is the official language from the Wilderness Office in Yosemite:

"Continuous travel is a condition of a wilderness itinerary in which the user travels from a Yosemite National Park entry trailhead to the exit trailhead during the dates specified in the permit. Exiting the wilderness at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. In order to continue backpacking, you would need a new wilderness permit. There are two exceptions:
Crossing a road by means of traditional wilderness travel (by foot or with stock) in continuation of a wilderness itinerary
A one-night stop in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Campground as part of an ongoing and continuous long-distance hiking permit. Travel by vehicle or bus at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. There is no such exception for Yosemite Valley. Any travel through Yosemite Valley invalidates the permit."


Well thanks for tracking this info down. I didn't know I was stirring up such an issue!
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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby MNku » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:51 pm

FYI for the record -we aren't cheats! This all started by me losing out on the permit we wanted 10 days in a row and then me calling the Conservancy and asking if there was any legal way to see Cloud's Rest from Murphy Creek entry (my wife and I are not willing to do CR as a day hike- too old!).

I will call the Wilderness Ranger line once it opens in March to see if they think staying in TM Backpackers camp mid trip is just for JMT/ PCT types only and not for situations like ours. Thanks for all the thoughts though.
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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:52 pm

MNku wrote:
balzaccom wrote:Here is the official language from the Wilderness Office in Yosemite:

"Continuous travel is a condition of a wilderness itinerary in which the user travels from a Yosemite National Park entry trailhead to the exit trailhead during the dates specified in the permit. Exiting the wilderness at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. In order to continue backpacking, you would need a new wilderness permit. There are two exceptions:
Crossing a road by means of traditional wilderness travel (by foot or with stock) in continuation of a wilderness itinerary
A one-night stop in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Campground as part of an ongoing and continuous long-distance hiking permit. Travel by vehicle or bus at any time during a wilderness itinerary invalidates the wilderness permit. There is no such exception for Yosemite Valley. Any travel through Yosemite Valley invalidates the permit."


Well thanks for tracking this info down. I didn't know I was stirring up such an issue!


You really didn't - the only problem is the same problem as always happens. The rules get misunderstood, or convoluted, or inconsistently enforced. And when you ask any hiker a question, you'll get at least three opinions.

FWIW, I've spent a few nights in the backpacker camps at Tuolumne Meadows myself. Someone walked around checking permits each time. The night I spent at White Wolf backpacker camp, they did it at one in the morning - rousted a guy out of his tent when he failed to put his permit on the outside of it as the sign instructs... then the neighborhood habituated bear woke us up a few hours later huffing and grumbling around looking for snacks. Good times.
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Re: Can you stay at Tuolumne backpackers camp in middle of h

Postby Phil » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:11 pm

MNku wrote:Well thanks for tracking this info down. I didn't know I was stirring up such an issue!


The Compendium is the final word. So if it says no mid-trip stays, no matter what anyone else tells you or says to the contrary, that's it in terms of remaining fully legal. It's not that I/we think you're a "cheat", it's that it's potentially going to be construed as such, since it's an everyday of every season issue for the wilderness rangers.

As far as stirring up an issue goes, it's that we all give lots of advice that we can only give because we're familiar with things, including the rules. When we get a wrench in it, we have to sort it out or that advice becomes worthless, and it's anyone that trusted us that gets screwed for it, beyond any issues of our credibility as individuals, as well as the forum itself. Wilderness rangers are great and dedicated people, but they see it all, and they still have a duty to enforce laws....with absolutely no shortage of people trying to bend or break them.
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