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[Yosemite]

Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

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

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Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Darmak » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:00 am

Hi all,

We have recently been granted a Wilderness permit for 3 night, starting at Glacier Point and ending there too (I think.. it's a bit confusing). Looking for advice where to hike to get the most of it! We definitely want to do Clouds Rest but at this stage we dont know how to best plan this backpacking adventure :) my Fiance has done backpacking before, it will be my first time though. We are required to camp at LYV the first night. Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks
Daria
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:51 am

If your first night is LYV, that's dictating where you hike - down the trail, across Illilouette Creek, over the Panorama Trail to the top of Nevada Falls and onward to LYV. From there you could spend the second night two miles or more past LYV in either direction - toward Merced Lake, or toward Clouds Rest -- and return for the third night at LYV. Then either return to Glacier Point or go down the Mist trail to Happy Isles (the exit point is less critical than the entry point - you must enter where the permit dictates, on the date stated on the permit.) Or you could spend all three nights at LYV and day hike up to Merced Lake, or up to Clouds Rest, then exit.

If you are at LYV there are bear lockers. If you spend the night anywhere else, you will have to have bear canisters AND fit all trash food and hygiene items inside them at night.
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Darmak » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:07 am

Thanks again for your help. You made a very good point with regards to the bear boxes. I think we will just spend all three nights at the LYV campsite. As we have the wilderness permit, I presume we don't need to make a separate reservation for the LYV campsite?
Cheers
Daria
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:34 am

The campsites at LYV are all for backpackers - there is a pit toilet outhouse, designated sites with lockers, and two community fire rings. And none of them need reservations. It's busy, though. Sometimes noisy. You can't turn your back on your food or leave it anywhere at all as the bears become very good at sneaking up and snatching it. But you can't dispersal camp anywhere in that valley and for two miles beyond it, so it's where you base camp if you want to spend the night in that area.
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Phil » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:36 pm

Eh, you can certainly use LYV as somewhat of a basecamp, but I wouldn't let whether you need to carry a bear canister dictate what might otherwise be a far better trip for having embraced the idea of going beyond. There are lots of people in LYV, and it's not exactly the most pleasant environment. I would probably go up to LYV for your first night since that's required, then spend the second night on the north approach of Cloud's Rest (the Sunrise Lakes side, with tremendous views of Tenaya Canyon) or at least Sunrise Creek. For the last night I would go ahead and take the short hike from the JMT over to Echo Valley and either spend the night there or head back down the trail along the Merced River and find a nice site either around the footbridges at Bunnell Cascade or in Hidden Valley. Back to LYV is just a few short miles below that, and the last day it's easy to just hit the JMT and back up to Glacier Point. None of the daily distances for what I'm proposing are particularly long, but the climb up both CR and back up to GP are both maybe a little more rugged than you might want to take on as a day hike or at the end of things. Also, once you do get up to CR, you'll wish you had your gear so that you could spend the night.

And finally, if you want to avoid the climb back up to GP and the car at the end of the hike, leave your car in the Valley, take the shuttle bus up to the trailhead, and then have an easy final wilderness exit at Happy Isles.

You're coming a long way and spending a lot of money to make this trip, so you should maximize the quality of your time and environs, and the less time at LYV than is absolutely required to comply with your permit regulations is going to do just that. We that know it generally consider LYV as a sometimes necessary evil only.

You have a lot of time to plan this, and if you don't have a good map already, get one.
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Darmak » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:12 am

That's some great advice, thank you both. We would love to camp outside LYV but we are concerned with the bears. It would be just the two of us and we never camped in a bear country. I do know that black bears are not Grizzly but I'll be honest, just trying to imagine how it would feel to hear a big animal outside our tent at night is really scary. Especially knowing that we are by ourselves out there. I read about bear canisters and keeping your food and scented items away from the tent, but what about the clothes we will be wearing in the tent that will smell of fabric detergent, deodorant and possible sunscreen? Isn't it the same as keeping that deodorant/sunscreen in the tent?

How far from the tent should we keep the bear canister? I know its fairly unlikely that a bear will visit but then you read about people who say "you will not see a bear" while others say "I saw 5 bears in one day near LYV".

Thanks so much for your help!
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:36 am

In the areas you're traveling in, it's highly likely you will see a bear.

Bear cans should be placed 100 feet from the tent, not set on a cliff or near water. I usually find the crater left behind by a fallen tree and place it there. Don't tie anything to the can or wedge it in anything. That only gives the bear some leverage to wrestle with it. The goal is for the can to roll around but not roll off. If a bear can grab it or kick it away to toss it off a ledge to break it open on granite -- all things they have done before btw -- it increases risk that you lose your food. The only reason a bear can works is because the bear can't get its teeth around it or pick it up.

Don't worry about your clothes. Bears don't bother people unless the people get too close and spook them.
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Darmak » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:52 am

AlmostThere wrote:In the areas you're traveling in, it's highly likely you will see a bear.

Bear cans should be placed 100 feet from the tent, not set on a cliff or near water. I usually find the crater left behind by a fallen tree and place it there. Don't tie anything to the can or wedge it in anything. That only gives the bear some leverage to wrestle with it. The goal is for the can to roll around but not roll off. If a bear can grab it or kick it away to toss it off a ledge to break it open on granite -- all things they have done before btw -- it increases risk that you lose your food. The only reason a bear can works is because the bear can't get its teeth around it or pick it up.

Don't worry about your clothes. Bears don't bother people unless the people get too close and spook them.


Thanks for the tips, I did not realise that you're not supposed to tie the bear cans into anything. I thought the cans were supposed to hang off a tree! I did hear about bears throwing the cans of the cliffs though in this new podcast about your Yosemite called LittleYoPod.

It's good to know That it's highly likely that will see a bear! I wish I wasn't afraid of waking up in the middle of the night to bear noises outside our tent. It's almost like being scared of being scared, as opposed to being scared of bears!

Once again thank you for all the super helpful advice!
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:08 am

Bear cans came about because people used to hang food in bags from high branches on trees. The bears figured out how to get the food so that hanging trick is now illegal in Yosemite. And since cans are not going to survive a drop onto granite, that's a bad idea anyway. You leave it on the ground, the bear rolls it around, the bear doesn't get in and they leave. A lot of the bears have tried enough and failed that they'll walk right by the cans, play with any dishes you might leave sitting around, and move on to the next campsite.

Make sure the lid on the can is fully latched, tho. That's another mistake people often make.

Bears are actually really quiet, walking around. You'll only hear them if they play with something that makes a noise, or just happen to wake up and get up to pee. And that's ok too, since they'll probably leave when they hear the zipper.
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Re: Got a wilderness permit 3 nights

Postby Phil » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:24 pm

AT and I have probably logged 100s of bear encounters of one kind or another over the years, some close and a little sketchy, but most no different than seeing any other kind of animal in the wild, from deer to squirrels. It's just the food they're after. Sure, they can get aggressive about it if you don't store you food correctly, but in terms of where along your route you'll most likely run into the most aggressive, it's LYV itself. "Aggression" has to be taken in context though: they're not going to attack you, but they tend to be pushy about it when they want something and you give them the opportunity to get at your stuff, especially if they're "habituated". And LYV being what it is, and too many of the people there being who they are, with what they think flies, that's exactly what you have. That area is really busy, but the further you go out, the more in-tune the backpackers are to proper food storage, and therefore, the less aggressive the bears are (and actually more afraid of you by nature than you need to be of them).

Do it right, follow the rules and protocols, maybe see them or have them poke about a bit, but you have nothing to worry about at all. It's actually kind of exhilarating. Your clothes, menstrual cycle, clean cookware, the rock you spilled a little olive oil on....nothing. It's worth so much more for you and your fiancee to carry a can, use it right, and enjoy the freedom and experience of all that means to you than it is putting a moment's thought into bears.

Yep, all that, and we're still here talking to you...with all our limbs still attached and no great traumas to report.....And besides, statistically speaking, the vast majority of bear encounters with outcomes that weigh in the bear's favor are in campgrounds, not the wilderness.
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