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First time camping questions

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

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First time camping questions

Postby guitarguy12387 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:30 pm

Hello,

First off, forgive me if these questions have been covered alot.

I have been reading up as much as i can on camping in Yosemite and i am planning a 4 day wilderness camping trip the first week in June. I have a couple of questions.

1) Tent. Should i bring one? I would prefer not to, but if the mosquitos/weather might be bad, i don't want to be caught out there with no shelter either. Thoughts? Opinions?

2) I'm also looking for suggestions for a good route to take. I for sure would like to do the Half Dome hike. Other than that, i'd like to maybe do a little fishing. Breathtaking views. Away from other people. A little bit of everything... ya know? Anyone have any suggestions for anything like that? (if it matters, we're a couple of 21 year old guys in pretty good shape, so we'd like a fairly ambitious route so that we can see as much as possible)

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

EDIT: Oh, also, i'd like for our route to be a loop, if possible...
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Postby nathanwellsfry » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:45 pm

iv'e never done yosemite but from personal experience it's about time of year. Same for mosquitoes, but with protective clothes, deet, and coils i have never run into any serious problems.

If you dont' bring a tent at least bring a tarp and poncho, it might not be ideal but you don't want to be unprepaired half-way through a trip.


Try the main site for trail ratings if you already have something in mind. I think the waterfall hike should be ambitios enough fro you and if they are correct with an extra bit of wlaking at the top the crowds thin out nicely.
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Postby rusty6174 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:28 pm

I have some simple suggestions. Leave from somewhere in Tuolumne Meadow. Here's why. 1. The fishing is the best in the park. You'll catch little browns and brooks on an Adams stimulator all day. 2. Solitude is not hard to find here with a little effort. The only drawback is that Half Dome is a long way around on a loop. If you want ambititous, do Half Dome from Tuolumne and then back.
As far as a tent goes, the mosquitoes and weather are usuallly not very bad that time of year. You could do without a tent and just bring an emergency tarp (short showers are all that's possible). Be sure to bring deet and a net just in case, though.
Solitude and Half Dome do not mix. If you are set on doing Half Dome then you better get ready for crowds. I don't want to send the wrong message. Half Dome is awesome. You should do it. I would look at the crowds as a price to pay for the view.
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Postby guitarguy12387 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:49 pm

Cool! Thanks for the advice guys.

rusty, would you suggest going in at Cathedral lakes or Sunrise lakes?
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Postby guitarguy12387 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:06 pm

Would it be better possibly to just drive up to half dome and dedicate one day to that hike and then do a three day loop elsewhere? Just lookin for suggestions/opinions...
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Postby balzaccom » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:26 am

Half dome from Happy Isles is about 18 miles--that's the shortest version of that hike. Lots of people do it from there. Happy Isles is at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, and there is a shuttle bus that can take you right there.

And yes, if you do that, then you can take another three-day hike in a different location--maybe out of Tuolumne Meadows, which is much higher and has completely different scenery.
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Postby guitarguy12387 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:39 am

18 miles? According to the trail descriptions on the nps.gov website, its about 8 miles... is that what you meant? Or am i missing something...

I have to say... been doing some looking around and i think i'd be stupid NOT to do panorama trail to half dome. So i'm thinking of doing that for the first day and then spend the other three days doing a loop of some sort.
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Postby bill-e-g » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:02 pm

>stupid NOT to do panorama trail to half dome

I wouldn't call it stupid.

Happy to HD is about 14+ miles and 4800ft gain

GP to Happy Isles is about 20+ miles and 5600ft gain

Happy Isles is all downhill on the way back...

So there are pros and cons to both routes.

For your backpack trip for frist timer I'd go by Cathedral Lakes...
Or.. if you want to do a loop with Half Dome then try to get permit
for Sunrise TH... up Clouds over to HD back out Sunrise HSC and
out past Sunrise Lakes.
BUT... seriously ... just pick anything... it really doesn't matter if you
havent seen it before. Heck... even if you have!
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Postby balzaccom » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:26 pm

I was talking round trip---from Happy Isles to Half Dome and BACK.

BIll is right---the return trip is all downhill...although when you get to my age, downhill isn't necessarily easier!
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Postby travelster » Fri May 15, 2009 5:32 am

All of the campsites in the valley, upper and lower pines and north pines as well as camp 4 are all crowded, but have the best views ever. Now you can also go to White wolf which is a first come, first serve on the way to toulome meadows. We have never had a problem getting in there as we arrive Sunday morning. Also there are some drive to campsites like porcupine flats that are a lot more in the boonies that are not crowded. Then there is a secret campground near north pines. It is for backpackers and is never crowded. The problem with this one is you are only allowed to stay a day or two. No matter what, Yosemite is still my favorite camping place in all of California. I don't let the crowds bother me and fine many of them entertaining.
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Postby AlmostThere » Fri May 15, 2009 7:14 pm

The backpackers campgrounds are for the night before or the night after your backpacking trip. You must have a wilderness permit to stay there and it's five dollars a night. Backpacker campgrounds are available in the valley behind North Pines Campground, at Tuolumne Meadows and at Hetch Hetchy.

All reservable permits will be booked already, and have been for some time. You may be able to get a first come/first serve permit for your planned outing by showing up as early as possible the day before you want to start your hike. I once drove up and waited in line from 5:30 am to 7:30 when the wilderness office opened, and snagged the last permits for Half Dome/Little Yosemite Valley. It's the luck of the draw, if the person in front of you is getting permits for ten people, you may be SOL. Therefore, it's good to be flexible in itinerary. You might be studied up enough to get Merced Lake permit instead, or a Sunrise passthrough permit, from the same trailhead. You might also be able to snag a Glacier Point/Panorama Trail/Little Yosemite Valley permit. The office closest to the trailhead has priority - there are offices in Wawona, the valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and you can also get permits at the Hetch Hetchy gate.

You will NOT be able to camp anywhere before Little Yosemite Valley, and you will have to stay in the designated campground there. Dispersed camping can be had further out, like Merced Lake or along the trail past Half Dome/Clouds Rest. You cannot camp on Half Dome itself or on the trail to it.

Read the Yosemite website - there are a lot of rules, because they are fighting with bears that break into cars and steal food out of your campsite while you are cooking dinner. Get a map. Keep hitting the website for current conditions - Tioga Road may or may not be open by Memorial Day. The cables may or may not be up on Half Dome. They usually go up on Memorial Day weekend or slightly before. And plan to rent yourself a bear can and pack carefully to get all your food and hygeine product and trash into it.

Loop opportunities include the Hetch Hetchy area (Rancheria Falls, Tiltill, Lake Vernon and down through Beehive to the dam), the Buena Vista trail (several trailheads for this to make it a loop or a lollipop hike, probably gonna be lots of skeeters - doing the trail from Wawona or from Glacier Point road will be equally scenic), and a ton of options from Tioga Road which may or may not be open.
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