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[Yosemite]

2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

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

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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:13 pm

Well, more than bear aware--you need a bear canister, although you can rent those when you pick up your permit at the wilderness office. They will ask you what kind you have...and rent you one if you don't have one.

Mosquitoes can be fierce, usually at their worst a couple of weeks after the snow melts (wherever and at whatever elevation that is) and the get slowly but surely less numerous and aggressive as the summer goes on. That's why so many backpacking veterans love late August and September. We take bug headnets on all of our trips. They're really cheap, they weigh nothing, and when the bugs are bad, they make a HUGE difference.

You'll have a great time.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Phil » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:21 am

Nice and easy trails up there. Plenty of water along the entire route, so don't carry more than you need to. Should be no worries. The only caveat I can think of is that if you end up camping around Lehamite Creek, that area has lots of snags and burned last year, so don't set up the tent below any widow makers. Too many people forget to look up unless there's a cliff or waterfall involved. Do try to check out Snow Creek Falls if you get a chance. It's worth the extra effort.
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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby CottGator » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:45 pm

Thanks for the info. Bug headnets x 5!
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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby CottGator » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:45 pm

Thanks for the info. Bug headnets x 5!
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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby damu21 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:20 am

Justin-T wrote:
Gkjmas wrote:We are in moderate shape and would like to plan a leisurely hike...nothing too strenuous and no more than 5 miles per day for 3 days or about 15 miles total. We'd like to see some great scenery, maybe a waterfall and /or mountain lake.

Its hard to know what "moderate shape" is, but something to bear in mind is that a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip in Yosemite means you will be in the back-country at elevations mostly 8000' and higher. You don't say where you live, but if its closer to sea-level then you should try to fit in at least 1 day (preferably 2 or 3) of acclimation before you start the backpacking.

Part of a trip I did last summer (early July, wildflowers were excellent, creeks in good shape despite the drought) with my 16-yr old son (and our first backpacking) sounds like it fits your requirements pretty well - an out and back from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest via Sunrise Lakes. We actually continued from Clouds Rest and did another 2 nights, going up Half Dome and finishing at Happy Isles in the Valley. This is what I'm suggesting:

Day 1 - hike from Tenaya and camp near one of the Sunrise Lakes (i.e. not at the High Sierra Camp). We picked the middle one, truly a beautiful spot and we were the only ones there July 4th weekend; that's maybe 5 miles hiking, although the middle mile wouldn't be "leisurely" (but just take it slow and take in the amazing scenery).

Day 2 - hike to Clouds Rest, camping about a half mile short of the top (I can explain in more detail if you want). Its about 5 or 6 miles, but not difficult (minimal elevation gain but mostly gentle up and downs). After you've pitched your tent late afternoon you take a daypack and make the short (20 mins) hike up to the top of Clouds Rest and enjoy arguably the best view in the Park - 360 degrees including Half Dome and just about everything else! We went up twice, once before dinner and then later to catch the sunset, stayed up there for over an hour with the top entirely to ourselves. Truly breathtaking.

Day 3 - hike directly back to Tenaya. Its 7 miles, but you are losing almost 2,000 feet, your pack will be much lighter from all the food you've eaten and you will be fully acclimated to the elevation. Despite the distance this would be the easiest day's hiking (honestly).

Some key additional info you need is that there's no water available near the campsite below Clouds Rest, so you should fill up at one of the small ponds/creeks around the midpoint of the day 2 hike. We preceded our backpacking with an easy hike in the Valley (4,000') at Mirror Lake, then an 8-mile hike to North Dome (8000', great views at the end) with daypacks. Let me know if you want more info/specifics.


would you recommend this itinerary for late September?
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Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:57 am

That itinerary will work in late September, BUT, you have to be aware of, and prepared for, possible weather changes that time of year (shoulder season), that there's a lot of bear activity in that area, and, maybe even more so, that, because of the changes in shuttle schedules, you should make it a loop back to the Sunrise trailhead where you parked. If you exit at Happy Isles, you'll have a very hard time getting back to your car unless you can time it for a weekend when YARTS is running it's modified schedule back up Tioga Rd.

One last thing to consider is, Sunrise trailhead reservations for the entire month of September are booked solid. That means that you'll have to actually be physically present in order to have any chance at all of getting in on a walk-up permit. Therefore, it becomes a trip that you can hope for, but not that you can count on. You should always have alternate plans that you can shift to without missing a beat when going for a walk-up permit.

Everything that goes into a successful and safe trip is in the logistics of it.

If you don't have a good topo map, you need one immediately for planning purposes and to familiarize yourself with the trails and terrain, if not to understand the nuances of a topo map itself. If you're only relying on the one they gave you when you entered the park the last time you were there and stayed at Curry Village or the trail map online, you're doing yourself a big disservice.
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