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[Yosemite]

First Time Backpacker

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

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First Time Backpacker

Postby lindsf » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:59 pm

Hello!

I am currently planning a backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows to the valley. I reserved a wilderness permit leaving from Murphy Creek trailhead. Does anyone have any recommendations on the route I should take from Murphy Creek to Yosemite Valley? I plan to spend around 4 nights/5 days hiking. Any helpful tips/hints would be much appreciated!
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:24 pm

Hmmm. Murphy Creek trailhead leads to trails that basically run away from Yosemite Valley: Ten Lakes Basin, Tuolumne Meadows, and White Wolf or Glen Aulin.

To get to the Valley from there you need to hike down to the Sunrise trailhead below Tenaya Lake, and I don't think that's a legal use of that permit.

Maybe you could hike to May Lake, then across the highway to Snow Creek, then down to the valley that way...Not my choice for a top hike in Yosemite...
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:05 pm

You didn't say when your trip is. If it's in June, you'll want to reconsider your plan unless you plan to be prepared for snow travel and camping. That's if the road to the trailhead is even open.

July, less of an issue. But still may be an issue. There are many, many feet of snow and more is falling as I type.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby lindsf » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:27 pm

Thanks for the tips! Murphy creek was not my first choice but the only permit I could get.

My trip begins July 2nd.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:54 pm

So probably still some snow. And most definitely mosquitos in vast quantities.

If you go in the wilderness office and hang out til they give out unclaimed permits that were reserved and abandoned, you can probably get a trailhead pointing you in the direction you want to hike. It's free to do that.

You should make sure to read up on water crossings. water kills more people than anything else in Yosemite -- other than rocks. Waterways will be very high with snowmelt. Very, very dangerous.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby Phil » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:09 am

If there's snow or heavy runoff, Murphy Creek can be a little ugly, and there are going to be a few spots where water crossings are unavoidable. The valley up behind there along a big portion of the May Lake Trail is heavily shaded, so it tends to hold snow a little longer. With snow, lots of bridging and a little route finding at times. Without, lots of standing water and mosquitoes. Otherwise, beautiful area that's worth seeing all the way up to May Lake. However, you also have to remember that May Lake itself sits at close to 10,000 ft, so with all the snow we've had, with more to come, you're very likely going to be hiking/camping in the snow. In fact, weather dependent, May Lake may actually still be at least partially frozen over.

But, even if you're fine with weather and conditions, the single biggest issue you're having is that any time around the 4th of July holiday is going to be more heavily impacted than other times. You could definitely try for a walk up permit, but the best trick is to just avoid the park in the first place and save yourself from the madness and stupidity. You go to the full trailheads report: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf, and you'll see that, even with moving your time out just a few days, your trailhead options open up considerably. Murphy Creek > May Lake > Snow Creek > Valley is a nice route, but it also isn't necessarily the best route, perhaps even more so for a first timer. A good alternative is Porcupine Creek > Snow Creek > Valley...keeps you out of the snow for the most part, more bite sized for a beginner, still a beautiful little route with some stunning views and great campsites. You'll just want to make sure that camping restrictions because of bear activity aren't in-force for the Snow Creek area.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:38 pm

May Lake is just a bit over 9200...Not quite so bad as 10K.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby Phil » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:45 am

lol! No, not quite....I close my eyes, click my heels, try to imagine how horrible a couple degrees of temperature change would be, yet still freezing my butt off in the snow, realizing that I need to walk a 1/4 mile down hill to find some firewood, but ever thankful that I'm only at 9270 and not 10k where certain death awaits me, no doubt.
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Re: First Time Backpacker

Postby PSS » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:03 pm

I am actually planning the same trip. I have a permit leaving from Murphy Creek on July 1 and exiting at Happy Isles. Our plan: June 30 stay in the backpackers campground in the Valley. July 1, take backpackers bus to Murphy Creek trailhead, hike north to Glen Aulin, detour off to the waterfalls and then back to somewhere near Glen Aulin for the night. July 2, hike back to Tioga road, and south from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, past Cathedral Lakes, hopefully camping at one of the Sunrise Lakes (we will see how far we get). July 3, up and over Cloud's Rest, either camping somewhere off the summit or down by sunrise creek. July 4, JMT/Mist Trail back to Happy Isles. Prepped for mosquitoes with a head net, treated shirt and long pants, and for cold with a 20 degree quilt and lots of layers. First time in Yosemite and looking forward to it.
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