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newbie questions for 5 days backpack

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

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newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby Spyros » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:18 pm

Hello everybody,

I personally don't like when in forums that I follow, i see first post of a new member full of questions... but... now I am one of them... :roll:
Me and my girlfriend booked a trip to California for beginning of June and we would love to visit Yosemite park.

My girlfriend and I come from the Netherlands and will visit California for 2 weeks in June.
We are both into active and slightly adventurous travels so we looked up some nice places to go to. Since it's also a family visit, we only have 5 days for a get-away-trip.

We really want to see some parts of the Yosemite Park and we'd love to go for a backpack. Looking up information is really confusing with all the permits here and there and where to camp-not to camp. Any information about places we can camp and permits would be highly appreciated.
We would like some information for an itinerary for 5 days.

NOTE: We will have a car until EveryGreen Lodges and from there we are open to go anywhere. We really like to see the Yosemite Valley, see some nice lakes and perhaps climb one of the mountains. Please let us know what we can expect to do in a 5 day travel.
We know for fact that we will start from Evergreen Lodge and then we would like to end up somewhere that we can take public transport to go back to San Jose.


Thank you in advance,
Spyros
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby balzaccom » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:30 pm

Hi Spyros

Check out our website (in my signature line) where you'll find tons of I formation about visiting Yosemite.

I would suggest a three day backpacking trip. That allows you two days to explore the non-wilderness but spectacular areas of Yosemite: Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and the giant Sequoias. Your backpacking permit will allow you to camp one night before and one night after your backpack trip...so once in the Valley, and once in Tuolumne Meadows.

As for an itinerary...start with hiking around Tuolumne Meadows: Pothole Dome, Gaylor Lakes, Elizabeth Lake, or Lyell Canyon.

The next day do a backpacking trip from the Meadows to Yosemite Valley via Cathedral Lakes, Rafferty Creek, or even down through Snow Creek.

Then spend the last night in the Valley, and explore the waterfalls, cliffs, and Meadows there.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby markskor » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:13 am

Welcome -
Early June may be a problem to backpack in Yosemite as this past season's snowfall was heavier than usual.
Here's the situation - The Valley at ~4,000 feet will be dry but crowded...worth a day's stay over but not much longer. The higher elevations, (7,000 feet and higher - where you want to be if backpacking), most probably will still hold lots of snow and the roads/access may still be closed...or not.

Anyway, here is my suggestion...watch the weather, road openings, and be flexible. IMHO, The best way to experience Yosemite is with a backpack sans car. Take the YARTS bus into the Valley, (or drive into the Valley and park your car - leave it). With a full backpack, ready to go, go immediately to the Permit office (In the Village near the big store...free shuttle buses will get you there) and ask for a "next day" wilderness permit. A wilderness permit is absolutely required if staying overnight in the Yosemite wilderness. There are strict quotas as to how many backpackers are allowed to enter each trailhead (TH) per day.

You have to understand the subtle nuances of getting wilderness permits for Yosemite.
60% of the (again, a strict daily quota applies to backpack overnight for all trailheads - THs) wilderness permits are designated as reservable. When you look on line at "permits available", what you are seeing are only those remaining "reserved" permit openings.
The other 40% of permits are designated as "Next Day". Now figure in all the reserved no shows, that means ~50% of the TH permits are readily available every day all summer long. You stand in line and get something good.
Ask the Ranger at the permit shack there for help..."What's open?"...they are there just for this. Look at the TOPO map. If the high country roads are still snowed in - Get a permit starting from a Valley TH. Ask for Merced Lake, or Half Dome, or Yosemite Falls, or Snow Creek, or? Get a permit somewhere. See Valley backpacker camp rules below(*). BTW, these are free.

In Yosemite's front-country, (IE - on roads) there are a few "backpacker only" designated camping sites which are set up as a "first night before a trip or one night after a hike", These are "no reservation needed" to stay over here...no cars are allowed (can park close by)...never fill up/ always room for anyone...but they do require that pesky wilderness permit (*) to stay here legally. In the Valley backpack camp, (behind the stables), the rangers come around daily to check permits - in TM not so much. You just walk in, self register there on site, ($6 pp a night) and bag a stretch of open ground - set up camp. They are a safe place to leave your gear set up for a day and you can go see the area.... large bear food lockers. They can get a bit crowded. There is another backpacker camp in Tuolumne too.

If 120 (Tioga Pass) is open, maybe take YARTS or hitch hike up to Tuolumne Meadows (God's country) - campground, store, and a grill. From Valley, the 2 hour Valley to TM YARTS bus leaves mornings (8:00 AM) or evening (5:00 PM). FYI, sigh - (While all other YARTS buses run daily, the Valley - TM bus runs only weekends in June up to the high country...FYI, runs daily July and August). Once up there, you can get a wilderness permit for one of the THs at the TM wilderness permit shack, stay over at that backpacker camp (behind the store), and take a few days to hike/walk down to the Valley.

You do need to carry a bear canister to stay overnight in the backcountry...do not buy as you can easily rent and return them at any permit office (you are there anyway) for $5 per trip.
Have fun!
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby Spyros » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:36 pm

Thank you both for your replies.
I already check a lot my self and I'm trying to find the best match.
Thanks again!
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby Phil » Wed May 01, 2019 4:54 am

I'm going to have to agree with Mark on this: You might have roads that are plowed and open, but that's not necessarily going to translate into passable trail conditions. You'll leave the road at the trailheads anywhere except out of the Valley and come into either, and/or snowy trails or crossing high water. I would pretty much limit your early season decision making process to examining your options along the north rim of the Valley, say above Yosemite Falls and North Dome. Also, bring a lot of mosquito repellent. Early June is just that, early. You have to remember that you're generally starting out above 8000 feet, then just going higher. What you might want isn't going to usually translate into what you can do without a lot of work, with a lot of equipment to do it safely and right. Search and rescue teams are generally quite busy early in the season with people that get in and just wander around aimlessly because they can't even see the trail. That'll be the reality, and you might as well not set yourselves up for failure or disappointment by not working with it from the start of your planning process.
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby Grzldvt » Wed May 08, 2019 2:17 am

Look at Hetch Hetchy to Ranchiera Falls. No snow, incredible scenery, monster wildflower blooms and waterfalls all over the place.
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby markskor » Wed May 08, 2019 2:53 am

Grzldvt wrote:Look at Hetch Hetchy to Ranchiera Falls. No snow, incredible scenery, monster wildflower blooms and waterfalls all over the place.

OP says he has no car...how does he get to HH TH?
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Re: newbie questions for 5 days backpack

Postby Grzldvt » Wed May 08, 2019 11:32 pm

markskor wrote:
Grzldvt wrote:Look at Hetch Hetchy to Ranchiera Falls. No snow, incredible scenery, monster wildflower blooms and waterfalls all over the place.

OP says he has no car...how does he get to HH TH?

Apparently reading and comprehension is not part of posting. :mrgreen: I completely missed that "no car" There is no public transportation to Hetch Hetchy.
The snow level is deep I doubt anything is going to be passable. T-Meadows to Glen Aulin might be ok, as I suspect enough people will travel the trail to make a path. I know the way and have hiked in this kind of snow depth and the trail was not too bad to follow, but then I had traveled it many, many times
Steve
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