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[Yosemite]

Adding an extra day on the permit?

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

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Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby alvawitting » Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:06 am

In August, I have a permit to hike from White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows, The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.
When I applied for my permit, they gave me exactly what I asked for, three days! I am now wondering if that is enough.

Last summer, we, my wife and 8 year old son did TM to YV via Fletcher Creek in three days. We did just fine, but by the time we got to the back packer's camp on the valley floor, we probably could not have done another inch (thank God for the ice cream stand near Happy Isles!)

First, do you think going in this direction, three days is enough? It's not that I wouldn't love to take more time and smell the flowers, it's just that bloody work thing getting in the way of having fun with the family!

Second, are there enough places to camp to spread out the trip to four easier days? Last summer I had a very hard time finding a good place to camp within several miles of Bunnell Rapids as the sun was setting. I can't help think that this years trip might be like that area. (the camp we finally found ended up being the best I have ever had!)

Third, what is the procedure for adding a day to the permit? Or, what if I start out trying to do it in three days but we can't, will that anger the Rangers?

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:06 am

I'm a little confused. You're posting in September that you have a permit in August. Since I know they don't give permits more than 5 months in advance, I know it's not August 2022 that you're talking about. Where did you get your time machine? I want one! (You might mean you got one in August, I realize, but ...)

You're going to be hiking uphill for a good 2/3 of the trip, but at least it's gradual. The campsites in the canyon will have changed a lot - falling trees, fire, etc rewrite the landscape. There are fewer spots than years past. But, it's late in the year and you'll likely have little competition. I wouldn't worry about it overmuch. If I were doing it that direction I would camp at the top of the drop into Pate - good sites at Morrison Creek with great views - at Register Creek, and at Waterwheel or Glen Aulin. Once you're past Glen Aulin there's no legal camping.

The main thing the rangers care about is that you leave on the date you're supposed to leave. There's no quota on the exit date. When you pick up the permit, you can mention that you're not sure about getting out on time so want to have an extra day, that will be no issue at all.
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Re: Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby balzaccom » Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:56 pm

I'm going to clarify AT's answer. What they care about is that you START your trip in the date specified. They allow you to end it earlier or later...
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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Re: Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:58 pm

Yep, I was thinking "leave on the backpacking trip" - but totally see how it could also be read as "leave the wilderness". Sheeze.
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Re: Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:42 am

I knew that. And you knew that. I just wasn't sure if the OP knew that. grin.
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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Re: Adding an extra day on the permit?

Postby Phil » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:06 am

Yes, as mentioned (I think :) ), the entry date is critical, the exit date is flexible. The one other consideration is that you should make sure that whatever word you leave as to your itinerary and possible timing with friends, family, in your car, etc, reflects the fact that you may extend your time out in order to avoid concern and unnecessary phone calls listing you as overdue. ie: "We're planning on being back by 'x' date, but only start worrying and summoning help on our behalf by 'y' date."

With an experienced 8 year old, while 3 days is likely adequate, 4 would be reasonably erring on the side of caution for planning purposes.

Suggested campsite itinerary:

Night-1: top of the switchbacks at Morrison Creek (or, push through to Night-2's location if all goes well...that descent is rough and takes time, though...think an extra few miles of your Fletcher Creek to Merced Lake descent experience, not quite as steep for the most part, but hotter.
Night-2: Pate Valley
Night-3: vicinity of Waterwheel/La Conte Falls
Night-4 (if necessary): backpacker's camp at Glen Aulin

All the above are great locations with plenty of sites and adequate water supplies. Watch for bears, particularly in Pate Valley, and keep an eye on your son around the falls, because there's a lot of what's called "slick rock", and it is, even when dry.

** I forgot to mention earlier that rattlesnakes are sometimes an issue for most of the lower part of the route. Again, Pate Valley...over Muir Gorge and just beyond...up to about Waterwheel, through the trees and rocks, but sometimes trailside and here and there. If you walk with poles, they do come in handy for the occasional flick out of the way. No particularly biggish deal, you may or may not see one or some, but you just have to watch where you're going and not reach or step over, under, or around where you can't see. They really aren't out to bite you, and are "more afraid of you than you are of them", but you just want to avoid scooping up objets de campsite and taking for granted that there's nothing under any of them. Bang around a little and walk heavily at your campsites, they'll leave. Again, just be sure the kid knows to be careful.

Have fun.
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