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Extra help planning my Sierra trip
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Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
Extra help planning my Sierra trip on 11/24/2010 09:21:31 MST Print View

Hey all, this Spring I'll have my Associates degree and want to do some more backpacking before I join the Coast Guard. I'm planning on getting to the Yosemite area in mid-August to start the JMT. Living in Florida, the elevation might hit me hard, so I'm hoping to find a lower elevation hike in Yosemite somewhere, around 50 miles, to do before I start the JMT. Then after the JMT I wouldn't mind having another 50-100 mile trip somewhere.
I know this is vague, but I'd just like to hear everyone's favorite trips around the JMT that aren't too hard to get to and from without my own car (hitching, public transport, cheap shuttles). Just trying to get the most of this trip before I enlist, rendering me unable to take extended trips for at least the following 4 years.
Ideally I would take the SHR back to Yosemite, but I'm not terribly confident in my off-trail navigation.
I'll have 4-5 weeks to work with, expecting 2-3 of those to be on the JMT.
What other Yosemite and Inyo area trails would you recommend? Or are there perhaps any trails that intersect the JMT I could hop on for a little bit to see even more of the Sierra?

Edited by dbriggs9 on 11/24/2010 10:40:53 MST.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
TRT on 11/24/2010 10:09:34 MST Print View

Anyone have experience in getting from the Tahoe Rim Trail to Yosemite?

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Extra help planning my Sierra trip on 11/24/2010 10:29:16 MST Print View

You could resupply in Whitney Portal then take the High Sierra Trail west to Giant Forest, which would add ~70 miles to your trip. The HST ends on top of Mt Whitney, so you could just keep hiking once you're finished with the JMT.

If you want to get a taste of the Sierra High Route, there are a number of places on the JMT where you can get on short sections of the SHR, then return to the JMT. For instance, you can take the SHR up to Dusy Basin from LeConte Canyon, then meet back up with the JMT a day later at Palisade Lakes.

Can't comment on public transportation, but you can always post an ad on Craigslist. You can often get a ride for pretty cheap that way.

(Conductor) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Extra help planning my Sierra trip on 11/24/2010 15:22:15 MST Print View

Dan, Have you considered continuing your hike on the PCT? You could continue either North to Sonora Pass (about 75 miles) or South to Kennedy Meadows (about 65 miles).
On your second question, If you ended the TRT at South Lake Tahoe, there are a lot of casino shuttles that would take you to the Reno airport. At the Reno airport, you could grab the ESTA bus down to Lee Vining and then take YARTS over to Yosemite.
I'm sure there are other options on the West side of the Sierra.
I suppose your asking about the TRT for some moderate altitude exposure before the JMT. Another option might be to do the 66 miles from Donner Pass (I-80) to Echo Lake on the PCT (which shares the TRT from a little North of Barker Pass Southward). This would put you at South Lake Tahoe.
Lastly, even though August is far away, I live in Reno if there is anything I can do to help you, let me know.

drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
trip ideas on 11/25/2010 12:21:30 MST Print View

here are a couple of ideas that come to my mind for side trips on the jmt and a couple of hot spots on the way.

1. iva bell hot springs is just off of the jmt and is really quite nice after a couple of days hiking. it is just south of reds meadow in fish creek. the jmt stays high on a ridge and the hot spring is in the canyon below,...the trails meet up a couple of miles later so you could hop back on the jmt. you could go up to puple lake so u dont miss lake virginia!

2. just after lake edison there is a side trail that heads up into the seven gables lakes that is awesome. you could spend a night or two up there day hiking the bear lakes and going up to feather pass. for after your jmt trip it will be getting pretty cold in the sierras i would bring a warmer bag or more insulating layers as you get closer to oct.

4. once you hit the kings canyon northern border there is not much in the way of resupply unless you want to get off the trail and go into bishop or maybe at south lake they might have some food options but i am not aware of any. so you might just have to stay on the trail if you don't resupply after muir trail ranch. it is epic all the way to whitney from Kings Canyon!

5. trips after jmt would seem to be continue on south on pct or do the HSR. the sierra high route is pretty taxing and i wouldnt recommend it if your off trail experience isnt in order. here is a video of andrew skurka and buzz doing the SHR on you tube

hope this helps.


ps. darwin bench in the evolution valley is an awesome campsite if it works out with you're itin.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Extra help planning my Sierra trip on 11/25/2010 13:38:37 MST Print View

With regards to ESTA, just make sure you pay attention to the days and times of the shuttle as it does NOT run every day. A private shuttle I took from Reno to Lee Vining took about 3 1/2 hours.

I spent a night in Lee Vining and recommend the Lake View Lodge. The Yosemite bus picks up right at the door and a decent though small grocery store is next door.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
Thanks everyone on 11/25/2010 14:49:45 MST Print View

Wow, thanks for all the replies.

James, I have thought about continuing on the PCT. I haven't set anything in stone yet, and I'm sure I'll change my mind a thousand more times, but that does seem like a very good idea-probably the easiest option.

Drew, thanks for all the advise. Are all those side trips in the backcountry? I'd love to travel backcountry, but to be honest I have never really been off trail. How hard is getting point to point? I feel trapped by my lack of navigational experience. I'd really like to just do the HSR more than anything, but don't trust my ability to go very far off trail, especially solo. Same goes for the PNT and Great Divide Trail...I'd love to do them, but haven't really had much experience reading topo maps.
With a little map studying and preparation do you suppose I could take to the backcountry Sierra, even if it is for a short jaunt down to Dusy Basin or one the spots you mentioned? Or would you not recommend heading off trail without much prior experience? Also, you said it starts to get cold around October. My dates are extremely flexible, I have from June-October to do this trip. I'm just torn between going in July for ample water supply and the flowers (and putting up with the mosquitos), or going mid-late August to mid-late September to avoid the crowds a little.

Right now I'm liking the sounds of flying into Reno, taking a shuttle to Tahoe Meadows, and hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail. Then I would take a shuttle back to Reno where I could catch a bus to Yosemite to start the JMT; hopefully take my time and do some side trips, reach the summit of Whitney and continue on the High Sierra Trail.
Anyone see any problems with this plan logistically?
Not sure yet where to fly out of to get back home to Florida, or how I would get to the airport from Crescent Meadow.

I am, however, open to hearing more suggestions, as this is definitely not set. Just trying do some great backpacking out west. The JMT is the only thing I'm set on doing. I'm willing to spend 6 weeks out there and expect about 3 weeks of those to be on the JMT and HST.

Edited by dbriggs9 on 11/25/2010 14:51:18 MST.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Sierras on 11/25/2010 15:31:22 MST Print View

Dan, I second the motion of either the High Sierra Route or, (if your comfortable with cross-country hiking), the Sierra High Route is 'hands-down' the best hike I have done in the Sierras. You could easily incorporate some of the SHR into the JMT. Congrats on the AA, and good luck in the Coast Guard.

drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
suggestions on 11/25/2010 22:47:17 MST Print View

i would personally go into the sierra in august through september. but that is a personal choice. i have never found it to be hard to find water even in sep. in july however sometimes there has been too much water.

as for going off trail into seven gables lakes...if you get a 7.5 minute quad (map) of the area you are trying to go off trail then it becomes easier to navigate and find landmarks. you would be following a creek which i use to help me stay on course and then check the map regularly looking for small lakes and other streams that may intersect the main creek. if you get confused just turn around and follow the creek back to where you started from. however off trail travel is ALOT slower than when you are hiking on a trail. so dont expect to get very far. it is definitely an experience to be had. but start off with something very easy like following a creek to a basin and back to the trail. dusy basin is awesome but it is on a trail and is a 2000+ ft climb from the valley floor. seven gables is 1000+ to the basin. but definitely get good maps, and have a general sense of direction. if you have not worked with maps before i would read up on some basics.

as for summiting whitney and then heading for cresent meadow...were u going to resupply or just keep hiking. that is a lot of miles to go without a resupply. you may need to head into lone pine to resupply. but be aware the descent into whitney portal from the top of whitney is like 8000 ft down and then you would go 8000 ft up, but you are young so im sure you could do it !)

there is also a great peak to climb near the jmt and seven gables and it is called oddly enough seven gables peak. it is class 2 and you can walk up to the top. if you haven't got this book on the sierra then this is a great resource that has a crap load of helpful info.

Ryan Commons
(RyanCommons) - F

Locale: Bay Area, California
Mt. Shasta & JMT on 11/28/2010 00:47:04 MST Print View

My two favorite trips in CALIFORNIA are the JMT and climbing Mt. Shasta. Here is a video of the whole climb on shasta if you want to see what it is like:
That is about 5 hours north of Yosemite.

This video will give some info and pictures of the JMT in the fall. I was out in October and never had any problems with finding water. I can't think of a stretch where I did not encounter water for more than 2 miles.

Ryan Commons

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Transportation at end of JMT on 11/28/2010 16:00:37 MST Print View

From lone Pine you can go north to Reno or South to LA, LAX via public transportation.
When I arrived at Lee Vining on the evening bus from Yosemite, there were no vacancies. I spent the night in the brush. Caught the bus to Reno next day.

A nice loop in Yosemite. from Tuolumne, Glan Aulin, down the Grand Canyon, up Rogers Canyon, back to the pxt to Tulomune. Saw very few others after Glen Aulin.
Tolumne back to Little Yosemite Valley via Lyell Canyon or Vogelsang pass. Bernice Lake is a great spot. No one else there, early August!
It is almost all down hill back to Yosemite valley.

Edited by rambler on 11/30/2010 11:46:06 MST.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
thank you on 11/30/2010 07:53:06 MST Print View

Thanks guys so much. You all are tons of help, I really appreciate it.