I’m hoping the hivemind of BPL can help me short-cut some the research process, narrow things down a bit as it were, as I’m moving in the next month and time-crunched and while mid-September 3 months off, I know permits, if required, can go much earlier than that.
Here are the parameters:
Location: Anywhere West of Denver (approximately)
Timeline:: Sept 17-26. I’ll be flying in from one of the NYC airports, and based on flight times and distance from the aiport to the trailhead, I hope to have 6-7 guaranteed days of hiking, with the potential for a half-day or more at the beginning and end.
Hiking style: - I can comfortably hike (and enjoy) 20 miles a day in the Sierra Nevada, as I did last year on the TRT, where I averaged 23 miles/day.(high of 37) I’m a get-up-and-hike for 10-12 hours person, stopping when I feel like to to smell the roses I am also a strong and happy climber so elevation gain does not put me off at all. In fact I love panoramic views and seek elevation out. So at least 100 miles but up to 120-130 if time is available, counting any side trips. Preferably as much of a loop as possible, or point to point, rather than out and back.
Transport: - Must be able to get there without a car, unless I can rent a car for $25/day(quite unlikely). Since I have a plane that I absolutely have to be on at the end of the trip, if the transit it too complicated or iffy, it’s probably not for me.
Below is what I’ve come up with so far. Critiques and advice welcome.
Last year I attempted the Tahoe Rim Trail, as it was a convenient airport, there’s affordable shuttles to and from Reno, and cheap accomadations in South lake Tahoe.
This year, if all else fails, I’ll alway go back and hike from SLT to Truckee, hitting the PCT and somes sections of the TRT I missed last year when my thru-hike was given up due to a severe early winter storm. Off the top of my head, I believe that gets me ~120 miles, and I could do side trips. Though it may be sacriligeous to say, I’m sort of bored with the stretch from Lake Aloha to Echo Chalet, as I day-hiked it or camped it 5 round trips now. I’d have to look at a map to perhaps route aroudn that stretch.
Another option I was looking at was something in Yosemite. I love Tuolumne Meadows and it’s depressing I haven’t seen it since August 4, 2009. The High Sierra Camp loop is nice, and while the camps are too close together, I’m sure I could cobble something together. I'd have to rent a Bearikade as all I have are an Ursack and BV 450, which are not legal and too probably too small, respectively, though that lends appeal to the HSC's and their bear boxes.
I'd either fly into Sacramento, taking greyhound to Merced and Yarts into the park, or flying into Mammoth Lakes and taking Yarts into the park. Sacramento has the advantage of better flight times, and the disadvantage of a more complicated trip to get to the park, not the least of which is spending midnight to 3:30am hanging out in the downtown Sacramento Greyhound station waiting for the 3:35am bus to Merced. Also not getting a proper sleeping on my first night, though I think I’d try for a spot in Curry Village or North or South Pines campground. I despise the backpackers camp and won’t use it.
Mammoth Lakes is closer but the flights from NYC are limited. I’d have to lose my first Saturday getting there at 6:30pm and leave the following Saturday, as the only return flight is an overnight that gets in at 5:45am, and I don’t really want to go straight off to work after showering Monday morning. So then I’d only have 4 full days of hiking and two partial days.
The Grand Canyon also intrigues, as I’ve done a 3 day/2 night down Bright Angel(?) to cottonwood, to the bottom, and then back up on the 3rd day. A rim to rim with time to explore would be excellent. It’s just getting from Phoenix of Flagstaff to the South rim that I looked into last year and ultimately decided it was easier and cheaper to go to Tahoe. I see that it’s about a 65 mile drive from Flagstaff to the South Rim so the walk must not be too much farther, right? Maybe I could walk the AZ Trail to the South Rim, do the Canyon Rim to Rim, and catch a shuttle back to Flagstaff that’d get me maybe not quite 100 miles, but leave time to explore. I'd be worried about the marking of the trail, as I'm not an expert pathfinder. I'll probably join the ATA so I can access the topo maps and more info, because even if I don't go, I don't mind donating to trail organizations. Anybody have any experience?
I’m not limiting myself to California at all, it’s just what I vaguely know.
Accesible PCT sections? Wonderland Trail? Rocky Mountains? Cascades? Wind Rivers? Glacier? New Mexico? Texas?
Any other suggestions that meet the above criteria. I only re-started backpacking between May 08 to August 09 in CA, so I’m not very savvy as to the options available to me.
I really appreciate any advice that can be offered.