The Moon is Waning Crescent (37% of Full)

Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts

Yosemite Valley

Advanced

Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 04, 2011 07:23AM
A couple years ago in Zion I ran into a forum friend I know from an RV forum. They are avid hikers (well maybe more so his wife) and she was complaining about the trails or lack there of, not even sure what her specific complaint was now. Anyway, I suggested just walking along the river, why do you need a trail? So she hiked from the near the narrows all along the river, not really sure how far, eventually catching the shuttle and came back after experiencing some rain and wonderful hike she said.

Point is, get off the trails in our national parks! If you aren't sure how to use a map, etc. Then follow an obvious landmark like a river. Have fun and explore!

Maybe I am preaching to the choir here, I dunno.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 11, 2011 10:19PM
I like to do some off-trail, x-country exploring. But I mostly don't go solo unless it's something I've done before. Preparation is the key. Learn how to use a compass, bring a whistle, carry a GPS, etc.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 12, 2011 01:05PM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Preparation is the key. Learn how to use a compass, bring a whistle, carry a GPS, etc.

And don't climb up something if you can't climb back down: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18875654
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 12, 2011 07:19PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Preparation is the key. Learn how to use a compass, bring a whistle, carry a GPS, etc.

And don't climb up something if you can't climb back down: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18875654

What is the average cost of a helicopter rescue?
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 13, 2011 05:51PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Preparation is the key. Learn how to use a compass, bring a whistle, carry a GPS, etc.

And don't climb up something if you can't climb back down: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18875654

Sometimes the trail does not go certain places for a reason:

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/09/07/2173517/hiker-dies-on-mount-pilchuck.html



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 13, 2011 08:27PM
Good reason to stop hiking around after dark if you're lost and can't see where you're going.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 04:42AM
If lost people behaved like rational people, that is. Unfortunately lost people lose their ability to make sound decisions pretty quickly.

Since I know people who can and have gotten lost ON trail, I'm pretty selective about who I take cross country hiking with me.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 12, 2011 12:02PM
As badly as I wanted to do the quarter domes on my recent Clouds Rest/Half Dome hike I was solo and it was my first time. Maybe next time...
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:55AM
Hey everyone...Do you think it's safer to go off trail with snow cover or not..the reason I ask is I took a Map/Compass class at REI and the instructor taught us an acronym 'S.C.O.P.E'

Size

Color

Orientation

Position

Elevation

seems to me that in snowy condtions I can forget about 'S' & 'C'...it's just I see Chick-on's family going up off trail in the winter, so I know it's doable, and really maybe it is safer, NO SNAKES, NO SCREE.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 10:31AM
With small enough amounts of snow the line of the trail can often be seen, cut logs from trailwork can be seen, etc. I remember hiking out of Leavitt Meadows a couple years ago w/ a poorly-forecasted near-foot of new snow, the line of the trail through the sagebrush was very plainly visible.

With enough snow everything's cross-country.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 02:54PM
Quote
ttilley
With small enough amounts of snow the line of the trail can often be seen

I hiked from the Mariposa Grove to Wawona with snow covering the trail. By paying attention I was able to see where the trail went from the missing lower branches on trees.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 05:37PM
Why would it be safer to go off trail with snow cover?

With significant snow cover you could get into trouble by busting thru snow bridges or poking thru snow next to downed trees.
Also with significant snow cover you'll have a hard time even getting to scree in Yosemite.
Snakes are not an issue. The Pacific Rattlesnake is not an aggressive snake. If they were you would hear of bites.
The only thing you ever hear is "I almost stepped on one". x1000

The comment w/r to not taking someone off trail that can't find up is funny. For someone like that the issue is the same...
you have to keep your eye on them all the time regardless of on trail or not.
I take the wifey off trail all the time. She follows and I know where she is all the time. I'll show her the map and explain
where we're going every so often. Worrying does you no good.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 06:34PM
Quote
chick-on
Snakes are not an issue. The Pacific Rattlesnake is not an aggressive snake. If they were you would hear of bites.
The only thing you ever hear is "I almost stepped on one". x1000

http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:19PM
With all due respect to that...

cmon.

How many bites in the Sierra? Find another one.

How many PCTers? How many bites?

I ain't biting. It's overblown.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:27PM
Quote
chick-on
With all due respect to that...

cmon.

How many bites in the Sierra? Find another one.

How many PCTers? How many bites?

I ain't biting. It's overblown.


It's undoubtedly the same guy that claimed to have been attacked by the black bear and hit by lightning.
(Chick-onKnowsWho-ly Yours)
The Marmots
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:30PM
Beyond the fact that I'm not buying it either...there's still the fact that the relevant issue is the relative risk of that versus snow-related hazards. How many people (mostly snowboarders, but still...) have drowned in tree wells in CA? Died in avalanches?

Here's a relatively recent snow bridge:

avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:45PM
Snow trumps snakes by an Avalanche. No contest.

Even though much is made of the Avalanche danger when plowing Tioga...
generally speaking a huge portion of the park has very little Av. danger.
Unless you start going at it from the east side.

IMO snow is the biggest issue when they open the road on a year like this
and people go in without enough experience and get in trouble.
People def. got lost this year... we just didn't hear about it much.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:31PM
The snakes in Yosemite have no interest in biting anyone. I've put my foot down less than a foot away from one several times and all they do is rattle. I've passed them sunning on the trail and all they've done is look at me. Didn't even bother to coil. Bites have been so rare in the park that you can't even get an answer on what to do if you are in fact bitten in the back country.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:11PM
Quote
mrcondron
I've put my foot down less than a foot away from one several times and all they do is rattle.

Coming down Snow Creek I put my foot down about an inch from the head of one curled up on the trail. He rattled. More recently, I wouldn't have even know this guy on San Jacinto was around if he hadn't rattled as I walked by:


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/trails/devils-slide/cr-dsc_1189.jpg.html
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:40PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chick-on
Snakes are not an issue. The Pacific Rattlesnake is not an aggressive snake. If they were you would hear of bites.
The only thing you ever hear is "I almost stepped on one". x1000

http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/

Something else was going on. How do you get a 13 year old boy to sit with arms dangling for more than two seconds?

Don't stick your hands or feet where you can't see them, don't pick 'em up, you're fine.

This is a pretty honest story.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 07:47PM
I can buy this one. Aside from the 'hey, watch this' (redneck's last words) quality of the story which is completely believable as to how one might get bit in the first place...I refuse to believe (as in the earlier story, and not in this case) that hospitals in Modesto (a pretty good sized city) are incapable of dealing w/ a bite from a common snake in the region. If they were then I'd start asking why they're allowed to stay open.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:35PM
I'll believe that PERHAPS the bozo got bit when trying to move the snake.

But this statement throws a huge question mark into it:
"I have been backpacking in Yosemite for 22 years and this is the first time I have even seen a rattlesnake."

I can't tell you how many snakes I've seen. But it's a lot. And all over the park.
I've been buzzed at least twice this year. The last time was a guy in the manzanita
on the way down to the trail from Starr King saddle. Didn't expect him there.
In this case I was actually trying to see if I could get him out of the Manz. and see how
pissed he would be and if he'd actually strike. After pissing with him for a couple minutes
and him just moving from one spot to the next I decided to forgo the experiment
and do the right thing and respect it.

Here's one from the trek to Balloon Doom:

https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/BalloonDome#5628848779908312050
(from this additional experiment I concluded eeek no lookie at my peeekchures)



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:46PM
Quote
chick-on
I'll believe that PERHAPS the bozo got bit when trying to move the snake.

But this statement throws a huge question mark into it:
"I have been backpacking in Yosemite for 22 years and this is the first time I have even seen a rattlesnake."

I can't tell you how many snakes I've seen. But it's a lot. And all over the park.

Truthfully...I've been backpacking in Yosemite for 20 years or so and never seen a rattler...in Yosemite. Seen plenty of them in the East Bay Parks, none in Yosemite, though I know they're there.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 08:56PM
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I've been backpacking in Yosemite for 20 years or so and never seen a rattler...in Yosemite. Seen plenty of them in the East Bay Parks, none in Yosemite, though I know they're there.

OK, I believe you. But I'm astounded.

I've seen them in these locations, many multiple times:
HH Switchbacks
Trail to Rancheria
Rancheria Proper
Rancheria Mtn.
Trail to Tiltill Valley
GCT - multiple locations b/t Return and Pate
Morrison Creek
Pate Valley
Illilouette Basin (below Starr King)
LYV
b/t LYV and Moraine Dome
Base Line Camp

Seen one skunk out there. And have a zillion sightings of The Old Dude.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 09:06PM
The locations you list are mostly lower-elevation. Most of my Yosemite backcountry nights have been higher. I've seen plentiful poison oak at two of the locations you mention (HH switchbacks and trail to Rancheria), and for what I see as 'most' Yosemite backpack trips I wouldn't list poison oak among the hazards.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 14, 2011 09:53PM
You won't find a snake above about 8K in elevation.
And what time o year you go also has a large factor.

O, also saw the group o 4 snakes on Hetch Hetchy Dome.
From this trip:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,35489
The were under an exfoliation layer. Heard them buzzing from about
100 ft. away ... I irritated them from the sound waves of my feets clomping
on the rock:


Probably forgetting other times too... wife usually yells at me to quit pissing around
whenever I run into one when she is around.

They're beautiful reptiles.



Picasa Pictures
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 03:06PM
They've been documented at 10-11,000 feet - they have been found on Sally Keyes peak, among other places. Fewer and farther between but they have been spotted pretty high.

I've also seen them all over the place - Pate, Hetch Hetchy, almost stepped on one at Pothole Dome. Heard them more than I've seen them. Tons of them along rivers in the rocks.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 11:38PM
Coming down 4 mile trail one time I came around a corner only to find two others in my group standing still in the middle of the trail watching a rattler slowly slither off the trail.

Another time going up the creek bed between Mt Brodrick and Liberty Cap I spotted a brightly colored striped snake. I'm not sure if it was a king or coral. Most likely the non-venomous king, but I decided I was close enough atop the log I was standing on and let him mosy along and out of sight before I continued.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2011 11:38PM by qumqats.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 17, 2011 05:13AM
You can be sure it was a king snake. There are no coral snakes here in Cali. The only venomous snakes are rattlers.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 17, 2011 09:37AM
Quote
AlmostThere
You can be sure it was a king snake. There are no coral snakes here in Cali. The only venomous snakes are rattlers.


Can't the California Mountain Coral be found at elevations above 15k?
Marmot
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 20, 2011 10:00AM
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
AlmostThere
You can be sure it was a king snake. There are no coral snakes here in Cali. The only venomous snakes are rattlers.


Can't the California Mountain Coral be found at elevations above 15k?
Marmot

You mean the winged ones? Sure! Grinning Devil
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 12:09AM
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I've been backpacking in Yosemite for 20 years or so and never seen a rattler...in Yosemite.

With a white cane? Try Pate Valley for a change.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 04:49PM
This year while descending the endless switchback down to Pate Valley from Rodgers Canyon I was kind of hoping to see one just to say I did. One very small skinny snake crossed my path very quickly about a foot in front of me during the descent but I'm certain it was not a rattlesnake. Might have been a juvenile but the head sure didn't look like any pit viper. Didn't see anything in Pate Valley either. To date, the only rattlesnake I've seen was one I ran over with my pick-up truck on a dirt road in Avery, CA back in 1974 around the 3,000' elevation. They do prefer the lower elevations.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 05:14PM
I haven't seen a rattler in Yosemite (seen them elsewhere in California), but I have definitely heard them rattling while hiking about in Yosemite. But then again, when I hear them rattle, I don't search them out. I try to leave them alone. I'm not into harassing any form of wildlife. I try as best as possible not to disturb any of the wildlife I see (big or small) while hiking in the wilderness.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 08:37PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I've been backpacking in Yosemite for 20 years or so and never seen a rattler...in Yosemite.

With a white cane? Try Pate Valley for a change.

Truthfully...I don't handle heat well at all. My lower-elevation trips in Yosemite have been in chillier conditions. Pate Valley...I'd like to go there, as I would other places in Yosemite. And I might...I lucked out on a trip in the Cache Creek Wilderness, finding a June weekend a couple years ago with sensibly cold weather (70s, instead of the normal 90s, at Clear Lake).
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 08:44PM
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I don't handle heat well at all.

Neither do I. And snakes like heat.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 15, 2011 10:02PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I don't handle heat well at all.

Neither do I. And snakes like heat.

Does that make me a snake? smiling smiley
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 11:44AM
...I stirred it up pretty good...

Seriously, I am going up next week solo, don't have a permit, gonna get up there early Thurs. am...

Q: what recommedations do you all have for my first off-trail trip? As I said I have not nailed down my permit yet so I'm pretty open, would rather not do a TH in the valley...
any help and guidance would be appreciated for this first-time, off-trailer.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 19, 2011 02:38PM
Quote
rroland
...I stirred it up pretty good...
Q: what recommedations do you all have for my first off-trail trip? As I said I have not nailed down my permit yet so I'm pretty open, would rather not do a TH in the valley...
any help and guidance would be appreciated for this first-time, off-trailer.

Grandpa James,
Go climb a mountain.

Cerealessly, why don't you go for Mt. Conness. Go to Young Lakes. Camp der.
Then dayhike around and come back to yur camp.
If you never been off trail at all ... maybe start slow. Don't go too crazy.
But if you do... don't forgets ur medicine.

Chick-on is looking at you!



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 01:23PM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Quote
eeek
Quote
ttilley
Truthfully...I don't handle heat well at all.

Neither do I. And snakes like heat.

Does that make me a snake? smiling smiley

Snakes like heat
You like heat
Therefore you are a snake?

F-
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 03:20PM
Quote
ttilley


Truthfully...I've been backpacking in Yosemite for 20 years or so and never seen a rattler...in Yosemite. Seen plenty of them in the East Bay Parks, none in Yosemite, though I know they're there.



Three feet of lazy rattler, would not move til I hammered on the granite with my pole (from a safe distance).

On the way down Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2011 03:21PM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 03:26PM
Quote
AlmostThere
On the way down Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Had to poke one with a stick on that trail. Nothing short of poking and prodding got him to move and the trail wasn't in a place where we could go off-trail to get around him.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 05:32PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
AlmostThere
On the way down Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Had to poke one with a stick on that trail. Nothing short of poking and prodding got him to move and the trail wasn't in a place where we could go off-trail to get around him.

Muir Gorge? There was a granite face to the right and a dropoff to the left... maybe it was the same snake, in the same place. Hmmm.

Also found a horse skeleton scattered down the switchbacks... that was an interesting trip.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 16, 2011 05:40PM
Quote
AlmostThere
Muir Gorge?

No, the water was too high to actually go in the gorge. It probably was on the trail above but it's been too long to remember exactly where.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 20, 2011 10:02AM
Quote
rroland
Hey everyone...Do you think it's safer to go off trail with snow cover or not..the reason I ask is I took a Map/Compass class at REI and the instructor taught us an acronym 'S.C.O.P.E'

Did they teach you how to use the clinometer on the compass?

Might be safe, might be avalanche territory.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 20, 2011 10:55PM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
rroland
Hey everyone...Do you think it's safer to go off trail with snow cover or not..the reason I ask is I took a Map/Compass class at REI and the instructor taught us an acronym 'S.C.O.P.E'

Did they teach you how to use the clinometer on the compass?

Might be safe, might be avalanche territory.

you mean this?

no just a silva compass
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 21, 2011 10:14AM
Quote
rroland
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
rroland
Hey everyone...Do you think it's safer to go off trail with snow cover or not..the reason I ask is I took a Map/Compass class at REI and the instructor taught us an acronym 'S.C.O.P.E'

Did they teach you how to use the clinometer on the compass?

Might be safe, might be avalanche territory.

you mean this?

no just a silva compass

Then it is probably safer to assume that going off trail on snow cover is not safe.
avatar Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 21, 2011 11:47AM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
rroland
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
rroland
Hey everyone...Do you think it's safer to go off trail with snow cover or not..the reason I ask is I took a Map/Compass class at REI and the instructor taught us an acronym 'S.C.O.P.E'

Did they teach you how to use the clinometer on the compass?

Might be safe, might be avalanche territory.

you mean this?

no just a silva compass

Then it is probably safer to assume that going off trail on snow cover is not safe.

Huh?

If one is worried about possible avalanche dangers, it doesn't matter if the person stays on a trail or goes off it. Avalanches don't discriminate between trail hikers or those hiking cross-country. What's important is to be able to recognize if one is entering a possible avalanche zone regardless if they're sticking to a trail or traveling cross-country.

One should never feel that it's safer to stay on a trail to avoid a possibility of an avalanche. That's a false sense of security. Many trails travel right through known avalanche zones. Being able to recognize that one is entering an avalanche zone (regardless of being on a trail or not) is key to understanding one's risks and making the appropriate decision based on those risks.

When I'm hiking cross-country in the snow, I'm far more concerned about breaking or spraining my leg through post-holing or breaking through a snow-bridge than I am about avalanches simply because I stay clear of any avalanche zone while on a trail or hiking cross-country.
Re: Don't be afraid to go off trail...
September 21, 2011 04:10PM
Quote
plawrence

Huh?

If one is worried about possible avalanche dangers, it doesn't matter if the person stays on a trail or goes off it. Avalanches don't discriminate between trail hikers or those hiking cross-country. What's important is to be able to recognize if one is entering a possible avalanche zone regardless if they're sticking to a trail or traveling cross-country.

One should never feel that it's safer to stay on a trail to avoid a possibility of an avalanche. That's a false sense of security. Many trails travel right through known avalanche zones. Being able to recognize that one is entering an avalanche zone (regardless of being on a trail or not) is key to understanding one's risks and making the appropriate decision based on those risks.

When I'm hiking cross-country in the snow, I'm far more concerned about breaking or spraining my leg through post-holing or breaking through a snow-bridge than I am about avalanches simply because I stay clear of any avalanche zone while on a trail or hiking cross-country.

How do you know you're on trail or off in the snow? You don't. Heck, you're not technically on the trail when you're on the snow - you're at least a foot or two off of it, straight up.

The question in itself was flawed - on trail or off, it's not about trails in winter. I wasn't saying it was safer on the trail - just that it isn't safe off trail either given the lack of information about the slope. Not that I am always good about clarity in any format.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login