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Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July

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Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 09:25AM
Greetings all!

I am finally getting out to Yosemite in July, and I am planning a 10-day backpacking route. I would appreciate this community's thoughts on my tentative itinerary. What would you do differently? What would you skip, and where would you linger (shorter mileage day, dayhikes, etc.)? Where would you camp? What would you add?

I know I'll have other questions -- many others, natch -- but we'll start with the rough plan. Thanks in advance for the advice!

SAT JUL 5. Fly to Fresno.

SUN JUL 6. Take train/bus to Yosemite Valley. Exlore valley floor. Reservation for tent cabin in Curry Village.

MON JUL 7. Take shuttle to Glacier Point. Hike back to valley via Panorama Trail, Nevada Fall, and Happy Isles. Reservation for tent cabin in Curry Village.

TUE JUL 8. Take hiker's shuttle bound for Tioga Pass. Begin backpack at Porcupine Creek TH. Hike to North Dome, top of Yosemite Fall, then turn north along Yosemite Creek. Camp near Yosemite Creek above junction of trail to El Capitan (~11 miles).

WED JUL 9. Continue up Yosemite Creek/Ten Lake trail beyond Tioga Pass Road to Ten Lakes Basin. Camp in Ten Lakes Basin (~13 miles).

THU JUL 10. Retrace path out of Ten Lakes Basin, heading toward White Wolf. Resupply? Or skip White Wolf? Begin descent into Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Camp near Morrison Creek (~14 miles).

FRI JUL 11. Descend into Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne via Pate Valley. Hike upstream toward Tuolumne Meadows. Camp in the canyon (~10 miles).

SAT JUL 12. Continue upstream in Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Camp between California Falls and Glen Aulin (~10 miles).

SUN JUL 13. Hike to Tuolumne Meadows. Resupply. Hike to Rafferty Creek Trail. Camp alomg Rafferty Creek (~12 miles).

MON JUL 14. Hike to Vogelsang. Follow Lewis Creek Trail toward Merced Lake. Camp before reaching Merced Lake (~9 miles).

TUE JUL 15. Follow Merced River through Echo Valley to Little Yosemite Valley. Camp near the Muir Trail/Clouds Rest junction or near Quarter Domes (~11 miles)

WED JUL 16. Dayhike to Clouds Rest. Explore Quarter Domes (~10 miles)

THU JUL 17. Early morning summit of Half Dome. Descend to Happy Isles via John Muir Trail. Reservation at Yosemite Lodge (~12 miles).

FRI JUL 18. Depart Yosemite via bus/trail/bus to San Francisco. Night in San Francisco.

SAT JUL 19. San Francisco.

SUN JUL 20. Fly home to Austin.

As you can tell from the descriptions, I will not be renting a car, so I will be able to go only where my feet and public transportation will take me.

Any thoughts on what I should do differently? Thanks, and I can't wait to hit the trail!





Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
www.jeffblaylock.com
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 10:22AM
Jeff,
Great trip.

A couple of things:

Tues July 8th - Go as far north along Yosemite Creek Trail as you can. It's pretty mellow and you can cover a lot of distance. There is camping almost everywhere along the trail and it is right on the creek so water is never a problem. The hike into Ten Lakes can be a bit taxing so if you have shaved off a few miles before heading to Ten Lakes that would be good. Be careful at he junction heading to the Yosemite Creek Campground. I recall it as being a bit mislabeled.

White Wolf may not have anything but soft drinks, beer, wine, and snack food available. You can buy a box lunch there though assuming it has opened for the season. Early July is iffy for White Wolf to be open but you should be able to carry all the food you need until Tuolumne Meadows where you can resupply for sure.

A bear canister is required. You can get five days of food into a Garcia easily and with some effort 10 days.

You must be pretty fit!





Old Dude
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 12:11PM
The hikers' shuttle may not be operating by that time. It's been a pretty good snow year, and the hikers' shuttle doesn't start running until several weeks after Tioga Pass opens. I was a little bit worried last year since that was part of my plans late June last Summer. I'd be sure to call a week ahead.

Taking a full-sized backpack up the cables at Half Dome isn't recommended. I left my pack at my campsite and hiked up with a small daypack.

As was said, bear canisters are required. Rental is only $5 at any Yosemite permit station for up to two weeks, although they require a deposit. You can also buy your own. I've got a Bear Vault BV400 which is a bit lighter than the Garcia 812 and has a bit more capacity. Keep the dimensions of the bear canister in mind when you select a backpack. One trick is that your first day/night's food doesn't have to go in the canister. They also recommend all waste (even used toilet paper) goes into the canister until you can find a place to dispose of it. You might be a little bit tight on food given that it all goes into the canister.

I was at the Clouds Rest/JMT junction. There are some pretty good sites just south of Clouds Rest Trail, but a little bit high up. The only problem is that the soil is a bit rocky and you might find it hard to stake a tent. This guy happened to pass through the area:





Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 01:10PM
y_p_w wrote:

> I was at the Clouds Rest/JMT junction. There are some pretty
> good sites just south of Clouds Rest Trail, but a little bit
> high up. The only problem is that the soil is a bit rocky and
> you might find it hard to stake a tent. This guy happened to
> pass through the area:
>
>
>
>

There are also rattlesnakes in that area - but if you can withstand Pate Valley, you can certainly manage here.

Just one thought - if it were me, I'd rather camp up about a mile east of there along the JMT, near the cascade and pool. Much prettier, and fewer people.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 03:08PM
Or if you are up in the Yosemite Creek or White Wolf area:



Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 08:25PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

Great bear photos. They're a little bigger than the ones we have in Big Bend.

>>White Wolf may not have anything but soft drinks, beer, wine, and snack food available. You can buy a box lunch there though assuming it has opened for the season. Early July is iffy for White Wolf to be open but you should be able to carry all the food you need until Tuolumne Meadows where you can resupply for sure.<<

Since I hadn't been able to find out much about White Wolf, I figured the sundries there were very limited, if it was even open. So I'll probably bypass it.

>>You must be pretty fit!<<

No Mike, just determined!

>>Taking a full-sized backpack up the cables at Half Dome isn't recommended.<<

Agreed. I'm taking a small daypack. Clouds Rest, too.

>>I'd rather camp up about a mile east of there along the JMT, near the cascade and pool.<<

Along Sunrise Creek?





Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
www.jeffblaylock.com
Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 21, 2008 08:50PM
jeffblaylock wrote:

> >>I'd rather camp up about a mile east of there along the JMT,
> near the cascade and pool.<<
>
> Along Sunrise Creek?

Maybe we're thinking of two different spots - when you say the JMT/Cloud's Rest junction, I am thinking of the place at the head of Little Yosemite Valley.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
February 22, 2008 04:03PM
Don't forget to reserve your wilderness permit.



Post Edited (02-22-08 16:04)



Old Dude
Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 10, 2008 10:49PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I've rerouted myself a bit based on feedback I've gotten and some further research. The revised plan, with some lingering questions, is:

JUL 5-7 - travel and dayhike starting from Glacier Point

TUE JUL 8 - begin at Porcupine Creek, hike to North Dome and the top of Yosemite Falls. Camp as far up the Yosemite Creek Trail as possible (goal: near the trail split where one fork goes to the campground and the other to White Wolf).

WED JUL 9 - hike toward White Wolf but bypass it to the east, finding a campsite near Morrison Creek partway down the trail to Pate Valley. If especially energetic, get to Pate Valley.

THU JUL 10 - hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, finding a campsite at around 5,600 feet elevation, roughly 2km east of Register Creek. QUESTION: Most of the trailguides I've read don't really discuss camping options between Pate Valley and just west of Glen Aulin. Will I find a suitable site in the area I'm aiming for?

FRI JUL 11 - continue hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, finding a campsite between California Falls and Glen Aulin.

SAT JUL 12 - finish hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, refueling, recharging batteries, and resupplying at Tuolumne Meadows. Continue up Lyell Canyon to the junction with the trail to Vogelsang and Ireland Lake and camp there. QUESTION: What are the odds of snagging a site at TM camp (or backpacker camp if there is one) on a Saturday if I decide refueling, recharging, and resupplying might take awhile?

SUN JUL 13 - hike up to Vogelsang, camp in its vicinity

MON JUL 14 - hike over the pass and take the Lewis Creek Trail past Merced Lake and camp in Echo Valley or near the junction of the Echo Creek and High Trails.

TUE JUL 15 - hike the Echo Creek Trail to Sunrise and camp at the Sunrise lakes.

WED JUL 16 - hike to Clouds Rest, set up what I expect will be a dry camp somewhere near the Quarter Domes. Dayhike down to LYV for water. QUESTION: Has anyone camped here? My thought process is, camp as high as possible to shorten the following morning's ascent of Half Dome, which brings me to

THU JUL 17 - summit Half Dome, hike down to Happy Isles and embrace the loving arms of a shower and a bed.

JUL 18-20 - travel via the City by the Bay

So I've essentially cut out the Ten Lakes Basin and rerouted my approach to Clouds Rest. I haven't re-added the mileage, so I'm guessing these changes lead to a net reduction of about 6-8 miles and eliminate a significant up and down. It also shifts the LONG day from Day 3 to Day 5. It also allows a little more time to make the long climb up the Grand Canyon.

Any additional guidance y'all have would be fantastic and much appreciated!





Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
www.jeffblaylock.com
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 11, 2008 02:46PM
>Pate Valley and just west of Glen Aulin. Will I find a suitable site

Yes, there are some nice sites in the section where the Tuolumne flows wide, slow and deep.

Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 11, 2008 08:48AM
Jeff, your itinerary sounds great; lots of places I have yet to get to, but reading about it makes me eager to get there. One possible suggestion, if on July 16 you're just hiking to Little Yosemite Valley for the water, is that there's a small spring along the Half Dome trail, which might save you a few miles of backtracking a trail you'll be on after Half Dome anyway.

It's a short distance (maybe 1/2 hour) up the HD trail from the junction of the John Muir and HD trails. Being a busy season, I'd definitely filter the water, or use a pen or whatever you use. The water tastes great, but with all the traffic on that trail in the summer it should be filtered. I had meant to set a GPS waypoint there so I could give better info as to its location, but didn't do it yet. The best I can describe is that once headed toward Half Dome past the junction, in a short while look for a big log on the left of the trail, situated parallel to the trail. Have a look behind the log and if it's the right one, there's the spring.

There are other springs and flows along that area of the trail, but I don't know about mid-July; they may or may not be dried up. If I get up there in late mid-May as planned, I'll get better directions to the spring and update them, though I'm sure there are folks here familiar with it.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 12, 2008 01:54PM
Jeff,
On Tues July 8 - Go to Indian Rock arch. Well worth the extra mile.

Wed July 9 - Good sites at Morrison Creek

Thur July 10 - Good sites after Muir Gorge. You will be ready to sleep on iron stairs after going over the gorge bypass.

Fri July 11 - Granite area on the north side of the trail sticks out into the flat after California Falls before Glen Aulin. Climb up about 50 feet or so and you will find good sites.

Sat July 12 - There is a backbackers camp ground at TM but it may be full so if you decide to go on to the Ireland Lake junction you will always find a spot there. I think that that is the first place you can camp on the Lyell trail as you have to be four miles from 120 before you can camp.

Sun July 13 - You could push on to Emeric Lake. Quite nice there. Camp on the granite dome between the lake and the Lyell trail. Cross country down to the trail in the morning.

Wed July 16 - If you can get there in a day try finding the spring at 37-44-58N, 119-30-51S. Good camping in the area of the spring and you will be alone.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 12, 2008 03:10PM
mrcondron wrote:

> You will be ready
> to sleep on iron stairs after going over the gorge bypass.

I don't remember it being all that much when I did it.

avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 12, 2008 05:47PM
I think the times I've done it it has been at the end of a long day in July with the temp at around 100 degrees with a heavy pack and carrying a disabled hiking buddy going up the canyon.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 12, 2008 10:16PM
mrcondron wrote:

> I think the times I've done it it has been at the end of a long
> day in July with the temp at around 100 degrees with a heavy
> pack and carrying a disabled hiking buddy going up the canyon.

I did it leading a group of 12 on a July 4th backpacking trip. The thing I remember most is seeing more rattle snakes than I'd seen in my entire life. Never saw a bear on that trip though.

Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 13, 2008 12:30PM
I just checked in on the park website for campground opening/closing dates. It says the estimated opening date for Tuolumne Meadows is July 15, several days after I pass through there. If the campground does not open until the 15th, does that mean the store will not open until then as well?





Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
www.jeffblaylock.com
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 13, 2008 01:57PM
jeffblaylock wrote:

> I just checked in on the park website for
> campground
> opening/closing dates
. It says the estimated opening date
> for Tuolumne Meadows is July 15, several days after I pass
> through there. If the campground does not open until the 15th,
> does that mean the store will not open until then as well?

It's approximate and highly dependent on when the road opens. The difficulty is in assessing how fast the snow is cleared from Tioga Pass. Every winter boulders are lodged in the snow, and the safety of the workers is paramount.

In June 27, 2006 I went through Tioga Pass from the East. Tioga Pass had opened on June 17. They were still setting up the store.

I think your best bet would be to find out if the store is already open when you arrive, and come with a second plan just in case you can't restock on supplies. I'm guessing it'll probably be open, but you can't count on it.

Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 13, 2008 12:33PM
eeek wrote:

> I did it leading a group of 12 on a July 4th backpacking trip.
> The thing I remember most is seeing more rattle snakes than I'd
> seen in my entire life. Never saw a bear on that trip though.
>

I'm used to rattlers, being from Texas. Here's one I encountered in Big Bend:







Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
www.jeffblaylock.com
avatar Re: Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July
March 15, 2008 07:46AM
Just watch out for the alligators when going through Pate Valley:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=RalwWz-TgxI&feature=related

[Came across the above Muppet Show clip a couple of days ago and thought that people might get a chuckle out of it. This seemed like a good thread to work it into the forum.]
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