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Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120

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Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 08, 2013 06:59AM
I have a Tuolumne campground reservation for next Sunday, July 14. My boys and I are driving up from LA on Saturday. My plan is to see stuff around Bishop and points north on Saturday, then camp or do dispersed camping on Saturday night off of 395/120 for Saturday night. We would get up early on Sunday to get to the Tuolumne campground to get our site.
My questions are:
What are some things to see between Bishop and 120?
Convict Lake?
Rock Creek Lake?

Regarding dispersed camping:
Where do I get a permit for an open flame(camp stove)?
I read this (http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,34026)
Do the campgrounds get filled?
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 08, 2013 09:34AM
Lots of things to see on the way north---just about every side road leads to a nice trailhead. But your kids might find the Sci Fi landscape of Mono Lake more interesting than anything else. And it is right on the way to 120...

You may not get a open campfire permit this year. Most of the National Forests have announced that they aren't allowing fires except in existing campground fire pits. You can get a permit for a camp stove ( which would allow dispersed camping with a stove) from any National Forest office ( you'll pass quite a few of these on your way north) or any Cal Fire (CDF) office--and you probably have one of those near your home. You can also get them on-line from CDF.

And yes, the campgrounds get filled, but it is easier to find a spot during the week, and earlier in the day. Friday evening is not the time to be looking for a campsite!



Balzaccom

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avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 08, 2013 10:43AM
Quote
balzaccom
But your kids might find the Sci Fi landscape of Mono Lake more interesting than anything else.

And Hot Creek too.
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 08, 2013 07:49PM
online fire permit that can be printed out:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/passes-permits/?cid=fsbdev3_059516

Note that as of July 1, it is basically illegal to have a campfire outside of established formal campgrounds, such as dispersed.

You can use a stove, if you have a Ca Fire Permit.
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 09, 2013 07:33AM
Thanks for the link to the Ca Fire permit. I passed the test this morning.

We did Mono Lake two years ago; also did Bodie.
Hot Creek is a good idea. I haven't been there since I was a teenager.

My plan is to hit Bishop by 10 AM or so, have a pitstop. Then go exploring somewhere(Convict, Rock Creek, or further up above Mammoth). I will check out the campgrounds at 120 to see if they are full (Saturday afternoon, I expect that they would be.) If we don't find anything, we will do the dispersed camping thing. Never done it before, but hopefully be able to find somewhere.
avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 09, 2013 05:43PM
You might want to consider having your pitstop in Big Pine then heading up Hwy 168-East to the Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains.

.
avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 09, 2013 02:49PM
I second the vote for Hot Creek, my kids loved that! Great swimming hole!



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 11, 2013 12:34PM
Quote
Jayabrams
I second the vote for Hot Creek, my kids loved that! Great swimming hole!

Swimming is no long allowed there.
Have you poked around Little Lakes Basin? You can keep it mellow and hit a bunch of lakes, or scoot up to Mono Pass (South) or Morgan Pass, (I'd go Mono for day trip)...

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.417679,-118.760012&t=t1&z=14

Crazy pretty area... Lotsa bang for hiking buck. Extremely popular, get to parking at end of road early...or you'll end up parking on road before end..

But I'd do what Plawrence said. Go see the Bristlecone Pines!!!! Take a walk through one of the groves...
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 11, 2013 06:37AM
I'm not familiar with Little Lakes Basin. Is that near Rock Creek Lake area?

I've always wanted to hit the Bristlecone Pines, but thought the altitude would be bad. We might hit that on our drive home on Tuesday, after being acclimated to the higher altitude in TM for a couple of days.
avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 12, 2013 01:10PM
Quote
snorkus

I've always wanted to hit the Bristlecone Pines, but thought the altitude would be bad. We might hit that on our drive home on Tuesday, after being acclimated to the higher altitude in TM for a couple of days.


If you're worried about acclimation at the Bristlecone Pine groves, have only a light lunch and then stop first at the Schulman Grove Visitor Center. Spend time looking at the exhibits and watching the video. Drink a 1/2 liter or two of water while you're there. Within 45 minutes to an hour, you ought to be acclimated enough to do the short nature trails that lead off from the Visitor Center.

(Note that Tioga Pass and Mosquito Flats are also at or near 10K feet in elevation)

.
Running late, so this will be quick.

If you are concerned about altitude at Bristlecone Pine forest walks, (just over 10,000') then don't go to Mosquito Flat trailhead, ~10,300' and hike a couple of hundred feet higher into the basin.

Google Little Lakes Basin (Or Valley) and you'll get a lot of info. It's lovely. The trail to Mono Pass (and beyond to the Recesses and further) branches relatively soon and climbs to the 12k+ pass. Great views. Summit Lake is lovely. I love the high country. Between 10-12k' I'm totally in happy zone. Above that, I feel the lack of air a bit more, but have been totally happy at 13+ many times now... First time on top of Whitney, yick. So I understand wanting to be careful with the altitude.

If you are concerned about 10k', I'm not too useful at lower elevation stuff on the east side, other than Mono Lake, the crater, and those can keep me happy a long time. Have you tried Devil's Postpile NM? Lots of neat things in that little valley. Lower altitude. Puts you closer to TM. NF campground there as well as disbursed camping further out.

Whatever you do, follow the pink bird's advice and enjoy yourself!
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 11, 2013 12:46PM
My concern about the altitude is more that I want to get acclimated. My boys and I did a great hike around Gaylor Lakes a couple of years ago. We've also done other hikes around and from Tuolumne Meadows.

Unfortunately, My 15 year old is still recovering from a broken ankle, so our hikes will be limited to somewhat flat terrain and 2-3 miles max.
So, maybe something in the 7.5-8k' range - Postpile area should work well? We basically live at sea level (1000'). Used to be we'd "follow the snow line" up during the season, so we'd start at 4000' and go up to 6000', then the next trip/weekend we'd do that again if we hadn't felt great, or do 4-7k. and as the snow melted and roads opened, we'd go higher and higher, in 1-2k' increments for the trailheads. Nowadays, our season never ends (winter is lovely, but extended family trips sometimes interfere), and we can drive up on a whim and start hiking at 10k' and keep chugging. It helps that we can make it up there most weekends...

We flew into Denver a year ago, rented a car and immediately drove to our friends' home at 10k' just outside of Breckenridge. Did a hike from their backyard to 11,000' first day. Next day started at 11k and went to 12k. Then did 3 14ers in a day (would have been 4 but for a thunder/lightning/hail storm). Might've been an extra day in there, but within the first 4 days we had that glorious dayhike. Then we took one of our friends up to Quandary Peak (14,265') on the last day we were there. Finished the hike, drove to the house (10 mins from trailhead), showered and drove to Denver and flew home that night. 10 years ago, that would have been very hard to do...20 years ago impossible, puking would have happened. Gads, I'm talking about time gaps that are longer than your son has been alive. Now I feel OLD.

But I digress...that stroll through the Bristlecones... it's really easy. It's a nature walk. Not a Yosemite-like trail. Apart from the altitude issue, better for a recovering ankle, I'd say...

Good luck to your son, and I wish him patience. I did a high-ankle sprain (in an urban environment, total brain-fade - I still blame the dog poop) last year, and I'm still not 100% - no "break" involved, can only imagine what your son went/is going through. Very frustrating, but you learn to love what you *can* do... and I'm having a little trouble not going overboard making up for lost time... I'm so happy to be back out there this season. Again, good luck to you all!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2013 04:23PM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 12, 2013 07:04AM
Quote
JustKeepWalking
no "break" involved, can only imagine what your son went/is going through
In March, his ankle was broken in three places playing baseball. A 14 year old, in Juniors baseball, slid past third base intentionally into my son. His foot was turned 90 degrees. The dirtiest play that anyone around had ever seen. Just last year about this time he did Half Dome, his first time.

So where is Little Lakes basin?
There are now a whole bunch of places along 395 that I need to do.
OMG, yick re: break. SOOO very sorry! Give him my best!

Little Lakes Basin is a short hike from the Mosquito Flat Trailhead at the end of Rock Creek Road, from Tom's Place on 395.

Google and you'll find a lot of good info.

Here's a start on a big area to whet your appetite: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5403323&width=full

SOOOOO much stuff from 395... Just takes us a tad too long to get there, so we have to plan and squeeze out more time... Have fun!
avatar Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 12, 2013 01:03PM
Quote
JustKeepWalking

We basically live at sea level (1000')

No, I basically live at sea level (7'). wink

(The baylands are basically an easy 10 minute walk from my house.)
Re: Questions on Stuff to see above Bishop and dispersed camping off of 120
July 17, 2013 06:53AM
We got back from our whirlwind trip up 395 and back last night.

We spent one night in Rock Creek area, East Fork campground. We hiked the Mosquito Flats area. This is definitely a return trip to explore some more around Little Lakes when my older son is healthier.

Went to TM on Sunday morning. Got a decent campsite, A67, a few mosquitoes around our site, but generally not a problem. We did a couple of flat hikes, one was Tenaya Lake to Olmstead Point.

Left TM yesterday and went to the Ancient Bristlecone Pines. Wow!!! What a drive. What views. That place was incredible. I was awestruck by everything up there. We did the Visitors Center and the Discovery Trail. I would love to go back sometime and see Methuselah.
I'm soooo glad to hear you went to the Bristlecone Pines! "Awestruck." Appropriate. They are definitely worth a few return visits. And White Mountain is definitely a great 14er to walk. Technical difficulty is low. It's all about the altitude. And the views!
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