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Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out

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avatar Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 07:15AM
Tried doing it. Got up before 7 AM PST. Logged on to Recreation.gov using the same account I used last year to book campsites in the Pacific NW. Started trying as soon as I thought it was 7.

Kept on getting available spots in the Pines campgrounds for late June, but always showed up with message "Inventory is not available. Site cannot be booked." - right after clicked on "Book These Dates". This happened even when I refreshed and it showed the site I selected was still available. Now they're all reserved. Is there a secret to this?

Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 09:36AM
That's too bad, I don't know why it was not letting you book sites listed as available. A few years ago I'd have asked if you were using AOL for internet, but that seems unlikely now.

Did you try calling the number and seeing if you're getting the right information? I looked at the site for Upper Pines and it does show absolutely everything as 'reserved'. Usually I'd think there'd be a sporadic day here or there, at least for a while after it opened up. However, not having tried reservations for late June, July, or August, I don't know if your experience happens when it gets excessive.

I hope someone hasn't figured out some automated process, like they do with ebay bidding...I was a little worried about that happening. At least there are other campgrounds outside the valley that you may be able to use, if you don't find a solution.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 10:25AM
Longtime reader, first time poster. Also, tried for July 4th weekend this morning right at 7am. No luck. Called the Reservation Center just now to vent and they explained that camping for the entire Valley Floor was sold out by 7:10am. They said it is a function of simple supply and demand. There are several thousand people from all of over the world trying but only a few hundred campsites. She said next time to increase my chances I should pick an interior loop non-premium site and then try to get that. She said that she will spend the day fielding calls from those who have consipiracy theories, etc why everything books so quickly. She said over the years it has become more and more difficult because as demand has increased the park has slowly eliminated campsites as well. She said that they are under strict regulations, etc and everything is above board, etc (no one has preference, there are no tunnels in to the system, etc). Finally, she explained that this morning was the busiest of all of the reservation days for the entire year (June 15th is second busiest). We are disappointed but will now start working on alternate plans. Bummer.
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 10:29AM
I just noticed that availability started decreasing gradually, with fewer sites meeting my criteria for dates. I don't know if it was my web browser (Safari for Mac OSX) or if maybe my dates were conflicting with someone else viewing the same site on the same (or overlapping) dates who got there first. This was really frustrating.

What I'm thinking of doing is trying again next month for the July 15-Aug 14 slots. I started off trying some of the lower numbered campsites. Maybe it won't be as impacted if I try a higher number.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 01:31PM
July/August in the Valley? Why not go for something like Porcupine Flat?

Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 17, 2009 03:57PM
eeek wrote:

> July/August in the Valley? Why not go for something like
> Porcupine Flat?
>

In August, what are the chances of actually getting into one of the FCFS sites off Tioga Road, if I arrive on a Friday? I live in the bay area, so the earliest I could realistically arrive would be 10'ish. How about Thursday afternoon, any better?
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 17, 2009 04:21PM
cthenn wrote:

> In August, what are the chances of actually getting into one of
> the FCFS sites off Tioga Road, if I arrive on a Friday? I live
> in the bay area, so the earliest I could realistically arrive
> would be 10'ish. How about Thursday afternoon, any better?

Friday morning around 10 you'd have a very good chance. That's before the weekend crowd usually arrives and it's when people are leaving.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 17, 2009 06:12PM
eeek wrote:

> cthenn wrote:
>
> > In August, what are the chances of actually getting into one
> of
> > the FCFS sites off Tioga Road, if I arrive on a Friday? I
> live
> > in the bay area, so the earliest I could realistically arrive
> > would be 10'ish. How about Thursday afternoon, any better?
>
> Friday morning around 10 you'd have a very good chance. That's
> before the weekend crowd usually arrives and it's when people
> are leaving.

So what's the basic strategy? Come in and worst case head to Merced for a motel room and try again the next day?

I only say Merced because I know how booked the lodging around Yosemite can be during the summer months.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 17, 2009 06:29PM
y_p_w wrote:

> So what's the basic strategy? Come in and worst case head to
> Merced for a motel room and try again the next day?

Worst case go out the east side and camp in the woods east of Mammoth.

Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 18, 2009 05:07PM
eeek wrote:

> y_p_w wrote:
>
> > So what's the basic strategy? Come in and worst case head to
> > Merced for a motel room and try again the next day?
>
> Worst case go out the east side and camp in the woods east of
> Mammoth.
>

I know this is a Yosemite board, but another place I want to visit this summer is the Reds Meadow/Devil's Postpile area. I know there are like 5 or 6 small FCFS campgrounds in that valley, but how crowded do those get (if anyone knows)? Staying in Mammoth is another option, but I'd much prefer to camp if I can.



Post Edited (02-18-09 17:10)
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 17, 2009 07:16PM
y_p_w,

Don't know if this is of any help but when we were in the area in mid-June we used Miner's Inn in Mariposa as our motel for several Yosemite day hikes and they never seemed more than half full except for one night when a bus load of Italians showed up. People tend to gravitate to the Best Western and forget about Miner's Inn. I do have to qualify this by saying our stay did not include the weekend.

Jim
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 02:26PM
I stayed in Porcupine Flat in late July. It was very nice... I also have stayed in the valley in late July. It was horrible :p

Go for something in the higher elevation at that time of year smiling smiley





http://www.flickr.com/photos/dqniel/
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 02:32PM
dqniel wrote:

> I stayed in Porcupine Flat in late July. It was very nice...
> I also have stayed in the valley in late July. It was horrible

That's exactly how I feel. I spent one afternoon just reading a book while deer walked by me at Porcupine Flat.

> Go for something in the higher elevation at that time of year
> smiling smiley

Indeed.

Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 09:46PM
The secret to getting rezzies in the valley (especially during busy times) is to keep trying! People snap up huge blocks of days right at the "on sale" date, then discard them over the next few days as they finalize their vacation plans (it's only a $10 charge). Try this: each time this week you go on the internet, open a second window in your browser to Recreation.gov with your dates and search a few times each night. Also, multiple nights in the same site are hard to get- be willing to change sites each night- you can always ditch if you get multiple nights in one site later on (for $10!)
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 15, 2009 09:51PM
BTW Y.P.W.- I'm running Safari on a Mac and have good luck on the site. Yesterday I got 3 consecutive nights at U.P. during Spring Break; 2 times "no inventory", 3rd time was a charm.
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 16, 2009 07:59AM
There were some computer glitches yesterday with the system. Some sites were showing available when they weren't. DBL 3 showed available for hours for 7/5 for 7 nights yet whenever you clicked on it to buy it said "inventory unavailable." It was proabaly already sold out but the computer still showed available. Normally this system works pretty well, better than the old way of calling in for hours on the buy date, but campsites go incredibly fast right at 7a.m. this time of year. I was lucky on Jan. 15 to get a nice site in Lower Pines for early June.
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 16, 2009 08:37AM
That "inventory unavailable" message sounds like there definitely is some computer problem they're having. I've never seen the message in using the new reservation system.

No doubt summer reservations opening stresses the system to the maximum.

I don't use Macs, but doubt that the Mac is the issue; you could always inquire with their customer service as to whether there are issues with certain browsers. The worst time to find out is at 7AM on opening day.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 16, 2009 11:24AM
I guess some are asking why stay in the Valley? At least for this time I'd like to keep my car at the campsite and get around the valley by shuttle most of the time. I'd like nearby access to Curry Village.

I stayed at the Valley Backpackers' Campground behind North Pines a couple of years ago, including one Saturday night. I saw what life was like in the Pines campgrounds, and I didn't find it all that bad. I thought life was pretty good when I could just walk or take the shuttle from place to place.

Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 16, 2009 01:00PM
Early summer is when the meadows are green, the falls are large, the wildflowers are blooming...and they quit letting people have stinky campfires in the morning 8^). I've never camped there much past June 1, but we stayed at the Lodge in Late July-early August for a week, and I could get up at daybreak and see hardly anyone walking around the valley. Evenings were no different than at any other semi-busy time in spring or fall. Obviously if you head up to Vernal Fall bridge at 10AM, you're going to see that it's tourist season, but you can avoid those situations with some effort.

Plus, all the winter-closed trails are open...four mile, panorama, mist and muir, high country trails, Half Dome cables are up, and Glacier and Tioga roads. Bring a bike and ride the bus, and you don't have to worry so much about traffic.

Something I never realized until it was pointed out is that regardless of the season, there are only so many places to overnight in the Valley. So no matter when you're there, evenings and early mornings can be relatively uncrowded. Take away the construction people and vendor trucks, and it would be really quiet, but they're around in any season. Please, really, take them away...8^)

The campground may be another story, I don't know. Night partiers, generators, and people bringing their entire estate might spoil things, but that happens in spring too, with spring breaks.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 16, 2009 01:26PM
>>I guess some are asking why stay in the Valley?<<

One of my earliest recollections of the Valley (outside the natural splendor) was being dropped off in front of some eatery establishment(in or near the villiage) after hitching a ride in from Crane Flat. There I stood in my moth eaten Lifa shirt(a two layer jobber of wool and polypro -- still have it) and long hair that hadnt been washed or hardly brushed in a week, while folks glammed out sipping cocktails stared at me like I was some sort of animal speciman. Everywhere there were snappy looking folks, and I felt completely out of place, overwhelmed my the sheer masses that seemed out of sync with the surroundings(IMO). The Valley environment intimidates me, so other than using it as a way station to get to my intended destination, I usually avoided it due to my own insecurities.

B



Post Edited (02-16-09 13:31)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 07:46AM
Bee wrote:

< I felt completely out of place, overwhelmed my the sheer masses that <seemed out of sync with the surroundings(IMO).

I love the Valley and head there regularly, but I've had Bee's experience, too. During a recent winter trip I day-hiked up to Snow Creek and got back late. I was a bit tired and worn and forgot that I still had my headlamp on when I got on the bus. People looked at me like I was a bum walking into the Hilton. And, as Bee opined, they seemed completely oblivious to the beauty of their surroundings.

Being excited about what I'd seen that day (and wanting to share some of the excitement with someone) I tried to strike up a brief conversation with a park employee. I started by saying that he worked in a beautiful place, and he replied with a very unemotional "yeah".

I had similar experience the next day after hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls. I've come to the conclusion that most Valley visitors are completely out of touch with where they are; but that doesn't lessen my love for the Valley.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 11:20AM
sierranomad wrote:

> Bee wrote:
>
> < I felt completely out of place, overwhelmed my the sheer
> masses that <seemed out of sync with the surroundings(IMO).
>
> I love the Valley and head there regularly, but I've had Bee's
> experience, too. During a recent winter trip I day-hiked up to
> Snow Creek and got back late. I was a bit tired and worn and
> forgot that I still had my headlamp on when I got on the bus.
> People looked at me like I was a bum walking into the Hilton.
> And, as Bee opined, they seemed completely oblivious to the
> beauty of their surroundings.

There's nothing quite like wearing a full pack on the shuttle. I remember turning around and having my steel camp cup make noises. People did give me a wide berth.

> Being excited about what I'd seen that day (and wanting to
> share some of the excitement with someone) I tried to strike up
> a brief conversation with a park employee. I started by saying
> that he worked in a beautiful place, and he replied with a very
> unemotional "yeah".

Depends on the employee. Some of the park rangers look like they're pinching themselves every day.

> I had similar experience the next day after hiking to the top
> of Yosemite Falls. I've come to the conclusion that most Valley
> visitors are completely out of touch with where they are; but
> that doesn't lessen my love for the Valley.

I did that one winter day and headed back to the lodge for a beer. A few concession employees asked me where I'd been and they thought it was a nice trip.
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 01:31PM
y_p_w wrote:

> There's nothing quite like wearing a full pack on the shuttle.
> I remember turning around and having my steel camp cup make
> noises. People did give me a wide berth.

Having a pack with the rail of my view camera sticking out the back is even worse.

> Depends on the employee. Some of the park rangers look like
> they're pinching themselves every day.

People become rangers because of their love of the parks. DNC employees are another story and I'm not sure where they're digging them up these days.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 18, 2009 05:16PM
I camp in the Devils Postpile (WEST of Mammoth along the San Joaquin River) area at least twice a year. Our family has a reunion (20 to 30 people) at Minaret Falls or Pumice Flat each summer and we've always managed to fit everyone. The worst time to nab a camping spot is August just before school goes back into session. My favorite time is June as soon as the pass opens, you'll likely have an entire campground to yourself. I'll be there in June (by myself!) and again in late July (reunion) and maybe a third time in Sept. if I don't go back to Washington.

The beauty of the Postpile area is it is trail central. The JMT and PCT converge there and there are numerous side trails and things to see. And lots of fishing if you're into that sort of thing.
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 23, 2009 01:20PM
Vince wrote:

> I camp in the Devils Postpile (WEST of Mammoth along the San
> Joaquin River) area at least twice a year. Our family has a
> reunion (20 to 30 people) at Minaret Falls or Pumice Flat each
> summer and we've always managed to fit everyone. The worst time
> to nab a camping spot is August just before school goes back
> into session. My favorite time is June as soon as the pass
> opens, you'll likely have an entire campground to yourself.
> I'll be there in June (by myself!) and again in late July
> (reunion) and maybe a third time in Sept. if I don't go back to
> Washington.
>
> The beauty of the Postpile area is it is trail central. The JMT
> and PCT converge there and there are numerous side trails and
> things to see. And lots of fishing if you're into that sort of
> thing.

OK, so even if we head out on a Thursday in mid-July, we should still be OK for getting a spot?

How is June for hiking? I'm planning two long dayhikes, one to 1000 Island Lake/Garnet Lake, and the other is to the base of the Minarets and the three small lakes at their foot. I'm sure that area gets tons of snow, and I don't want to have a problem with that.
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 05:52PM
Nice to know that there are other alien species prowling the Valley.

eeek:>DNC employees are another story and I'm not sure where they're digging< them up these days.


What is "DNC" employee?

B
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 08:04PM
Bee wrote:

> What is "DNC" employee?

DNC stands for Delaware North Companies. They're a large hospitality management company similar to Aramark or Xanterra. They bought the assets of The Yosemite Park and Curry Company (the former park concessionaire) from MCA (MCA music label as well as Universal Studios) back in 1993 after outcries that they just got bought by a Japanese company (Matsushita - makers of Panasonic electronics). They run a whole lot of things in Yosemite, from all the in-park lodging, stores, and restaurants, to the in-park tours and shuttle buses. They also operate Yosemite's High Sierra Camps as well as Badger Pass ski area. They also run one of the lodges at Sequoia National Park as well as SNP's High Sierra Camps.

http://www.delawarenorth.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_North_Companies

This is their logo. You'll see it on the Yosemite Valley shuttle buses.





avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 06:17PM
Those are the concession employees. Their working conditions and pay usually turn out to be somewhat less than expected when they actually start working. I'm not surprised they're a bit surly.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 08:18PM
YPW:>This is their logo. You'll see it on the Yosemite Valley shuttle buses.<

I have a bag(with a snow globe in it) sitting on my desk with this logo. The letters are distorted enough that I did not realize that the logo was actually letters, but I did see it everywhere this weekend. It reminds me of "Fred Harvey" at Grand Canyon (with equally unhappy employees)

B
avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 08:26PM
Ypw wrote:

<Depends on the employee. Some of the park rangers look like they're pinching themselves every day.

Yes, there are DNC employees that appreciate where they are, but they seem to be the exception. Anyone that has the privilege of working in such an incredible place ought to appreciate that; if they don't, I don't think they should be allowed to work there.

You may wonder why I myself don't work there. Well, that's a long story, but if I had the circumstances to, believe me, I'd be happy with nothing more than room & board.

My positive experience with a DNC employee: I was in line getting a beer after my Snow Creek hike and the cashier asked about where I'd been (there was no one else in line) and told about some hikes she'd been on.

And I too. have noticed that the park rangers do tend to appreciate their job.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 09:57PM
sierranomad wrote:

> Ypw wrote:
>
> <Depends on the employee. Some of the park rangers look like
> they're pinching themselves every day.
>
> Yes, there are DNC employees that appreciate where they are,
> but they seem to be the exception. Anyone that has the
> privilege of working in such an incredible place ought to
> appreciate that; if they don't, I don't think they should be
> allowed to work there.

As another aside, what about seasonal workers? I've noticed in Yosemite most of the seasonal concessionaire workers are American, but it's very different elsewhere in the country. A couple of years ago I was at Sequoia NP where most of the seasonal workers at Lodgepole were Russian college students. They were recruited by some overseas seasonal employment firm. Once I saw a large group of them preparing for group hike on a day off.

In 2006 I did the grand tour of parks (some unplanned) from Grand Teton, Yellowstone, down to Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. We finished the trip passing briefly through Death Valley and Yosemite on the way home from Vegas. Xanterra operated most of the restaurant and lodging concessions, although the DNC operated a few stores. It was interesting seeing college age kids from around the world (I recall the Carribean, Finland, Singapore, Taiwan, and China represented) among the seasonal employees. Some told us that they just contacted the employment agency and were more or less randomly assigned. I'm not sure if a place like Yellowstone was better since their have almost no public transportation. Some of the luckier ones were placed where they could get around by free shuttle buses.

> And I too. have noticed that the park rangers do tend to
> appreciate their job.

Sure. It doesn't pay all that well compared to the private sector though. The seasonal rangers probably can live with low pay during the summer months. I remember meeting one NPS ranger in Utah who said he worked every summer at the same place since the mid 1940s. I guess a lot depends on the particular site. I wonder about those with jobs in remote locations in Alaska.

avatar Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 24, 2009 10:12PM
Those new Yosemite hybrid busses are really great. You can barely hear them, and the last bus that went by me while walking back to Upper Pines gave off this kind of sweet odor that made me hungry. They burning biodiesel? Also that bus was jam packed full of folks, so obviously the busses should be there.

As far as Devils Postpile questions. Well, hiking to Thousand Island Lake in June, bring crampons, ice axe and snow shoes. Around the Minarets, same, thought even in June 2005 I just wore boots. The JMT log bridge across Minaret Creek washed out in a flood so didn't get to test the other equipment. But I will have it this June.
Re: Campground reservations - I got shut out
February 26, 2009 09:52PM
Hi guys,

I just joined up hoping to get some help with reservations. I have family visting on June 22nd (cant reschedule the date) and was hoping to spend 3 days camping in the valley. So I woke up at 7am and made reservations in upper pines but on the wrong date! So I have reservations from June 15th-18th and need June 22nd-25th. I would be willing to trade/sell my reservations if it gets me anywhere, I just really want to get reservations for any of the 3 parks in the valley (lower pines, upper pines, north pines) on the 22nd. Any thoughts, ideas or help would be great, thanks so much!

Dan
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