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Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT

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White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 04:41AM
I'm planning a 9 day trip mid-July starting at White Wolf to Smith Peak (Day 1), to HH dam (2) Ranchierra (3) Pleasant Valley (4) Pate Valley (5) GCT (6,7,8), Tuolomne bus back to car (Day 9). I'm middle-aged hiker, 180lbs, very good shape, with my almost 17yr old daughter who's quite strong, and tough, but doesn't train for sports. I figure if things get ugly we could cut short and go up to WW directly from the valley but this would really be a shame to miss the GCT. Am I being realistic to think we can make it all the way to Tuolomne in that time frame? We've done 1 & 2 day trips (w/pack and all) in the Adirondacks and Catskills since she was 8 or 9, and lots of day hikes here in the foothills of western NY (I did a fair amount of backpacking way back).

A relevant aside, to justify the expense and to show Tess all that i want to of Yosemite, we are then spending Day 9 evening at Curry Village, Day 10 packing up Yosemite Falls to North Dome, Day 11-17 to Tenaya Lake, Clouds Rest, Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, for another 8-9 days. This involves some hard hiking, seems to be harder than that Ranchierra hike from what I can tell, but we also seem to have more leeway for time and rest (by then we should know our abilities as regards the lay of the land).
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 06:34AM
Well... at this time and, unfortunately, until it looks like November,
the Rim fire has closed the trails around HH including the route which
you are describing on the beginning of your trip. No problem though
because I would have told you to skip that portion anyway.
You can start from Hetch Hetchy instead if you planned that way so
that you can see Hetchy and Z beloved Loch Tablae.
No way should you miss GCT. Huge mistake. Alternately simply drop
to Pate from WW.

Up and over Rancheria Mtn. is big. Since from what you have said ...
I'd say not hardcore backpacker... I'd say dump to Pate from WW and
go up GCT to start... see how things are going... from there you can
extend to Young Lakes and back down to TM. or do the loop and
hike back to WW going past 10 Lakes. Actually... that is my best rec.
do that loop. Easily done in that timeframe. And could even add Youngs.

Other trip... Up Yose Falls to North on day 1. In summer.
I'd make sure I had enough time to flop atop Yose Falls ... the heat
can just zap you.

Anywho.

Have fun.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 09:28AM
I would agree with the pink bird in his advice to just go to Pate Valley and skip Smith Peak. Unlike the bird, I think the trails around Hetch Hetchy will open up before November. However, the route from White Wolf to Hetch Hetchy will be almost entirely within the Rim Fire area, so unless you want to see a recently burned area for ~15 miles I wouldn't go that way. Plus you would have to figure out how to get from the Smith Peak trailhead to the dam. You would have to hitch hike or get a ride as walking the road would be very dangerous.

I would second the 10 Lakes loop. Makes more sense logistically and scenically. Plus, mid-July would be really hot at Rancheria. If you are going to do the WW->GCT->10L->WW you will need to figure if you will do the loop clockwise or counter clockwise. WW is 8,000ft, Pate Valley is the lowest elevation at 4,000 ft, and Tuolumne Peak (near 10 Lakes) is the highest at 9,800 ft. So either steep down to Pate (~10 miles), steady uphill to Tuolumne Peak (~25 miles), down/up south fork cathedral then moderate down back to WW (~15 miles), or in reverse.
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 09:41AM
Busta,
I hope you are right. I'm only basing it on what I've seen w/r to getting to Cherry Lake.
Everthing I've seen is ... they have it signed and delivered that they are allowed to leave
it closed until November 18th. If that's the case... you can guess where I'm going on Turkey day...
wink
Of course I hope Z Park doesn't follow suit. And opens up the trails at least thru Beehive.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 11:19AM
I thought November 18th was for Stanislaus while the park didn't have an end date on their order. It makes sense (somewhat) for the forest to close the area if they will be doing logging or other cleanup in the area which of course the park won't be doing. The park closure is almost all wilderness, so there is inherent danger, so I don't know what they are protecting us from. The ground/ashes should be cold and settled while any unstable trees should have come down already.
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 01:32PM
Yeah, I agree. The only additional thing would maybe be that they don't want peeps poking around Miguel.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 03:25PM
Everybody thanks for the really good feedback -- I'm taking note and it is very helpful in developing some better plans. I am opting for the WW straight to Pate route, up GCT, but then leaving the rest of the circle open depending on our energy. And I hesitate to give up Yosemite Falls but the option there is to take the back way in, Yosemite Creek, much the easier road it seems. Any thoughts on that trade off?

Personal Note: I honeymooned in San Francisco in '93 and on a kind of fluke spent a few days in Yosemite. Wow; nothing like it; Shangri-La. Came back the very next year to really see it, at least all we could in a week, Half Dome and Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point, etc.. I remember when we got up to Little Yosemite Valley, and I saw a sign about backpackers, well, I've never forgotten. That week, driving back to the bay, we saw the sign for big green highway sign for Hetch Hetchy, and that also stayed with me. Grooming my two kids (Tess is the older, Phoebe will follow in a couple of years) backpacking I always had 'the dream' trip -- and this is it. This is great!
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 14, 2014 07:24AM
I would rec. skipping the North Dome to Tenaya Lake portion.
Would even go so far as saying that the Yosemite Point to North Dome isn't
really that stellar either.

If you want details on how to do that... can say so. Your head may hurt already though.

Have fun planning



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 11:36AM
I will not comment on your route selection or that suggested by others. What I question is whether or not the two of you are really up to 17 days of continuous hiking! This is not the Adirondacks. Your schedule would wear out all but the more ambitious of us. Perhaps I'm over cautious from my experiences traveling to Yosemite from the east coast to go backpacking. The summer heat, altitude, and sometimes rugged trails can do a number on you. Be aware that most of the advice you will receive on this forum is from highly experienced Yosemite backpackers who visit the park every chance they get. Their normal is not your normal. I highly recommend taking a good break in between the first long hike and any subsequent hikes. Check out Bodie Park between Lee Vining and Bridgeport or visit the local history museum in Mariposa. Drive to Mammoth Lakes and take the lift up the mountain. I think 17 straight days of High Sierra hiking without a break is going to punch your lights out, IMHO. Backpacker



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2014 11:38AM by tomdisco.
avatar Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 02:04PM
Quote
tomdisco

I highly recommend taking a good break in between the first long hike and any subsequent hikes. Check out Bodie Park between Lee Vining and Bridgeport or visit the local history museum in Mariposa. Drive to Mammoth Lakes and take the lift up the mountain. I think 17 straight days of High Sierra hiking without a break is going to punch your lights out, IMHO. Backpacker

I agree that a good break between the ambitious hikes could be a very good thing, but I don't think one needs to drive out to Bodie, Mammoth Lakes or Mariposa during their break. Such long drives can be fatiguing in their own right, especially for those not familiar with the area.

Instead, if one can find accommodations inside Yosemite National Park (either lodging or at a campground) during their visit, I would recommend just taking a break by doing EASY short day hikes around the Yosemite Valley floor (including the Mirror Lake loop), around Tuolumne Meadows (including Pothole Dome) or an easy drive to Glacier Point (and maybe a short hike to the top of Sentinel Dome) or a bit longer drive to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (checking out the Yosemite Pioneer's Museum located in Wawona along the way).



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2014 02:59PM by plawrence.
Re: White Wolf, HH, circle to Pate & GCT
March 13, 2014 08:47PM
It sounds like we're doing a similiar hike as you. We're heading out of WW in mid July and plan to take our time going through the GCT for 6 nights and take some side trips along the way. We're looking to try an get through Muir Gorge, spend some time at Mattie Lake and Wildcat Point, then head over to the Tuolunme Peak/Mt Hoffmann/May Lake area.

In July 2012 we did the other hike you're talking about. 8 to 9 days for that hike is a long time and you should have plenty of time to take it easy and explore.

Doing the upper half of the Yosemite Falls trail in the July sun with a fully loaded pack would not be fun. To avoid the heat we started up the trail at 3 in the afternoon. The first part of the climb is in the trees so while it was hot it wasn't unbearable. By the time we got to the gate at the mid point, the upper half was fully shaded and it wasn't as hot as I had thought it would be. We were setting up camp at the top by 7. We thought about skipping the climb and starting the hike at one of the Tioga Rd trailheads, but we ended up enjoying the challenge. Day 2 was another short day and we just made it to North Dome. Day 3 was a longer hike because 2012 was a dry year and water was scarce after Snow Creek. We ended up refilling our water at Tenaya Lake and then camped just before the first big climb up to Clouds Rest. Day 4 we did Clouds Rest and camped at the junction of the Clouds Rest and John Muir Trail. Day 5 we did Half Dome and then down and out at Happy Isles. It looks like this is going to be another dry year, so finding legal camping with water between Snow Creek and Sunrise lakes may be hard.
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