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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives

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Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 12:28AM
I hope this isn't breaking a sacred code, but I thought I'd see if anyone might be generous enough to share any favorite lower elevation spots in Yosemite/Sequoia for camping. Due to the drought, my wife and I blocked off time early this year (later this week). But the anticipated temps are somewhat lower than what my wife is accustomed to. She's handled sub-40 nights at Sunrise Lakes, but it looks like it's going to be sub-30 (going off the Tuolumne forecast). I was looking at Basilbop's Hetch Hetchy trip. Is HH a good alternative? I would be eternally grateful for any wisdom you can bestow smiling smiley
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 09:14AM
If your talking about this coming holiday weekend then you apparently are not familiar with the trailhead limitations. At this late date you could hope to get a walk-up permit out of Hetch Hetchy and the only way to get that would be to be there midweek and would be hopeless during Friday or Saturday on the coming holiday weekend. Instead you might call up Stanislaus National Forest and try to reserve a permit to Kibbie Lake at 6.5k feet. But would need to make an effort to figure out how to get to the rather remote Shingle Springs trailhead across the Cherry Valley Reservoir Dam. Otherwise there is very little in the Sierra Nevada Yosemite region at lower elevations that was not burned to ash in the Rim Fire, where one might consider backpacking to. Instead those lower elevations are only about car camping or 4WD jeep roads. Actually there are some rather obscure boring mid forest elevation trails one could backpack out in nearby Stanislaus and Sierra NFs and would not need any permits but will resist mentioning those.

Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 09:16AM
You say camping, but you mentioned Sunrise Lakes, so I assume you meant backpacking.

Rancheria Falls out of Hetch Hetchy is the obvious and very popular low-elevation, short-ish-distance target out of Hetch Hetchy. Depending on what kinds of temps and distances are to your taste, there are a number of other options starting there.

What are you looking for?
avatar Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 09:45AM
JKW, peas donut give away all da secrets.
Especially da boring ones...


Personage axeing question... my recommendation is to get da wifey a really nice
15 degree or 10 degreee or 0 degree sleepy bag... and then implement da tried
and true chick-on method o sleeping in da backcountry... get in bag before the
sun goes down... and donut get up till sun hits tent.
smiling smiley

(I'm pretty serious)

For lower elevation... yeah, there's a lot of stuff out there... what you can do
is give a look at the National Forest Maps. Lemme know and I can provide link.
Look for TH on the map and look at trail and elevation and see if it fits.
As for favorites... myself... yeah, I love it all... so need more info from you.
Some of stuff like Preston Falls... that is poison oak dodgefest ... so ... some
may not like... and w/r to Rim Fire... Yosemite didn't get burned to the ground...
it's only in limited areas...
Something simple also would be Lake Eleanor... "we" have posted lots about
that recently... ish...
It's Memorial Day weekend... so yeah, permits gonna be tight everywhere...
and also .. unless they cancelled it this year... The Strawberrry Festival
is at Evergreen Rd / Camp Mather area... which mean HH gonna be swamped..

Ask more ... and you shall receive...

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 11:16AM
Oh, I totally agree with Chick-on on the warm bag!!! I loooove my High Sierra Sniveller quilt from Jacks-R-Better that has the head-hole so I can wear it while lounging during breakfast or dinner. I'm not into being cold unless it's a warm day and there's a nice pool in a river or lake to play in!
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 11:06AM
I'll throw out some Sequoia/Kings Canyon alternatives:
  • Redwood Meadow - max elevation about 6500', with camping available lower at Panther, Mehrten, and Buck Creeks.
  • Redwood Mountain Grove - max. elevation about 7000' near Sugar Bowl, but can camp lower (6400')
  • Paradise Valley in Kings (from Roads End) - elev. ~6800' or so
I don't know how busy Sequoia/Kings is Memorial Day compared to Yosemite, so getting permits for these could be a problem.

Also, to clarify, despite Kibbie Lake and Lake Eleanor requiring a permit from Stanislaus National Forest, unlike the Emigrant Wilderness these destinations have quotas since they are in Yosemite, so getting permits could be a problem for these as well.
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 01:34PM
Thanks for all the feedback!

I apologize. Yes, backpacking. I have a reservation for Cathedral Lakes (along with 0 degree bags). I can use the tried and true Chick-on method (even though I am new here: in Chick-on, I trust). I certainly have the bags for it.

Just Keep Walking, we are doing 3 nights (starting Thursday). 8 miles is the distance my wife has been comfortable covering in a day.

I will check out your Lake Eleanor posts and dig deeper on the other suggestions. Thanks again!
avatar Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 18, 2015 03:16PM
I will state the oblivious and say to keep a watchful on the weather.
I guess Game of Thrones starting back up has made Winter Arrive...
or sumtin like that... It was sunny all winter... and now it's been raining and
snowing like chickens and cows.
imo if it was just snow it would be nicer... b/c hiking in and on snow
can and mostly is a lot more enjoyable than hiking in rain.
My trusty umbrella makes the hike much nicer imo... can keep taking
peekchures too.

Keep da wifie warm n happy

Warm wife... happy life...
Happy wife... warm life...

Chick-on is looking at you!

(am too suppose to go to TM area weekend... but ... sheesh... is road even
gonna stay open? and is it going to be so spitty out that it's not worth it so much? )

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 20, 2015 05:07PM
I've had to cancel our annual Memorial Day camping trip because rain with 5 little kids amongst two families and us... with one of them sick already... not fun. (Looks like Kings/Sequoia is trending a little wetter again, too, so factor that in when looking for a hike.)

So, then we are trying to figure out what backpacking trip we might be able to squeeze in.. and we are having trouble deciding because of weather. Not fun. Lots of variables to consider.

Lower elevations safer. As mentioned in another thread, Vernon Lake loop is great. But those scared away (with probably very good reason) from Tioga/high country) will probably go for Hetch Hetchy area, so good luck. It's coming up on eve of your trip. Hope you have found or close to finding something that appeals!
Re: Lower Elevation Alternatives
May 27, 2015 09:14AM
It was indeed spitty out. I think that helped taper down the numbers though (as well as sunscreen use). I did go with the Vernon Lake loop. I imagine under more pleasant conditions that trail may be a little too crowded (maybe not around Vernon, but definintely at Rancheria Falls).
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