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Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park

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3 Week Yosemite Trip

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3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 17, 2018 07:33AM
Me and a close friend of mine are booked in with a wilderness permit starting at Chilnualna Falls in late May and proceeding to camp wild for as long as we can, sleeping in hammocks with tarp for minimal weight and just generally taking in as many of the views and experiences in the park as we can. We are both experienced hikers so the distance and time won't be a problem. I was just looking for general advice from anyone who's spent an extended period of time backpacking in the area (or any other similar national parks). We've done a fair amount of research, as is important to when backpacking for such a long time, but can't seem to find any accounts of more than 2 weeks. Looking for any things best to avoid and the most rewarding things to do whilst we're there. Our exit trailhead is Alder Creek in mid/late June and we are looking to do a large circular route around the park and seeing as much as possible. We are also both keen rock climbers so any pointers in that respect of our trip would be much appreciated.


avatar Re: 3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 17, 2018 08:32AM
Exit trailhead or date on the permit don't really matter -- you can end up exiting where and when you want. They do want you to put that on the permit, but they really only care about entry date and trailhead.

One big challenge will be logistical, specifically food resupply. You do know that you'll need to carry bear canisters? There's no way you'll get 3 weeks of food into a canister (nor will you want to carry all that weight) so you'll need to resupply food at least once, probably twice. Mail drop for resupply could be problematic because Tuolumne Meadows post office may or may not be open during your time, and if you send food c/o the Yosemite Valley post office then you will end your permit to come off the trail to get your food (Yosemite Valley is considered front country, so as soon as you set foot there your permit ends, but TM doesn't have that condition). You may get a better handle just before your trip on when TM will open. I don't know if Wawona post office is an option for food resupply mail drop, but even if it is that limits the scope of how far you can go (you said you want to do a big loop around the park, which you can't do if you keep yo-yoing in and out of Wawona). You also could buy food at TM and/or the Valley, but same restrictions apply (and, even if open, the selection in the TM store is pretty limited). Your other option is to stash food beforehand at trailhead bear boxes, keeping in mind that you may not have access to Glacier Point Rd or Tioga Rd before you hit the trail so that could severely limit your stash options.

Keep in mind that the high country could still be blanketed in snow at that time of year, which could obscure trails and require special skills and equipment.

There's a lot of great stuff above treeline, so hammock camping could limit you a bit as well. If you are able to lay your hammocks flat on the ground and pitch the tarps without trees then that limitation goes away. But, above treeline also is more likely to be snowed in. Some trails, such as Red Peak Pass, probably will be impassable that early in the season.

As for itinerary, there's too much great stuff to see even in 3 weeks. Good thing is that you really can't go wrong no matter what you do. Did you get a Half Dome permit with your wilderness permit? You need a permit to ascend HD, and while many will argue that the views are better from other places, ascending HD is an incredible and unique experience.

Have a great time!

- Billy Joel

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2018 08:35AM by JRinGeorgia.
Re: 3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 17, 2018 09:14AM
Yeah food supply is our biggest concern, stashing food at trailheads sounds like a feasible option though, we will just have to pick very carefully which heads we will store it at like you say. we still have a few months to research the best places and tactics on food but that's a great help. No unfortunately we didn't get a permit for Half Dome, I don't know whether there's a way to secure them another way as there doesn't seem to be any permits in our date range. Any pointers on that would be great. Thank you smiling smiley
Re: 3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 17, 2018 12:45PM
. No unfortunately we didn't get a permit for Half Dome, I don't know whether there's a way to secure them another way as there doesn't seem to be any permits in our date range. Any pointers on that would be great. Thank you smiling smiley
Half Dome permits fall into 2 categories...
1 - Those that just doing HD, up an back only, are a pain - regulated and lottery permitted. These are the ones (as you have found out) that are almost impossible to get beforehand.
2 - The second type is relatively easy. On any multi-day wilderness adventure, if your Trail Permit states that your route goes right by (or close to) HD - (Sunrise, TM to Merced, Red Peak Pass loop etc) - once you have such a permit (reserved or next day), all you then have to do is ask the Ranger at the permit office (when/where you actually pick up your permit) for that additional HD permit. These are free and are always available. Just ask once you have your trip permit in hand. Even if getting a "next day", this also works. The hard part is getting that permit first for the TH you desire.
Re: 3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 18, 2018 11:35PM
... for that additional HD permit. These are free and are always available.

That's wrong and has been for a number of years. They cost the same as day permits (now $10) and there is also a separate quota of 75 for wilderness permit holders.

For more information: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdwildpermits.htm
Re: 3 Week Yosemite Trip
January 17, 2018 02:52PM
I would also consider the challenges of crossing creeks during this time period. That's early, and if we get a lot of snow, you might find some really hair-raising creeks to cross. Don't. Every year people die in Yosemite mucking around in the roaring creeks and rivers.

Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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