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Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July

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Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 07, 2010 09:19PM
Howdy,
I've enjoyed hours of reading from past Topics (friend sent this site yesterday). We're coming out mid-July with church youth group and 2 adults (have 12 permits). Plan TM to Vogelsang to Merced Lake to LYV (side hike Half Dome) then out for showers and our ride back up to TM. The hike our youth pastor (2nd adult) did as student years ago. Which appears to fit a bunch of low elevation flat landers (mainly downhill). I've ordered the map/guide y'all suggested in prev Post. I'm reading what I can find.

The first area of help we need is where to camp coming in. We'll be driving up Hwy 395 (leaving Gilbert, AZ 6am Sat) and want to camp somewhere between Bishop and Yosemite... so we can get to TM early Sun hopefully to get a campsite for 28 ft camper. We have a family that will stay at base camp for the week and come get us down at the bottom after backpacking trip. Looking at some campgrounds off Hwy 120 --- they look small and might be full. Is disbursed camping in forest allowed (outside park)? Or is there really nothing outside park once you come over Tioga Pass?



"Atlas is Shrugging"
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 07, 2010 09:24PM
You can do disbursed camping east of highway 395 north of Mammoth Lakes. Deadman Creek campground is also a possibility and is free.
Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 11, 2010 10:13PM
Thanks for that info on disbursed camping... we got an Inyo Forest map.

Two more questions:

1) Fires only in existing fire rings. Are those very common? Or with a large group of 12 and the existing camp areas we'll need to find -- is it most likely we'll not be able to plan on fires to heat water? We have one gas packpacking stove, but boiling water for 12 is slooooowwww. We'll need to carry at least another stove and fuel.

2) Mandatory bear canisters (approx. 12 inches by 8.8 inches; 600 cubic inches volume).... Do these stay in backpacks at night? Or need to be put in Bear Box at night (one of prev Posts has map of bear boxes in Vogelsang, Merced Lake, and Little Yosemite)?
Only backpacking in bear country was 1970's Philmont Scout Ranch (bags hung between trees... still had them in camp going after collapsible water jugs)

Thanks...



"Atlas is Shrugging"
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 11, 2010 10:27PM
Fire rings in the back country are common especially on well traveled trails but don't count on one being present where you camp. It is not a good idea to use a fire to cook. Get more stoves, you will be a lot happier. I would suggest one stove for two to three people.

Bear canisters are mandatory everywhere in the park basically. All food stuff must be in canisters except when food is being prepared. There are some camping areas in the backcountry where food lockers are available but you will still need canisters most of the time. Plan on all your food being in the canisters.
The canisters do not need to be in your pack at night. Most people will place the canisters away from their tents at night so IF a bear does come sniffing around it will be away from the tents. Bears in the backcountry are a lot less of a problem than a few years ago because of the use of canisters.

Canisters can be rented for about $5 per week I think but there is a $75 or so deposit per can. Credit card deposit OK.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 11, 2010 10:28PM
Quote
GrandDude
Two more questions:
1) Fires only in existing fire rings.

Absolutely!
Do not build any more. Better yet, don't build a fire even if you camp in the vicinity of an existing ring.


Quote
GrandDude
2) Mandatory bear canisters. Do these stay in backpacks at night? Or need to be put in Bear Box at night (one of prev Posts has map of bear boxes in Vogelsang, Merced Lake, and Little Yosemite)?

Generally left on ground perhaps 100 ft. from sleeping and cooking areas. Put in bear box if you wish.
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 11, 2010 10:32PM
Campfires in the back country are about as welcome as cigarettes in an elevator actually.



Old Dude
Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 07:38AM
Got it.... no fires is best. We'll find a couple more backpacking stoves to borrow. Thanks!

The next area of concern is expected climate. We experienced interrupted sleep on our March spring break practice (high 30's at night) with most of the kids having 40 degree bags. Trying to decide if we need them to get better bags. Average weather may not describe Yosemite this year but would we expect to have 70 degree days and 40 degree nights July 19th week? Cooler at Vogelsang and maybe a bit wamer in LYV?

With extra snow (later snow melt) I'm assuming that mosquitos will be an issue in July. Is there a preferred non-scented repellant that will not be a problem in bear country?

We plan to bring two 8x9ft tents (cheap, 8 lbs) and then four 10x12 lightweight tarps. Assuming/hoping it probably won't rain at night (cram more kids in tents if it does). So half of us will not have netting cover.



"Atlas is Shrugging"
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 08:14AM
Best bet for mosquitoes is to have as little skin exposed as possible. Long sleeve shirt, long pants, hat with neck cape. I've used Off forever. Since only the hands and face are exposed very little repellent is needed. Spray a little is the palm of one hand, rub palms together and smear it around on your face and neck. A little more to do the back of your hands. One can of Off will last me for four or five seasons. Have a scarf to tie around your mouth and nose while hiking to avoid inhaling them. A net will work to but it can get hot in them.

Repellent WILL NOT keep them away. They will try to land on you but will be repelled from biting. They will not stay away from you. More repellent will not make them stay away.

If anyone goes swimming and is in only shorts they must have a plan to get covered as quickly as possible like in 10 seconds or they will be eaten. Dropping aces and deuces is a risky time too. Don't expose any more skin than is necessary and for the shortest amount of time possible.

Kill as many as possible.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2010 08:15AM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 09:26AM
Quote
mrcondron
Best bet for mosquitoes is to have as little skin exposed as possible.

For that to work for me it'd have to be so cold the mosquitoes wouldn't be around. Sigh.
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 10:39AM
Lightweight tight weave nylon (or whatever the synthetic de jour is) pants and shirt are cool and mosquito proof. I think bare skin actually makes you more subject to the heat.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2010 10:40AM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 12:59PM
Quote
GrandDude
Thanks for that info on disbursed camping... we got an Inyo Forest map.

Two more questions:

1) Fires only in existing fire rings. Are those very common? Or with a large group of 12 and the existing camp areas we'll need to find -- is it most likely we'll not be able to plan on fires to heat water? We have one gas packpacking stove, but boiling water for 12 is slooooowwww. We'll need to carry at least another stove and fuel.

2) Mandatory bear canisters (approx. 12 inches by 8.8 inches; 600 cubic inches volume).... Do these stay in backpacks at night? Or need to be put in Bear Box at night (one of prev Posts has map of bear boxes in Vogelsang, Merced Lake, and Little Yosemite)?
Only backpacking in bear country was 1970's Philmont Scout Ranch (bags hung between trees... still had them in camp going after collapsible water jugs)

Thanks...

There are quite a few existing rings depending on location. Still - backpacking stoves are considerably more convenient and efficient. If you've got a lot of water to boil and need it fast, maybe see about getting a Jetboil stove. That should cut down on boiling time and you can keep it in your inventory for future use.

You don't want to keep your canister in a backpack unattended. I think that might even be against regulations. If you did that, a bear could possibly just abscond with it and try to work on breaking it open elsewhere. The canisters are designed to be left out in the open. They are sized such that bears can't chew through the material and don't have any kind of handle that makes it easy to cart away. That being said, there have been reports of bears knocking them around with canisters occasionally seen going over various waterfalls.

It's best to leave your pack out with all the zips open. That gives animals a chance to rummage through them rather than chew through (squirrels or mice) them and/or grab them. I was at the Yosemite Valley backpackers campground when some kid left his pack on a picnic table for a few seconds when a bear grabbed his pack and took off.

I wouldn't count on the bear boxes being available near assorted backcountry campgrounds. They fill up rapidly, and I remember seeing quite a few deliberately kept open like a pantry. They must be shared too.
avatar Re: Help for Arizona desert rats headed up in July
April 18, 2010 07:57AM
I don't go in July period without netting protection. The little buggers will drive you nutsoid.
I'd seriously consider ditching the tarps and getting some sort of netting to keep you away
from the bugs at night. We even set up our tent mid day to take a nap and eat lunch in
they can be that bad.
Have the kids bring long johns and some sorta jacket. Have them wear those at night in
their sleepy bag. Once you drop to Merced Lake you'll be toasty... probably blazingly so.

Have fun



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