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Re: LA Times article on the high sierra camps

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LA Times article on the high sierra camps
June 17, 2011 05:11PM
Yosemite's back-country hikers have seen the light
By John Flinn
Special to the Los Angeles Times
June 19, 2011

Reporting from Yosemite National Park— John Muir understood that the best way to see his beloved "Range of Light" is to travel light.

His packing advice couldn't have been simpler: "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence."

That's what I've done — more or less — and now, as evening descends, I'm a two days' walk from the trailhead with little more than a toothbrush and a change of socks in my daypack

Muir used to shiver through the long, frosty Sierra nights in hollow logs, but I'm looking forward to a bit more comfort: a reasonably comfortable bed in a heated tent cabin, a hot shower, flush toilets and a four-course dinner that the Ahwahnee Hotel would be proud to serve.

My destination is the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp, one of five semipermanent camps in the back country of Yosemite National Park. Accessible only by foot or horseback, they open up some of the park's premier high-country trails to those who would rather not walk hunched over with half the contents of the REI catalog on their backs.

The camps have existed in one form or another since 1916 — they were the brainchild of Stephen Mather, the father of the National Park Service — yet they remain off the radar to many Yosemite visitors. Those in the know apply for openings through a lottery system each fall — last year 3,300 people competed for 850 slots — or work the busy cancellations market that typically opens up around Memorial Day.

... The season typically runs from late June or early July through mid-September, but mountain weather inevitably calls the shots. This year Glen Aulin is scheduled to open July 15; May Lake, July 22; Merced Lake and Vogelsang, July 28; and Sunrise, Aug. 3.

avatar Re: LA Times article on the high sierra camps
June 17, 2011 09:19PM
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