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Re: high camps in June?

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high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 05:16PM
We have reservations to stay in the high camps at the end of June. After reading posts about the weather, I'm considering cancelling and taking our chanes another year, later in the season. Are reservations so hard to come by in the lottery that I should keep mine? Also, we weren't able to get spots at each of the camps, so we won't be able to do the whole loop. Maybe it;s betterto wiat until we can do the whole thing. Any thoughts?
Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 05:39PM
What about the weather is making you consider rescheduling? It's looking like a dry year, so a late June reservation will most likely not be cancelled due to a late opening of the camps. Mosquitoes will probably be an issue, at least at May Lake, Glen Aulin, Sunrise, Vogelsang, and Merced Lake :-) Reservations are generally hard to come by*, especially for a large group wanting to do multiple camps--a possible exception being if they decide to extend the season by a week or so, which has happened a few times in the past. Late season trips risk chilly evenings, short days, low water, and premature discontinuation of the Tuolumne shuttle service--but no mosquitoes.

What camps did you get? Depending on your hiking chops, you might be able to day-hike the camps you didn't get from Tuolumne Meadows or the Tioga Road**--especially May Lake.

* Exception: Merced Lake. The vacancy light is always on for that camp...
** Exception: Merced Lake, but you probably got that camp...
Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 06:23PM
The possibility of the camps not being open is what I'm worried about. The thought came to me today, do we really want to spend the time and effort to do this, if its possible that it will be cold and rainy? We have Merced Lake and Vogelsang and one night at Tuolumne.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 06:40PM
My only shot at the lottery was about 20 years ago, and we got just what we wanted...the week before Labor Day. Usually great weather, and a couple of our kids were old enough to bring them along. And then the school district moved the start of school to the week before labor day. Gave the spots to a friend who went up with his parents who were in their 70's...and they got rain and snow for much of the trip.
Point is, as far as conditions go you never know quite what you are going to get. As Basilbop says..not much snow so far. This year you could be at the best time for wildflowers, flowing streams, and still a little snow clinging to the mountaintops. I would go for it. And I would bring mosquito repellant.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 07:35PM
Sounds like there are two questions here, the "cold and rainy" (at the time) one, and the "will they be open" one. I've never stayed at the HSCs, but have frequently camped in the Sierra...

1) With respect to the "cold and rainy" question, you can encounter late season chilly weather in late June but by then nice weather is far more typical. Just be prepared for the worst and to enjoy what's much more likely.

2) With respect to 'will they be open'... again, haven't stayed in the camps, but assuming snow-free trails are expected for them to be open - November and December were wet, January and February have been dry. By Feb 1 this left CA around normal, we're certainly well below normal by now. A "Miracle March" at this point would most likely lift us to normal. In other words, its far too early to think of cancelling already-planned late-June trips because the odds are on your side, wait and see.
Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 08:03PM
You never know with the weather, but odds are in your favor for warm and sunny in late June.

You might want to look at your daily itinerary / hiking schedule though. Tuolomne Meadows to Vogelsang is 7 miles, Vogelsang to Merced is 8 miles, so a comfortable days hike between those camps. However that means you have a full 15 miles from Merced HSC back to Tuolomne Meadows. So unless your camp reservations are for Tuolomne HSC, Vogelsang HSC, Merced HSC, and Vogelsang HSC (again,) you will have some logistics to figure out. If it were me, I'd keep the reservations for Tuolomne Meadows and Vogelsang and decline the Merced one.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 27, 2013 01:51AM
Quote
KatyAnderson

You might want to look at your daily itinerary / hiking schedule though. Tuolomne Meadows to Vogelsang is 7 miles, Vogelsang to Merced is 8 miles, so a comfortable days hike between those camps. However that means you have a full 15 miles from Merced HSC back to Tuolomne Meadows.


Or the other option would be to hike down from Merced Lake HSC to Happy Isles, still a long hike (about 13 miles) but mostly downhill.

If my last segment was from Merced Lake HSC to Happy Isles, I would start the trip by parking at the Backpackers/Trailhead parking lot near Happy Isles and then taking the Valley Shuttle Bus to the Yosemite Lodge to catch either the YARTS bus or DNC's hiker bus that would drop me off at the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

.
Re: high camps in June?
February 27, 2013 04:38AM
Thanks. That helps a lot. We will keep the reservations. The third night is actually at May Lake, not Merced. We can't hike from vg to ml, so I think we will take the shuttle to the trailhead.

Also, I was planning to fly into San Francisco. Is that what you all would suggest? How is the public transportation? I thought that we would spend one night in sf before going to yosemite the next morning and one additional night at yosemite after the night at may lake. Is there any chance in getting a room at a lodge from a cancelation? There aren't any openings right now.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 27, 2013 11:49PM
Most people who fly into SFO will rent a car and drive to Yosemite.

If you're going to stay in San Francisco for one night prior to heading off to Yosemite, you could take a taxi, airport shuttle van, or BART into San Francisco (and not pay for overnight hotel parking) and then pick up your rent-a-car the next day in San Francisco itself. The major car rental agencies have good number of places within San Francisco where one can pick up a rent-a-car.

From San Francisco, the easiest public transportation option into Yosemite would be Amtrak.

You would take an Amtrak bus from San Francisco to the Emeryville Amtrak Station. Then take the Amtrak San Joaquin from Emeryville to Merced. Then board an Amtrak Bus for the ride into Yosemite Valley. The connections between the Amtrak buses and trains are guaranteed, so no need to worry about a missed connection on this three segment Amtrak trip.

In regards to being able to find a room at the Yosemite Lodge for single night due to someone else canceling their room reservation is quite good actually.

Just be disciplined enough to check for a at the Lodge about three or four times daily via their website for a room. A room is bound to pop up between now and then.

.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 28, 2013 12:27AM
Take BART, switch trains in Richmond.

Reason for edit: more concise.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2013 12:31AM by QITNL.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 28, 2013 07:41AM
Quote
annandoug
Thanks. That helps a lot. We will keep the reservations. The third night is actually at May Lake, not Merced. We can't hike from vg to ml, so I think we will take the shuttle to the trailhead.

Also, I was planning to fly into San Francisco. Is that what you all would suggest? How is the public transportation? I thought that we would spend one night in sf before going to yosemite the next morning and one additional night at yosemite after the night at may lake. Is there any chance in getting a room at a lodge from a cancelation? There aren't any openings right now.

I'd recommend flying into Oakland if you can. Often the flights are cheaper, there's a convenient connection to BART/Amtrak, and weather doesn't delay flights like it does at SFO. There are some convenient hotels near the airport, and many have shuttles.

Another option is to stay in Merced, but there's little lodging near the Amtrak station which was suggested

Are you considering renting a car? That would really make sense if you can get a good rate; it could be cheaper than taking the train since you're not solo. You wouldn't have to worry so much about making transportation schedules or hanging around borderline sketchy areas waiting for a train or bus. You could also find lodging somewhere in between the Bay Area or Yosemite, and have a lot more choices. If you're willing to rent a car, your options are greater, including flying into San Jose, Sacramento, or even Fresno.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 28, 2013 10:32AM
Quote
y_p_w

I'd recommend flying into Oakland if you can. Often the flights are cheaper, there's a convenient connection to BART/Amtrak, and weather doesn't delay flights like it does at SFO. There are some convenient hotels near the airport, and many have shuttles.


There are some advantages of flying into Oakland versus SFO: it's closer to Yosemite (if one is driving to Yosemite directly from the airport), there's a less likelihood of weather-related delays, and that there's a good possibility of finding a lower air fare.

But annadoug stated that they want to stay their first night in San Francisco. If that's the case, then it's far more convenient to take BART from SFO than it is from OAK since there's a BART station inside SFO unlike OAK where one needs to board a non-free shuttle bus (AirBART) to get to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. (And talking about dodgy areas, the SFO BART station is a lot more pleasant one to wait for a BART train than the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station.)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2013 12:16PM by plawrence.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 01, 2013 09:02AM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
y_p_w

I'd recommend flying into Oakland if you can. Often the flights are cheaper, there's a convenient connection to BART/Amtrak, and weather doesn't delay flights like it does at SFO. There are some convenient hotels near the airport, and many have shuttles.


There are some advantages of flying into Oakland versus SFO: it's closer to Yosemite (if one is driving to Yosemite directly from the airport), there's a less likelihood of weather-related delays, and that there's a good possibility of finding a lower air fare.

But annadoug stated that they want to stay their first night in San Francisco. If that's the case, then it's far more convenient to take BART from SFO than it is from OAK since there's a BART station inside SFO unlike OAK where one needs to board a non-free shuttle bus (AirBART) to get to the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station. (And talking about dodgy areas, the SFO BART station is a lot more pleasant one to wait for a BART train than the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART station.)

I find a some people talk about "staying in San Francisco" because they don't know the area and don't have a feel for the layout. Nobody has to stay in San Francisco as a layover to get to Yosemite. It may in fact be extremely expensive, as San Francisco has some sky high hotel rates. If the plan is to just relax for a day before taking Amtrak to Yosemite, I'd actually recommend staying in Emeryville someplace close to the station. There less risk of something happening with the connecting bus (the buses leaving from the station are guaranteed to wait for the train, but the train won't wait for a really late connecting bus).

I also take BART on a regular basis and find that issues with the Coliseum station are overblown. The neighborhood is lousy, but staying in the "ecosystem" of AirBART and the BART station isn't bad at all. I see lots of people boarding with luggage from the airport, and I've never seen an incident before. Depending on the flight times, I'd generally recommend taking Amtrak to Emeryville and finding a place to stay there. Hyatt Summerfield Suites is right next to the pedestrian bridge.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 01, 2013 11:28AM
Quote
y_p_w

I find a some people talk about "staying in San Francisco" because they don't know the area and don't have a feel for the layout. Nobody has to stay in San Francisco as a layover to get to Yosemite. It may in fact be extremely expensive, as San Francisco has some sky high hotel rates.


When I hear that someone wants to stay a night in San Francisco before heading out to Yosemite (a request I have gotten often from friends and family over the years wanting to visit Yosemite) it's always been because they want to take in the sights of San Francisco (a world-class tourist destination in its own right) before heading off to Yosemite, hence spending a day or two in the City before leaving to Yosemite.

Also note that while the hotel rates in San Francisco and at the Yosemite Lodge are high, the rates for staying at a High Sierra Camp are high too. In other words, people who can afford to spend multiple nights at a Yosemite HSC can usually also afford to spend a night in San Francisco and a night at the Yosemite Lodge.

.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 01, 2013 07:30PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
y_p_w

I find a some people talk about "staying in San Francisco" because they don't know the area and don't have a feel for the layout. Nobody has to stay in San Francisco as a layover to get to Yosemite. It may in fact be extremely expensive, as San Francisco has some sky high hotel rates.


When I hear that someone wants to stay a night in San Francisco before heading out to Yosemite (a request I have gotten often from friends and family over the years wanting to visit Yosemite) it's always been because they want to take in the sights of San Francisco (a world-class tourist destination in its own right) before heading off to Yosemite, hence spending a day or two in the City before leaving to Yosemite.

Also note that while the hotel rates in San Francisco and at the Yosemite Lodge are high, the rates for staying at a High Sierra Camp are high too. In other words, people who can afford to spend multiple nights at a Yosemite HSC can usually also afford to spend a night in San Francisco and a night at the Yosemite Lodge.

.

When I go on longish trips, I try to balance my lodging. I've gone on trips where I've paid for as little as $45/night at Motel 6 to $200 a night at a high-rent NPS cabin. Sometimes it's a lot of money to spend, and I do try to save money when I can.

The OP didn't give any particular reason for staying in San Francisco. I'm just putting out some options, especially since most people I talk to who aren't familiar with the Bay Area have only a vague idea that anything exists here other than San Francisco. If it's just a place to stay for a night on the way to Yosemite, there are some excellent options. I especially would recommend Emeryville because all the hotels are within walking distance of the train station and there's an excellent free bus service to boot. I might even recommend trying to opaque book a 3-star hotel on Priceline, except for the possibility that one might get a hotel in Berkeley. There's nothing particular wrong with that other than it might be inconvenient without a car.

Before I came up with something to say, I tried figuring out what the crux of the request was.

Also, I was planning to fly into San Francisco. Is that what you all would suggest? How is the public transportation?

The OP doesn't seem to be wedded to the idea of coming into San Francisco. However, I'm guessing it's what the OP knows. Public transportation in San Francisco is hit or miss. It can be really good if you're close to BART. It can be equally bad (do no rely on MUNI if you can help it) if you pick the wrong place or wander too far from certain hotels at night. You could book a room at the Palace Hotel, but avoid the area two blocks away on Market if you can help it. I've personally walked from the Symphony to the Civic Center BART station, and (if you're talking about "pleasant"winking smiley that's not it. That neighborhood just weirded me out. If you pick a hotel in San Francisco, you need to know the neighborhood. Fisherman's Wharf is fine. Union Square is OK but be careful wandering into the Tenderloin. The so-called Hilton Financial District (former Holiday Inn Chinatown) is actually in Chinatown - not the best neighborhood at night. The hotels themselves are fine, but certainly ask around before booking any place.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/2013 07:45PM by y_p_w.
Re: high camps in June?
March 01, 2013 02:26PM
There is a hostel at Fort Mason, which is a great location. I walked through it a couple of years ago,and it had a very lively, international vibe. There are two others in the city. One big diff I see is the parking (free at Fort Mason). Edit to add I'm talking about S.F. as "The City".

http://www.sfhostels.com/
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 26, 2013 10:51PM
If you won the lottery, go. Even when it is bad it is good. Two summers ago spent one of the opening weekends at Vogelsang (in August) along with billions of mosquitoes. Miserable time wearing nets and all. But still would not trade the hiking experience for anything.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 28, 2013 12:19PM
Two comments here:
You can cut a couple miles off a return trip from Merced HSC to Tuolumne Meadows by taking the trails to the long Clouds Rest saddle and exiting at Tenaya Lake (Sunrise trailhead) and then catching the shuttle to TM. It's still a long day but 2 miles is 2 miles!
Whether flying into SF, Oakland, or San Jose, one should not get stuck on trying to get lodging inside Yosemite. There are usually plenty of rooms available in Mariposa and at much lower rates.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2013 12:19PM by tomdisco.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
February 28, 2013 12:59PM
If one can afford the rates, it's far preferable in the summer to stay overnight inside Yosemite Valley than in Mariposa in regards to enjoying one's Yosemite vacation.

Why waste an hour or more traveling from Mariposa (including waiting for up to 20 minutes at the Hwy 140 landslide one-lane detour) and then who knows how long at the Hwy 140 entrance station?

Also since annadoug wants to stay in Yosemite for one-night AFTER their stay at the High Sierra Camps, it would be silly to drive all the way out of park over to Mariposa. If they can't find lodging inside Yosemite, the closet lodging with more reasonable rates would be in Lee Vining east of Yosemite or in Buck Meadows, west of Yosemite.

.
Re: high camps in June?
March 01, 2013 09:56AM
If you can't get into the Yosemite Lodge, I'd recommend Yosemite View Lodge. It's about $200 per night roughly equivalent to the Lodge at the Falls in the park. They have nice kitchenettes and some rooms have a balcony overlooking the Merced.

As for the High Sierra Camps, they can get set up quickly after the snow melts. The mosquitos may be bad, especially at Vogelsang. I'd recommend head nets. They have them for sale at the camp, but at much higher prices and the year we went they'd run out. The mosquitos were vicious that year (2011).

Last year we went to May Lake and Glen Aulin. Both very nice and not buggy at all since it was a dry winter. I also got a last minute reservation at Sunrise last year. All the High Sierra Camps are very nice, gorgeous views, nice folks, sometimes a ranger is in camp to give talks at night.
Re: high camps in June?
March 02, 2013 10:49AM
As others have said, you should not stay in Mariposa if you're going to be hiking in the High Country. Stay on the 395 side, but NOT in Lee Vining, where the cheapest accomodations are $100+ a night in the summer. Stay in June Lake for $70 a night and you're a lot closer to Touloumne Meadows. The Motel 6 in Mammoth is $65 a night. You can be at the trailhead for Cathedral, Sunrise or Youngs Lake from June Lake in 45 minutes. Mariposa? Forget it-- an interminable drive.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 03, 2013 10:16AM
Actually there is a slim possibility of a very affordable night in Lee Vining little known about that 's available if you are planning a long time ahead. At Murphy's Motel they have have 5-6 rooms in the back which are much smaller than all their other rooms. These rooms are the same in all respects to the larger rooms including a small refrigerator. The only difference I've noted is that the shower has a curtain rather than a sliding glass door. The bed is a single queen suitable for one person or a couple sleeping together. In the past I beleive I've paid about $65. a night for one of these smaller rooms on advance reservation but you have to know about them to ask for one. This has been great for me for flying into Reno and using Lee Vining as a headquarters between day hikes and overnight hikes strictly in the high country when I have no plans to go to YV.

For those entertaining the possibility of entering the northern reaches of Yosemite via The Robinson Creek trail at Twin Lakes a similar set-up is available in the town of Bridgeport at the Redwood Motel. The primary difference here is that the small rooms are actually a few RV trailers out back. They have all the ammenities of their regular rooms except for size. I will be taiking advantage of this next August. The manager at Redwood said these are very popular with the backpacking crowd since Bridgeport is also the location for your permit pick-up on the south side of town heading towards Lee Viningwinking smiley.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 03, 2013 11:59AM
Quote
tomdisco
Actually there is a slim possibility of a very affordable night in Lee Vining little known about that 's available if you are planning a long time ahead. At Murphy's Motel they have have 5-6 rooms in the back which are much smaller than all their other rooms. These rooms are the same in all respects to the larger rooms including a small refrigerator. The only difference I've noted is that the shower has a curtain rather than a sliding glass door. The bed is a single queen suitable for one person or a couple sleeping together. In the past I beleive I've paid about $65. a night for one of these smaller rooms on advance reservation but you have to know about them to ask for one. This has been great for me for flying into Reno and using Lee Vining as a headquarters between day hikes and overnight hikes strictly in the high country when I have no plans to go to YV.


I've taken advantage of these economy rooms at Murphey's (note the spelling for those looking for more information on Murphey's online). These rooms are the best deal in Lee Vining.

But I would also note that with most other motel rooms costing around $100 to $130 per night in Lee Vining in the summer, the higher priced rooms in Lee Vining are still reasonably priced in my opinion considering the through-the-nose rates one has to pay to stay inside Yosemite Valley (especially for the non-air conditioned rooms at Curry Village or the Yosemite Lodge) or even the air-conditioned rooms of the motels located in El Portal.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2013 01:48AM by plawrence.
Re: high camps in June?
March 03, 2013 05:28PM
I stayed in the Motel 6 in Mammoth last summer. Small, noisy but okay for one night. Breakfast at the Whoa Nellie and I was on the trail to Sunrise by 8am.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 04, 2013 01:27AM
Quote
Mom
I stayed in the Motel 6 in Mammoth last summer. Small, noisy but okay for one night.

Last time I stayed there a guy started warming up his Harley outside my window at 6am and continued for at least 30 minutes.
Re: high camps in June?
March 04, 2013 08:40AM
Come to think of it, the High Sierra Camps aren't always great for a good night's sleep either. Last summer, one woman in my tent got up every hour to go to the bathroom while another one got up every hour (but not the same hour) to put more wood in the stove. We could have grown orchids in the tent; it was like a hothouse. No blankets needed even with the outside temps in the 40's.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 04, 2013 11:17AM
Maybe the staff at the HSCs should assign tents by the preference of the guest in regards to their room temperature for sleeping. Those that prefer warm rooms get assigned to one tent, those who prefer cooler rooms get assigned to another.

(BTW, the orchids in our backyard can handle 40ºF weather with aplomb. wink )

.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 04, 2013 06:03PM
Quote
plawrence
(BTW, the orchids in our backyard can handle 40ºF weather with aplomb. wink )

So can some of the orchids in Yosemite (from a 1970s slide):


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/yosemite/pine-drop-02.jpg.html
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 05, 2013 04:20PM
Personally, I can't imagine sleeping in close quarters in a tent cabin with a bunch of strangers. I have enough trouble getting sufficient sleep at home without all the distractions inside a tent cabin.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 05, 2013 05:44PM
Quote
tomdisco
Personally, I can't imagine sleeping in close quarters in a tent cabin with a bunch of strangers. I have enough trouble getting sufficient sleep at home without all the distractions inside a tent cabin.

It's almost certain to have someone snoring loud enough to cause before within a 5 mile radius to go sterile. I, for one, can't deal with that.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 05, 2013 07:02PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
tomdisco
Personally, I can't imagine sleeping in close quarters in a tent cabin with a bunch of strangers. I have enough trouble getting sufficient sleep at home without all the distractions inside a tent cabin.

It's almost certain to have someone snoring loud enough to cause before within a 5 mile radius to go sterile. I, for one, can't deal with that.

Two words: ear plugs.

(Don't leave home without them.) wink
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 06, 2013 02:02PM
Quote
plawrence
Two words: ear plugs

No, they keep me awake.
avatar Re: high camps in June?
March 07, 2013 10:31AM
Quote
tomdisco
Personally, I can't imagine sleeping in close quarters in a tent cabin with a bunch of strangers. I have enough trouble getting sufficient sleep at home without all the distractions inside a tent cabin.

I stayed at the Point Reyes Hostel once. I later figured out that it would have made more sense just to drive home and come back the next day, but it was an interesting experience. I forgot to bring a towel and proceeded to rent one (an old torn one to boot) for $1.

The thing is, there was no other male guest that night, so I had an entire men's dorm room all to myself. At the least, I was worried that maybe someone goes through my pack even though there wasn't anything terrible valuable in there. Who wants to worry about some klepto stealing your underwear? The only other guests that night were a mother and young daughter, and I barely saw them.
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