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Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!

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Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
May 31, 2013 08:51AM
Howdy yall.

I've been working pretty hard on planning an itinerary for my trip to Yosemite in June, but it's starting to really drive me nuts. I had originally wanted to hike the Grand Traverse Trail, which I've had to piece together from snippets of things I can find on the internet, starting at Fernandez Trailhead in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, hiking through to Tuolumne Meadows, but with the limited options for getting back to our vehicle, I've decided to ditch that trail and try to find something else. After finding about the backcountry and half dome permits, it's too much! So, I could really use some help. My girlfriend and I will be in Yosemite June 19th, and we'd like to do a backpacking trip of about consecutive 4-7 days, or possibly break it up into two hikes of 3 or so days. We're both in pretty average physical shape. We'd like down time at our campsites before night fall, so perhaps not much more than 10 miles a day. I would prefer to stick to someone that starts and ends on one of the more major roads in Yosemite, because we'll likely be hitchhiking from our car to the trailhead, since we'll be there in the middle of the week and the YARTS isn't running then. I'd like to see as much of Yosemite as I can within about 8-10 days. We'll spend the other day or so driving around, taking shorter day hikes etc. I know it's a lot to ask, but any direction would be greatly appreciated!
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
May 31, 2013 08:45PM
Why not consider Fernandez TH to over Fernandez Pass->Merced Pass->Red Peak Pass->Post and back to your car.

If you really want a Grand Traverse (I looked it up... surprise surprise... someone made it up to sell you on a trip for 2.5K).
then... go in on Isberg Trail... over Isberg Pass... down the Merced.... all the way to LYV and then climb back up and all
the way back to Fernandez Pass and out. That may be a bit too much though...
Let's see... if you did a lollipop and came out Post->Isberg... that's about 75 miles.

If you go over Red Peak Pass from Isberg..
Isberg->Red->Merced->Fernandez->Post->Isberg Passes... that is ... around 55 miles

Toreo14 is around RPP now... so we should be some first hand knowledge soon...

Another option is Bench Lake via Isberg TH... if you like a lot of xcountry... and some fording

If you want Yosemite.... maybe Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne from White Wolf to TM... and then hitchhike back to car.

There's just too much too see... don't expect to see everything... it takes many many many years to do that...
and even then... it's just not possible... there is just too much to see and explore...
Even if you've hiked every single trail in the park... you still have only touched the surface.

Best of luck planning... it's a daunting task.

Ask more if u like

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 01, 2013 12:01PM
If you do the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, you can park at Tuolumne and the Hiker's bus goes right to White Wolf, your car will be waiting when you finish.
You can probably do the reverse also but would be hiking to a specific deadline to catch the bus. I think the bus is $7 It is an amazing and fun hike (I will never use "epic" again! smiling smiley )
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 01, 2013 01:46AM
Thanks for the input! I'll check out your suggestions. I'm leaning more towards finding a one way situation so I can see more areas than doing a loop. I'm thinking of hiking out from Glacier Point trailhead towards Merced Lake to camp, then heading back towards the John Muir Trail towards Tuolumne Meadows. I'm thinking it may take about 5 days. I was hoping to get a permit for Half Dome along the way, but it seems unlikely this late in the game.
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 01, 2013 09:26AM
The first loop was huge... and you won't see the same stuff...

But yeah, GP is a great start. Plus you are killing 2 birds with one stone.
(anyone going to Yosemite should be going to GP and that big valley)

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 01, 2013 07:33AM
I second the Red Peak Pass loop suggestion. If you want to get a little of the "main" Yosemite highlights you could always start at Glacier Point, go up Illilouette, over to Ottoway Lakes, over the pass, then down the Merced River canyon. Take JMT or Nevada Falls trails to the Valley and hitch a ride or take Panorama trail back.
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 01, 2013 08:25PM
An easier idea: Visit GP. Park Mono MdsTH then MMTH - Merced Pass - Fernandez Pass - Post Peak Pass - high trail to Merced Lk - Nevada Falls - Mono Mds TH. Could work in a Half Dome hike.
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 05, 2013 07:55PM
Chick-On: the Fernandez TH loop, OR the Isberg TH loop, look pretty good. As luck woud have it, my Yosemite map has a big "Campgrounds in Yosemite NP" block right over what would be the road into the trailheads to these loops. Also, the trailheads themselves are obscured.

It looks like there are two possible routes: 1.) Isberg pass, Red peak, Merced, Fernandez, car. And 2.) going the other way, with a difference: Fernandez, Merced, Red, POST peak pass, and then car; that is NOT going back over Isberg and following Timber Creek but taking the trail south from Post Peak Pass and rejoining the Isberg trail later. (Sorry if this is confusing.)

So my questions: are there one or two trailheads to Isberg as opposed to Fernandez? Or do they share the same trailhead? Also, my car's air filter hates dirt roads; is the road in to one or the other paved? (Years ago I drove into Clover Meadows over miles of dirt, only to find that there was a paved road coming in from another direction....I'm not real good with back roads...) Finally, if you've hiked these routes, any preference?

Oh and I'm looking at the third week in June. At this point I'm assuming that snow won't be a real issue, but if you know of sketchy stretches on one trail or the other I'd be interested.

Thanks in advance for your--or anyone's--advice.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2013 08:14PM by hegel.
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 05, 2013 10:31PM
You can get over Isberg Pass from Fernandez TH by taking the Timer Creek Trail.
But you are climbing a lot more than what you need to compared to Isberg TH.
Thus my suggestions above.
If Fernandez TH... then Post Peak Pass->Red->Merced->Fernandez (or vice versa)
If Isberg TH.. then Isberg->Red->Merced->Fernandez->Post->Isberg

Just my suggestions.

Bunch of stuff I haven't done down that way... so can't say tooo much more.

Minarets road is the paved way to Clover. But it is a whole lot longer than
Beasore. Both are pretty scenic though.

Here's a map that I drew Isberg TH on for you and outlined a bunch of the trails:

I'd have to search all over to find it again online.

NG Yosemite SE Map is excellent for this area if that is not sufficient.
I know I bought it when I did Bench Canyon from Isberg.
There's lots of great stuff in Ansel outside the SE side of the park.
You can make a bunch of trips just in there w/o ever entering the park.

Have fun planning

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 06, 2013 07:07AM
A few more comments. Useless or not.

Just looked on the Yose Park Map and they don't even show the Timber Gap trail.
Don't know what that means. Probably not so good.
Be aware that there is a lot of pack stocking in that area. The main trails to all
those lakes will be downtrodden. You'll see loads of peeps if you go thru The Niche.
If you want solitude... take the Stevenson Trail. Didn't see a single person on that trail.
Only saw peeps in Bench Canyon (they came from 1000 area) and then
a large contingent once back near Niche. Stevenson Trail was a bit obscure in
places... but just incredibly gorgeous. I'm certain the trails east of Niche
will be harder to follow. Was just amazed at how had the entire area to myself...
but then again Yosemite is the same way once you get out there a bit and off the main zigs.

Someone was in that area-ish last year and wrote back. Looking...

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 06, 2013 07:11AM
Here it is:

I think I've been way too kind.

More in that realm:

And another from Jeffrey:

I had no trouble following the trail to Rattlesnake Lake.
Just never mentioned it at the time. YMMV

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/06/2013 07:17AM by chick-on.
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 06, 2013 02:06PM
Thanks for all the info.; you have been more than kind. Isberg trailhead is the same one that I used years ago to go over Hemlock Crossing bridge and then north to where the trail ends. This must be the Stevenson trail. ( I'm at lunch at work. ) I did it early in the season and saw only two other people. It was a bit hard to follow at times but not bad. Best bear hang tree ever at the end. I remember hiking in seeing what I think was the entrance to Bench Canyon on the other side of the river and thinking that would be pretty great to explore but the river was really high. I did day hike up to a knob overlooking Catherine Lake and 1000 is. There really is a lot of great country around that area that you could access on day hikes if you wanted.
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 06, 2013 05:45PM
Stevenson yes. Loved that trail. So you know what I'm talking about.

Dang. Go that way man. And then past Twin Island Lakes.... just gorgeous...
up Bench Cayon... and then back around... up Isberg and out..
O wait. That's what I did. smiling smiley Only in reverse.
I'd def. do that trip again. Only I would take 1 more day. It's the only time I can
remember that I really felt like poopy ... at Harriet Lake on day 1. Major headache.
No appetite. Ended up eating my potatoes cold after taking Ibuprofin and laying down.
Luckily felt great next 2 days.

If Roper hadn't written a book on it... my guess is you would have all of Bench Canyon to yourself.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 07, 2013 05:41PM
My idea was always to go into Bench Canyon just up from Stevenson Meadows, where the trail joins the outlet river/creek from Blue Lake, go to Blue Lake then over to Harriet Lake, then find the trail to Isberg.

Did you go to Bench Canyon from Twin Island Lakes? That's pretty impressive. I'm good up to class three, maybe. Also, my route finding abilities are sketchy. Following the outlet from Blue Lake looks easier than negotiating the area around Twin Island Lakes.

BUT the whole area around the end of the Stevenson trail is spectacular.

Anyway, this has been on my 'one day' list.
avatar Re: Help Needed Planning Extending Backpacking Trip!
June 07, 2013 08:12PM
Yup. I want to go that way too someday. The route past Twin Island is not difficult.
It's Roper's Sierra High Route. I still have the maps from that trek I took in the photoset.
If you look at the map of Twin Island and Blue Lake... you can see why Metric maps blow chunks.
Almost useless. Could be loads of cliffs... and you wouldn't have a clue looking at the map.
The only section in that trek I would really hesitate to do again was the drop from Isberg Peak
down to WL10217. If/when I go that-a-way again I'd prob. just not bust balls the first
day and instead just camp at McGee... and then go over Long Mountain on the 2nd.
Anywho. Have fun.

And YES, the whole area around the end of the Stevenson trail IS spectacular.

Chick-on is looking at you!
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