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Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.

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Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 27, 2016 10:49PM
Hello all

I just moved to central valley area of CA, and I'm glad that now I have a chance to explore the Yosemite area time to time. My wife is also greatly excited to visit there, and she wants to go there within a few weeks.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/valleyhikes.htm
Are there any good combination of hike route for winter? With beautiful scenery, and low difficulty.

One thing to consider is, my wife is pregnant. We both enjoy ski and snowboard, but not this time... I don't want to take too dangerous risk, so we wish to try easy~moderate course. She can walk well, but too harsh courses would not that helpful for her and a baby. We don't have a snow shoes, but we will rent or purchase if it is needed. We are living in a place where it takes less than 1.5 hr from the park. So, we can do 1 day trip (or even 2 day trip during the weekend, but we are considering 1 day trip for now)

Do we need to make a reservation of bus or any other facilities? And snowshoes & snowsticks are essential? (If yes, are there any cheap but good rental shop?) Also, should I need to prepare bear spray and tire chain?

Thank you

Best,



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2016 10:50PM by sonics.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 27, 2016 11:04PM
Quote
sonics
Hello all

I just moved to central valley area of CA, and I'm glad that now I have a chance to explore the Yosemite area time to time. My wife is also greatly excited to visit there, and she wants to go there within a few weeks.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/valleyhikes.htm
Are there any good combination of hike route for winter? With beautiful scenery, and low difficulty.

One thing to consider is, my wife is pregnant. We both enjoy ski and snowboard, but not this time... I don't want to take too dangerous risk, so we wish to try easy~moderate course. She can walk well, but too harsh courses would not that helpful for her and a baby. We don't have a snow shoes, but we will rent or purchase if it is needed. We are living in a place where it takes less than 1.5 hr from the park. So, we can do 1 day trip (or even 2 day trip during the weekend, but we are considering 1 day trip for now)

Do we need to make a reservation of bus or any other facilities? And snowshoes & snowsticks are essential? (If yes, are there any cheap but good rental shop?) Also, should I need to prepare bear spray and tire chain?

Thank you

Best,

I wish I lived that close to Yose...

Considering your wife is pregnant, you could just take a nice stroll around the valley. Just park your car along any the meadows and go on parts of the Valley loop. Bridaveil falls is a short nice one too! That and the trail out to mirror lake is relatively flat. Just for safety reasons, I'd also consider bringing along some sort of traction devices like yak trax or microspikes if it just snowed. (Others will provide more input)

Also see this thread for some other recommendations --> http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,82753,82824#msg-82824

Regarding other gear, you won't need snow shoes inside the Valley but if you want to snowshoe just drive up to Badger pass (soon to be renamed) and you could rent snowshoes there. To my knowledge, bear spray is not legal in any of the California National Parks . You won't need it anyways as this isn't Montana or Wyoming! Tire chains you will need. Gone to Yose about 3 times this winter and each time I had to put chains on.

Here's some pics from our trip to Yose to get you excited!






Hope that helps!
Kevin
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 27, 2016 11:28PM
Thank you very much for all those hints and advises Kevin. Pictures are really awesome. I can't really wait to see the beauty of the nature. I will discuss with my wife about the plan, but I think she will like the Valley loop. Depending on her condition, we may go for half loop course.

We don't have the expensive outdoor boots, but we do have waterproof leather boots. Would it be fine with yak trax or micro spikes on those waterproof boots? And I will get the snow chain for my tires.

I didn't know that the bear sprays are not allowed in CA. Again, I'm new to here XD.

I heard of the bear-proof lunch box. Should I need to buy one? Or it would be more better to use snack bar or restaurant in the Park?

Again, thank you so much for all those info.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 27, 2016 11:31PM
Hey Sonic,

Someone can correct me here If I'm wrong but the yose bears are pretty damn shy. You shouldn't have any problems with bears in the valley at this time. Just don't leave your food by itself!

Microspikes/Yak Trax will work fine with your boots. They are like less aggressive mini crampons!



-Kevin
avatar Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 28, 2016 10:44AM
Quote
sonics
I heard of the bear-proof lunch box. Should I need to buy one? Or it would be more better to use snack bar or restaurant in the Park?

Again, thank you so much for all those info.

You can bring food, but food or coolers can't be stored in your parked car at night, and needs to be in your trunk during the day. Bears typically don't break into cars during the day. They prefer night when human activity is lower and people are asleep.

Quote

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bears.htm

You may store food inside your car (out of sight, with windows completely closed) only during daylight hours. You may not leave food in a pickup truck bed or strapped to the outside of a vehicle at any time.

And what do you mean by a bear-proof lunch box? I have bear canisters, but those are for backpacking. They're not supposed to be stashed in a backpack when in camp, but they can be stored outside. A bear might bat one around trying to defeat it, but apparently quite a few have learned that it isn't the effort and save their energy. Storing them in a car would do nothing. If a bear smells the food it might still try breaking into you vehicle.
avatar Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 28, 2016 10:38AM
Quote
sonics
Hello all

I just moved to central valley area of CA, and I'm glad that now I have a chance to explore the Yosemite area time to time. My wife is also greatly excited to visit there, and she wants to go there within a few weeks.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/valleyhikes.htm
Are there any good combination of hike route for winter? With beautiful scenery, and low difficulty.

One thing to consider is, my wife is pregnant. We both enjoy ski and snowboard, but not this time... I don't want to take too dangerous risk, so we wish to try easy~moderate course. She can walk well, but too harsh courses would not that helpful for her and a baby. We don't have a snow shoes, but we will rent or purchase if it is needed. We are living in a place where it takes less than 1.5 hr from the park. So, we can do 1 day trip (or even 2 day trip during the weekend, but we are considering 1 day trip for now)

Do we need to make a reservation of bus or any other facilities? And snowshoes & snowsticks are essential? (If yes, are there any cheap but good rental shop?) Also, should I need to prepare bear spray and tire chain?

Thank you

Best,

Bear spray is legal in California, but it's considered a weapon not allowed by NPS regulations. The only exception is firearms because of a certain rider to a credit card bill. You can have bear spray in your vehicle, but not on your person and ready to use. The National Park Service allows park superintendents to allow them in specific parks, and that's the case in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, national parks in Alaska, etc where brown bears may be encountered. You could carry bear spray with you outside the park, such as on Forest Service land. It's also illegal to use bear spray against a person, but I think the law might be lenient if it's justifiable self-defense. Personal pepper spray is required to be less than 2.5 oz by law.

As for snowshoeing, there is a daily ranger-guided snowshoe walk at the (at least for now) Badger Pass area at 10:30 AM.

Quote

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/yg16-1.pdf

Snowshoe Walk – Explore the Forest in Winter 2 hrs. Conditions permitting, meet at Badger Pass office A-frame for naturalist tour of winter landscape. Bring warm clothing; Snowshoes provided. (NPS)

It seems a bit different than when I did it. Back then they said they came with a suggested $5 donation to get to a snowshoe repair fund. They might still ask, but my understanding was that it was always optional to pay.

If you're driving in then don't worry about reserving any bus. The Valley shuttle is still operating and is free.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
January 28, 2016 01:49PM
Welcome. I don't know how pregnant your wife is but you might want to start off visiting Yosemite Valley first and she how she is feeling. If she is OK walking around the valley then you could go to Badger Pass, which starts at 7200 feet and see how she feels. Even if she is used to high elevations, being pregnant she might be huffing and puffing a bit more than usual. We had a trip planned to the Tetons and Yellowstone planned before I became pregnant and I was concerned about going with us flying into Jackson which is at 6800 feet and it was also considered a high risk pregnancy. I was less than 3 months along and my OBGYN said that it would be OK if I started off slowly and made extra sure I stayed hydrated and ate often. It was good advice and while I got a bit winded more easily than I usually did when we have been there before, the trip went well and we had a great time and got to get some great hikes in.

When we were there in December it was icy at times so having Trax is a good idea.

We bring snacks and food with us in the car but like ypw said, make sure it is stored in the trunk and that you don't leave it in the car at night. Don't leave your food outside unattended and you will be fine. We always enjoy the sandwiches at Degans Deli and many people here are fans of the Curry Pizza Deck if you want to have a meal in the park. Like most national parks, food in the park is expensive. If money is not an issue then lunch at The Ahwahnee is nice or dinner at the Mountain Room. You can see their menus at www.yosemitepark.com. The new concessionaire takes over on March 1 and I don't know if they will change things right away.

I don't have special winter boots and just wear my leather gore tex lined hiking boots with thicker socks in the winter.

Have a great time.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 02, 2016 07:53AM
You are so lucky to live that close! With a pregnant wife, I would stick to the valley trails as mentioned. They can be wonderful in winter! Leave your car at (long live!) Curry Village and walk all the way to the visitor's center and back. Then park at the Visitor's center and walk to Bridalveil falls and back. You can do those in a day, but my choice would be to linger and do one a day. You can add Mirror Lake to the first loop for a longer hike. 1.5 hours drive home oh how I envy you!

Of course get the annual pass. I would be going every weekend! Have fun!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2016 07:53AM by hotrod4x5.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 22, 2016 10:40AM
How was your trip?
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 04, 2016 03:08PM
Thank you so much Kevin D, YPW, Parklover, and hotrod 4x5. Broadcast says that the weather of Yosemite at this weekend will be fine, so we will give a try this Saturday. Finally, for the first time in my life, I have a chance to visit this beautiful place. So happy smiling smiley

Tire chain + Yak Trax are ready. I will rent hiking stick or I can get one from nearby. We don't have a bear canister yet, so we will gonna grab a simple lunch inside a park or near the park. But I wish to carry a coffee in a vacuumed thermo bottle.... Is this allowed?

About the Badger pass, I'm still not sure whether my wife is ok or not. She is 21 week pregnant now, and I think it would not be dangerous, but I don't want to take a risk. So, we will gonna try valley trails, and Bridalveil falls. If she is fine with those courses, than I will try Badgers pass next time. I really wish to visit the park as much as possible. Annual pass might be a good investment smiling smiley

Again, thank you so much everyone.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2016 03:10PM by sonics.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 04, 2016 06:01PM
Quote
sonics
Thank you so much Kevin D, YPW, Parklover, and hotrod 4x5. Broadcast says that the weather of Yosemite at this weekend will be fine, so we will give a try this Saturday. Finally, for the first time in my life, I have a chance to visit this beautiful place. So happy smiling smiley

Tire chain + Yak Trax are ready. I will rent hiking stick or I can get one from nearby. We don't have a bear canister yet, so we will gonna grab a simple lunch inside a park or near the park. But I wish to carry a coffee in a vacuumed thermo bottle.... Is this allowed?

About the Badger pass, I'm still not sure whether my wife is ok or not. She is 21 week pregnant now, and I think it would not be dangerous, but I don't want to take a risk. So, we will gonna try valley trails, and Bridalveil falls. If she is fine with those courses, than I will try Badgers pass next time. I really wish to visit the park as much as possible. Annual pass might be a good investment smiling smiley

Again, thank you so much everyone.

Glad I could be of help. If you want to take food, I would not worry about not having a bear canister. We always have snacks in the car during the day when we are in Yosemite. As long as you keep food/food related items in your trunk (or if you don't have a trunk have it covered with a blanket) and you don't leave the food/ a cooler or anything food related like napkins, plates, trash or items you used to cook food with, in the car when it is dark you will be OK. If you take coffee in a thermos also keep that out of sight. If you are worried about food in the car, the last time we were there, I noticed that there were bear boxes in the orchard part of parking at Curry, you could put it in there.

Since your wife is 21 weeks and if it is a healthy pregnancy, you could always drive up to Badger if you really feel the need to see it, park and then walk around and see how she feels. If it bothers her then it doesn't take that long to drive back to a lower elevation. If you are concerned about it you can always go another time.

Since you live so close and most likely will want to go to Yosemite again, I would buy a yearly pass. The yearly pass just for Yosemite is $60 but if you spend just $20 more you can get the pass that will get you into all the national park units and federal lands for a year.

Have a great time.
avatar Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 04, 2016 07:38PM
Quote
sonics
Thank you so much Kevin D, YPW, Parklover, and hotrod 4x5. Broadcast says that the weather of Yosemite at this weekend will be fine, so we will give a try this Saturday. Finally, for the first time in my life, I have a chance to visit this beautiful place. So happy smiling smiley

Tire chain + Yak Trax are ready. I will rent hiking stick or I can get one from nearby. We don't have a bear canister yet, so we will gonna grab a simple lunch inside a park or near the park. But I wish to carry a coffee in a vacuumed thermo bottle.... Is this allowed?

About the Badger pass, I'm still not sure whether my wife is ok or not. She is 21 week pregnant now, and I think it would not be dangerous, but I don't want to take a risk. So, we will gonna try valley trails, and Bridalveil falls. If she is fine with those courses, than I will try Badgers pass next time. I really wish to visit the park as much as possible. Annual pass might be a good investment smiling smiley

Again, thank you so much everyone.

I've bought YakTrak before but never wore them. They seemed kind of slippery when I tried them on a carpet or tile, but I suppose the coils need to be roughed up a bit. My understanding is that they work best on hard packed snow, but don't do so well on ice. When I went to Yosemite in winter, I used Get-A-Grips, which were mainly for use on ice. They had several carbide studs in these little pucks that were placed in the rubber base. I also managed to lose one, but strangely enough someone else found it and returned it to me. I remember an icy sidewalk, and I literally could stay planted as the stud bit into the ice.

Again, you really don't need a bear canister unless you're going backpacking. Even then, during winter the bears aren't terribly active anyways, although they do occasionally come out of their sleep and go looking for food. It would be pretty much useless in your car, and if you're just out and about a bag should be fine. Bear canisters are really only needed because backpackers set up camp. You leave it there where it won't roll away, and often bears have been so accustomed to not getting anything out of them that they just pass them by. It would be pretty useless to store your food in a bear canister in your car. They can still smell it and break into your car anyways. Again, the simple rule is out of sight during the day, and out of your car at night.
avatar Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 05, 2016 06:25PM
Quote
y_p_w
I've bought YakTrak before but never wore them.

They worked great during a Christmas walk on Tenaya Lake a few years ago. Without I was only able to get out on the lake by holding my tripod.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 05, 2016 10:49PM
Thank you so much parklover, YPW, and eeek

I didn't know that I can drive up to the Badger pass... Well, if we have time after valley loop trail hike, and if she feels ok, then I will try there. If not, oh well, than we can come next or next next week. $80 would be a good investment for travel around, I will consider that.

Regarding foods, anyway we don't need the bear canister for tomorrow, since we will just go to restaurant. But if we plan to bring our own lunchbox in the packpack, I will consider one. I heard that valley visitor center rents a one during winter, so I will check there. Or, we can just put the foods in the trunk, and we won't need bear canister for a day tripsmiling smiley

Thank you everyone~!
avatar Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 06, 2016 11:19AM
Quote
sonics
Thank you so much parklover, YPW, and eeek

I didn't know that I can drive up to the Badger pass... Well, if we have time after valley loop trail hike, and if she feels ok, then I will try there. If not, oh well, than we can come next or next next week. $80 would be a good investment for travel around, I will consider that.

Regarding foods, anyway we don't need the bear canister for tomorrow, since we will just go to restaurant. But if we plan to bring our own lunchbox in the packpack, I will consider one. I heard that valley visitor center rents a one during winter, so I will check there. Or, we can just put the foods in the trunk, and we won't need bear canister for a day tripsmiling smiley

Thank you everyone~!

Again, a bear canister is pretty much only useful for overnight backpacking. If you're just driving in and leaving for the day, you won't need one. Also at this time of year bear activity is low. Also - they won't rent you a bear canister unless you have an overnight wilderness (i.e. backpacking) permit. Just keep your food with you or in your trunk during daylight hours and you'll be fine.

The way it works is that they need to be stored separately from a pack when setting up camp. Typically it's recommended to keep the pack open to let bears see what's in them. Otherwise bears may just haul away the entire pack; I met a kid who had that happen to him.
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 06, 2016 03:45PM
Quote
sonics
Thank you so much parklover, YPW, and eeek

I didn't know that I can drive up to the Badger pass... Well, if we have time after valley loop trail hike, and if she feels ok, then I will try there. If not, oh well, than we can come next or next next week. $80 would be a good investment for travel around, I will consider that.

Regarding foods, anyway we don't need the bear canister for tomorrow, since we will just go to restaurant. But if we plan to bring our own lunchbox in the packpack, I will consider one. I heard that valley visitor center rents a one during winter, so I will check there. Or, we can just put the foods in the trunk, and we won't need bear canister for a day tripsmiling smiley

Thank you everyone~!

I hope you had fun on your trip. Just to reiterate, unless you are backpacking, a bear canister is not needed. Even if you have a bear canister it has to be treated just like a cooler and bags of food, and removed from you car at night and stored properly in a bear box or in hard sided lodging.

One thing I didn't mention about Badger Pass is that you can only drive to the ski area when it is opened during ski season. In the summer they block off the part of the road that goes to the ski area but if you find a safe place to park the car along Glacier Pt. Rd. you can hike/walk to the area. When the ski area is opened, they shut down the lifts at 4 and the rest of the facilities start closing for the evening after that so if you want to go there you need to get there before 4. pm. In the winter there is no close parking along Glacier Pt road so you have to park at the ski area .
Re: Noob's questions regarding winter hike at yosemite.
February 06, 2016 02:39PM
Everyone has covered it, but I will confirm a bear canister is not needed for the type of visitation you describe. I have been going to the park for over 20 years and only one time did I rent a canister, when I went backpacking in the high country. I always bring a cooler stuffed with food and several bags of food and have never had a problem. If you are staying over night, you will be provided with a bear locker or you'll be in a hard sided unit. Either is fine for your food at night. During the day, it is fine to leave some food inside the car as long as you will be returning to the car before dusk. If not, then leave the food in a free bear locker at Curry Village parking lot.

I have had much success with Yak Traks as far as traction. They do tend to wear out though, so don't expect to get a lot of year's usage out of a pair. Buy them on Amazon usually for the cheapest prices.
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