early sept sierras trip

McKee80

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Feb 9, 2017
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219
Hi all,

I started backpacking because of a couple visits to Yosemite (dayhiking). I've spent the summer backpacking around PA/WV, always with an eye towards getting out there when an opportunity arose. And low and behold, a magical time/cost/family blessing window has opened up for me in a couple weeks. Flights and car are booked. My problem is that there is too much damned stuff to see, too many cool places to camp.

So, I was hoping someone with familiarity could help with some suggestions. I've been researching fervently and have some ideas.

I just started backpacking this year, I know how to use a map and compass (and have a GPS app that has worked great so far). I'm good with some cross country, but fine without it. I've hiked at elevation (Yosemite) without issue, but haven't backpacked. I'm going solo, which I have done several times, but not for this length of trip. I find myself planning routes that will kick my ass, just so I can see as much as possible. But I've found that I enjoy taking my time, setting up camp early and explolring, taking pictures and submerging myself in water. I enjoy the journey, but I enjoy the destination more, especially if is a beautiful, secluded (secret) campsite. I also seem to like picking up other people's garbage, which is weird (maybe it is just familiar feeling from cleaning up after my boys).

I get in to Las Vegas at 8:30 on Sept 6, get my rental car and go. Probably picking up a Bearikade in Bishop. I can get to the permit office for Inyo without a problem to pick up a walk-in for the next day. Thurs-Sun night in the backcountry. Early-ish exit on Monday to get back to Vegas for early Tuesday flight.

The current front-runner is Agnew Meadows -> 1000 island lake -> west side saddle to Garnet -> maybe across Nydiver to Ediza, otherwise the long way around -> Iceberg/Cecile if time. I've also looked at Big Pine North Fork and Sabrina Lake Basin, which were also suggested to me.

BUT, I saw that Tuolumne Meadows is only 30 minute more of a drive, so that has me thinking. There is something about Yosemite for me :). I'm not going to add the hours to the drive back to get to the valley or Glacier Point, I don't think.

I'm not sure how successful I will be on walk-in, getting there around 4:00 trying to pick one up for the next day. I was thinking of trying to get a trailhead that will get me to Cloud's Rest. All the reserved ones are gone. Does it make sense to reserve another trailhead (will it help if I am changing a permit rather than trying to get a new one)?

I know I'll be beyond thrilled just to be out there. And I think the 1000 island lakes loop would be amazing. I just don't want to leave any stones unturned. I don't know when the stars will align again :). I am super super stoked.

Thanks for any tidbits you have to offer! (Just saw how long this is, sorry about that. It might be longer than the trip report I did).

Sean
 

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
The map that follows has a trip I did way back in the day hey hey. :) It's pretty awesome, there should be no crowds because it is outside the wilderness areas. I still have very fond memories. Heck I may even go back before I kick it! You are going to turn off in Bishop to Highway 168.

Caution the road conditions are unpredictable when you turn off the highway. It's been a long time so things could have changed. Good luck. This one is a real gem.:twothumbs:

Click here to view on CalTopo
 

wsp_scott

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Can't answer any questions, but I'm so happy for this thread. I never would have thought Vegas was that close to the Sierra. When I was trying to figure out which airport to fly into, I was always focused on San Francisco or Sacramento. Off to price Vegas flights :)
 

McKee80

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Feb 9, 2017
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219
Can't answer any questions, but I'm so happy for this thread. I never would have thought Vegas was that close to the Sierra. When I was trying to figure out which airport to fly into, I was always focused on San Francisco or Sacramento. Off to price Vegas flights :)
I booked two weeks before and paid $120 round trip on southwest from Pittsburgh (bags free). It costs me $400+ usually for SAC or Fresno. It would be insanity to pass that up :)
 

Venchka

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Joined
Aug 6, 2015
Messages
330
Can't answer any questions, but I'm so happy for this thread. I never would have thought Vegas was that close to the Sierra. When I was trying to figure out which airport to fly into, I was always focused on San Francisco or Sacramento. Off to price Vegas flights :)

Get prices for Reno & Mammoth. Public bus service from both airports could save rental car money.
Actually, there is a local trolley/tram/bus from Mammoth to trailheads on the edge of town. Like maybe the PCT even. According to a PCT video I watched recently.
Wayne


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Dayhiker4

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May 2, 2017
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I can't help you with any overnight hikes, I mostly day hike in that area but I can help in other ways. I live in NW Las Vegas and drive over to Mammoth every now and then. I hate the drive through Death Valley so I always go North on 95 through Beatty to 266/Lida Junction to Calif State Route 168 to Big Pine. For me that's a 242 mile/4 hour drive and from there another 20 minutes to Bishop. If you go that way watch your gas since after Beatty the next gas will be Big Pine, They say there is gas in Dyer but that's going out of your way. If you get gas in Beatty go to Eddie's World next to the Motel 6. There is a Subway and candy (lots of candy) there. State Route 168 is a fun road to drive but take your time, its a narrow twisty road in sections.
Other things.
There is still snow in the high country. We hiked over Duck Pass to Duck Lake out of Coldwater Creek and there was still snow, none on that trail but be prepared. Check out High Sierra Topix forum for trail conditions and ideas. It is the best source of high Sierra info I know of.
September can be an interesting month with the weather so be prepared to make changes in your plans. Hopefully the mosquitoes will have died off by then.

YARTS run bus service between Mammoth Lakes and Tuolumne Meadows and the Valley. I've met a few backpackers who hiked the JMT entering at Agnew Meadows, exit at Tuolumne and take the bus back to Mammoth. I am not sure what the schedule is in September. And I really not sure how long a hike it is but I seem to think its 35 miles from Red's Meadow

Eastern Sierra Transit runs service in the Bishop/Bishop Creek area including one between North Lake and South Lake. South Lake has a backpackers parking lot next to Bishop Pass Trailhead. We were there August 16 but the mosquitoes were still bad so we went up to Mammoth and hiked.

Coffee? Black Sheep in Bishop they also have breakfast items, Stellar Brew in Mammoth. I am not a big Looney Bean Coffee fan.

Man that's long but I hope it helps
 

McKee80

Member
.
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
219
I can't help you with any overnight hikes, I mostly day hike in that area but I can help in other ways. I live in NW Las Vegas and drive over to Mammoth every now and then. I hate the drive through Death Valley so I always go North on 95 through Beatty to 266/Lida Junction to Calif State Route 168 to Big Pine. For me that's a 242 mile/4 hour drive and from there another 20 minutes to Bishop. If you go that way watch your gas since after Beatty the next gas will be Big Pine, They say there is gas in Dyer but that's going out of your way. If you get gas in Beatty go to Eddie's World next to the Motel 6. There is a Subway and candy (lots of candy) there. State Route 168 is a fun road to drive but take your time, its a narrow twisty road in sections.
Other things.
There is still snow in the high country. We hiked over Duck Pass to Duck Lake out of Coldwater Creek and there was still snow, none on that trail but be prepared. Check out High Sierra Topix forum for trail conditions and ideas. It is the best source of high Sierra info I know of.
September can be an interesting month with the weather so be prepared to make changes in your plans. Hopefully the mosquitoes will have died off by then.

YARTS run bus service between Mammoth Lakes and Tuolumne Meadows and the Valley. I've met a few backpackers who hiked the JMT entering at Agnew Meadows, exit at Tuolumne and take the bus back to Mammoth. I am not sure what the schedule is in September. And I really not sure how long a hike it is but I seem to think its 35 miles from Red's Meadow

Eastern Sierra Transit runs service in the Bishop/Bishop Creek area including one between North Lake and South Lake. South Lake has a backpackers parking lot next to Bishop Pass Trailhead. We were there August 16 but the mosquitoes were still bad so we went up to Mammoth and hiked.

Coffee? Black Sheep in Bishop they also have breakfast items, Stellar Brew in Mammoth. I am not a big Looney Bean Coffee fan.

Man that's long but I hope it helps
Wow! Thank you for all the info. That's really helpful. I'm hoping the mosquitoes are better, but I'm prepared in either case. I've got several backup plans and I'm prepared for the weather (or prepared to hike out of f I'm wrong).
 
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