Aug 5, 2020 at 2:27 pm #3669268Jimmy LegsBPL Member
I cancelled my CT thru hike due to Covid and variety of other factors. Then just planned a trip to the Winds in Early September but project delays have me thinking I need to plan a different trip. My trip in the winds involved crossing the divide a couple times (on trail) and I don’t feel experienced enough to do this trip later in late September/early October. I’m not a bit fatigued with trip planning…
What I’m looking for:
-alpine country, lakes, views, you get it
-little chance of being snowed in late septemeber/early october. I can bring my microspikes and I use trekking poles but nothing else for traveling in mountain snow.
-something in the range of 5 day 50-80 mile trip.
-on trail, no difficult navigation
-like most of you, I prefer as much seclusion as possible. I also like national forests for the lack of red tape.
Any recommendations?Aug 5, 2020 at 5:15 pm #3669301Gene CSpectator
@genecxLocale: SF Bay Area
NP, not NF, but my go-to for shoulder season mountains is the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite. It’s pretty empty and the permits are easy to get and its at a lower altitude than most of Yosemite.Aug 5, 2020 at 7:04 pm #3669312MinerBPL Member
Are you trying to avoid big snow or any snow? I’ve been snowed on in the Sierra Nevada a few times over the year during the 3rd week of september, usually just a few inches that melts off quickly (doesn’t happen every year). Don’t usually need microspikes or any other snow gear. Usually go back to the Sierra sometime in September every year as its a great time to be there. Did the JMT in 2017 from Sept 21 to Oct 6 that started off with a snow storm that was a bit bigger than normal. Didn’t stop my hike or require any extra gear. Great weather the rest of the trip.Aug 5, 2020 at 7:46 pm #3669319Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
” chance of being snowed in late septemeber/early october. I can bring my microspikes and I use trekking poles but nothing else for traveling in mountain snow.”
Like @miner said, the chance is very low. With a 5 day trip, your weather forecast should be fairly accurate. My favorite time to visit the Yosemite backcountry used to be the 2+ weeks after Labor Day.
No need for special gear even if it snows just good trip planning, common sense, and map and compass skills. In my experience with a couple of inches of snow on the ground if you are climbing or ascending, average speed decreases because I take more care with placing my feet.
There have been (RARELY) folks caught in freak snow storms that drop a lot of snow in late Sept, early Oct. That is when a detailed trip plan left with a responsible person back home comes in handy in case you need to hunker down and wait.Aug 6, 2020 at 11:02 am #3669378Jimmy LegsBPL Member
Gene – any particular trails there that you’ve experienced as less travelled? I may be completely wrong, but a quick google search makes me think Hetch Hetchy area is heavily populated.
Miner / Bruce – I don’t mind a couple inches of snow, just don’t want to get caught in a blizzard and deal with 36″ of snow…
So based on the input here, it appears that I’m much less likely to get dumped on in the Sierras in early October vs Rockies. I think I’ll start looking for something there. Thanks to all and I would still appreciate any other recommendations/advice.Aug 6, 2020 at 11:41 am #3669383Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Paul Wagner posts here a lot and has a web site where he has written many trip reports about various itineraries in the Sierra Nevada.
If you want off the beaten path, there was a report earlier in the week here on BPL about a trip to the Ruby Mtns in Nevada which as always been on my bucket list.
If you like fishing and lakes, you could do a loop out of Crabtree Meadows into the Emigrant Wilderness. The trailhead is off California SR104. You get a permit at Pinecrest and there is a backpackers camp at the TH.
Also if you like fishing and lakes and are taking a dog, you could do a loop into Little Lakes Valley out of the Mosquito Flat trailhead in the Eastern Sierras and explore the headwaters of Rock Creek which flows into the Owens River. You could extend such a loop by going over Mono Pass into the Mono Basin.
There are lots of nice loops out of Lake Thomas Edison in the Western Sierra Nevada at the eastern terminus of California SR168. The trailhead is called Vermillion Valley.
If you want to go over some big passes, there are loops out of South Fork (of Bishop Creek) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada at the western end of California SR 168. ( SR168 was planned as a trans sierra highway but was never finished).Sep 19, 2020 at 12:12 pm #3676799
Resurrecting this thread now that CA is pretty much out for the rest of the season.
What do you all know about Colorado in late September and October? I’m thinking the San Juan mountains, but could be anywhere. Also, I have a car and lots of time, so I could drive wherever. Further north than the San Juans seems riskier, or maybe there are reasons why it might not be?
I live in Arizona and so could do some desert-y things, but as with the OP, I am an alpine fan – and to be honest, I don’t have nearly as much experience with desert landscapes. And, water in late fall?
Differences between me and the OP: I have three weeks starting September 27; I prefer cross-country travel; and navigation is not a concern.
Maybe like the OP, I’m mostly looking for somewhere to do a long trip, maybe a couple of resupplies if necessary (though I can carry 12+ days of food), a lot of hard work (=elevation), . . . just want to get out there before winter comes along.Sep 19, 2020 at 9:47 pm #3676831Luke SchmidtBPL Member
The Lost Creek Wilderness is less dramatic then the San Juan Mountains but also lower elevation overall.
My friend and I did a Lost Creek trip in October once, I can’t remember exactly when. It was great until a storm dumped 6 inches of snow. We hiked out in case our car got snowed in at the trail head. I think it would work if you kept an eye on the weather. You could can bail to lower elevations pretty easily there. You might still have a long walk out but it would be more of an inconvenience than a safety issue. I would go heavier on insulation, longer evenings get chilly.Sep 23, 2020 at 7:02 pm #3677236Steven ThompsonBPL Member
With a clear weather report the CDT between Wolf Creek Pass and Elk Park or Silverton May be an option.
And don’t rule out the Sierra. As it cools and the fires get contained North Lake to South Lake or vice versa. Or down to Onion Valley. Options for cross country include entering via Lamarck Col, skipping Evolution Valley go Goddard Canyon instead and route from Davis Lakes to Wanda Lake or route from Martha Lake through Ionian Basin. South toward Onion Valley there is the SHR section through Palisades Basin and the skipping Rae Lakes and touting through 60 Lakes Basin.
And for that matter any section of or if you have a clear 3 week windows all of the SHR. (though options for resupply will be quite limited this late in the season)
Biggest challenge for these will be lining up a shuttle between trail heads.Sep 23, 2020 at 9:42 pm #3677246Cameron MBPL Member
@cameronm-aka-backstrokeLocale: Los Angeles
My permit just cancelled (again)
Inyo National Forest as well as many other National Forests in California are closed (effective 9/7/20) due to the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit.
This closure includes wilderness permits. Wilderness permits for 9/7/20 through 9/30/20 have been cancelled. This may be extended if needed. Permits canceled due to this closure will be refunded automatically through your recreation.gov account.Sep 24, 2020 at 7:40 am #3677267
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I’m afraid that the Sierra really looks like it is done for the season, though I could be wrong.
The weather looks good at least for a few days (can’t see beyond that with any confidence) starting this weekend in the San Juans. Anyone know about them? I have a few questions, thinking about starting at Endlich Mesa, working cross-country (and some trails) up to Silverton, resupplying, then heading back down if the weather holds . . .
**I have a Hyundai Accent, so some of the forest roads accessing Endlich Mesa are out. Also, I don’t want to park high, in case of snow. Know anywhere lowish that’s accessible to low-clearance 2WD, with a trail to Endlich Mesa? I’m having trouble finding legal parking near the Vallecito reservoir.
**Looks like most people do their cross-country adventures in the part of the range between Silverton and Endlich Mesa. Looks fantastic out there, but what about the other high-elevation bits of the San Juans? North of Silverton, is there too much 4WD access and other civilisation? What about the northeastern high country, around Table Mountain and San Luis Peak? Or, other ideas?
Thanks for the advice! (I also posted this on HST, since there seem to be different crowds here and there.)Sep 25, 2020 at 7:07 am #3677397obx hikerBPL Member
I’ve found this to be a useful tool: Total Accumulated Precip
Play around with it and you can see the forecast for how much and when.
Looks pretty good right now, a dusting the early am of the 28th and then nothing through the end of the forecast 10/11; but the weather is funny about following forecasts.Sep 25, 2020 at 8:16 am #3677402
Hey, thanks! That is very helpful.
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