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Surly official camping and backpacking thread

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Holy shit I got my day.  March 23, 2020.  It's not officially approved yet (takes 1-3 weeks to review applications for mistakes), but no reason it shouldn't be approved.  This is fucking wild.  Now I'm going to go climb Half Dome.  Yeah bitches!

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Sweet!  Just flew down the Central Valley about an hour ago. Saw Half Dome and El Cap from the air and it looks like Yosemite isn’t as smokey as the rest of the state. 

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Ok, so Half Dome got cancelled due to forecast of teens at camp and 10 degrees in the morning on Half Dome.  Bummed, but it was the right call to bail.  Did the Mist trail the next day up to Nevada Falls and then down the JMT back to the valley.  Also hit the trail up to May Lake and then a route-finding trail up to the summit of Mt Hoffmann.  Will post pics as soon as I get them sorted and cleaned up.

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Half Dome is sweet, but I've always thought Cloud's Rest was a better hike (with a better view, and no cables)

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On 10/29/2019 at 2:22 PM, Biff Tannen said:

Holy shit I got my day.  March 23, 2020.  It's not officially approved yet (takes 1-3 weeks to review applications for mistakes), but no reason it shouldn't be approved.  This is fucking wild.  Now I'm going to go climb Half Dome.  Yeah bitches!

 

You have to apply for a permit to hike the PCT now? How does that work?

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2 hours ago, High Plains Drifter said:

 

You have to apply for a permit to hike the PCT now? How does that work?

Yep. They allow 50 people per day to start from the Mexican border. Just too many people doing it now so they have to spread people out. 10 years ago there were less than 300 people per year going northbound. Now it’s upwards of 2000. 
 

There is a designated permit application day, which this year was October 29th, and you go to the online portal and get assigned a place in line. When it’s your turn you see what dates aren’t full and choose what you want and put in your info. Basically name, address, start and end date. You submit, they review for mistakes, and permits are officially doled out a few weeks later. 

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So am I correct in that, I can go over to Pine Springs campground, set up camp and hike around the area as I please for a few days and do the summit? I want to go over there for a few days next week because I'm off and it sounds like during the week I should be able to get a  spot there.  Big Bend seems like it might take more planning, but if it would be better, even without much of a plan, I'd be up for that. 

I do have 4X4 (just a stock Grand Cherokee) if that opens things up at all. I saw some stuff online about BB where they say you need 4x4, but can't find much that talks about how rough those areas are to drive through. And the backcountry spots I saw just looked like big sites for groups. 

Really, since I'm inexperienced, I'd like to have a base where my vehicle and everything I need is and just hike trails during the day, with maybe a backpacking  night away from my camp. But that part isn't necessary, just sounds like fun. That's why Pine Springs maybe sounded like the easiest (logistics wise) for a first timer, but I don't know shit about things over there besides what I've read, and that hasn't been terribly informative. 

Also, I'm in decent shape. Not great, but a good trek isn't going to kill me. 

 

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Just happened right after I typed that, they did a segment on the Today Show about Yosemite thinking about bringing in WIFI, food trucks, and Amazon delievery to campsites. I didn't realize they already had a Starbucks there. Guess it shouldn't surprise me on that one. But Amazon delivery to campers there? Jesus

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27 minutes ago, BBQ2Bayou said:

Guess it shouldn't surprise me on that one. But Amazon delivery to campers there? Jesus

Big brother knows where everyone is...... all the time.

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29 minutes ago, BBQ2Bayou said:

Just happened right after I typed that, they did a segment on the Today Show about Yosemite thinking about bringing in WIFI, food trucks, and Amazon delievery to campsites. I didn't realize they already had a Starbucks there. Guess it shouldn't surprise me on that one. But Amazon delivery to campers there? Jesus

Wifi, ok, I guess.  There's already pretty good cell service throughout most of the valley floor.  Everything else can fuck off.

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1 hour ago, BBQ2Bayou said:

So am I correct in that, I can go over to Pine Springs campground, set up camp and hike around the area as I please for a few days and do the summit? I want to go over there for a few days next week because I'm off and it sounds like during the week I should be able to get a  spot there.  Big Bend seems like it might take more planning, but if it would be better, even without much of a plan, I'd be up for that. 

I do have 4X4 (just a stock Grand Cherokee) if that opens things up at all. I saw some stuff online about BB where they say you need 4x4, but can't find much that talks about how rough those areas are to drive through. And the backcountry spots I saw just looked like big sites for groups. 

Really, since I'm inexperienced, I'd like to have a base where my vehicle and everything I need is and just hike trails during the day, with maybe a backpacking  night away from my camp. But that part isn't necessary, just sounds like fun. That's why Pine Springs maybe sounded like the easiest (logistics wise) for a first timer, but I don't know shit about things over there besides what I've read, and that hasn't been terribly informative. 

Also, I'm in decent shape. Not great, but a good trek isn't going to kill me. 

 

Most of the roads to the backcountry campsites at Big Bend say you need a 4x4, but I didn't have any problem in my 2x4 truck when I went. The backcountry campsites are basically just a cleared area with a spot to park and pitch a tent and a bear box to put your food in. Usually there isn't another campsite in sight, so you get some nice solitude. You can't, however, have a permit for a drive up backcountry campsite and a backpacking campsite for the same night, so you have to pack everything up before going on any overnight hiking trips. All backcountry permits are issued in person first come first served, so make sure you get to the ranger station right when they open if there is a particular site you want and it is a busy weekend. Have a few different locations picked out in case someone already has one you want.

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7 minutes ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Most of the roads to the backcountry campsites at Big Bend say you need a 4x4, but I didn't have any problem in my 2x4 truck when I went. The backcountry campsites are basically just a cleared area with a spot to park and pitch a tent and a bear box to put your food in. Usually there isn't another campsite in sight, so you get some nice solitude. You can't, however, have a permit for a drive up backcountry campsite and a backpacking campsite for the same night, so you have to pack everything up before going on any overnight hiking trips. All backcountry permits are issued in person first come first served, so make sure you get to the ranger station right when they open if there is a particular site you want and it is a busy weekend. Have a few different locations picked out in case someone already has one you want.

Thanks. And this is why I was thinking Guadalupe would be a better few day trip without much planning. From what I read, Pine Springs is just first come, first served and shouldn't be a problem getting a spot during the week. Seems like I would have a little more flexibility doing that? 

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10 hours ago, Biff Tannen said:

Yep. They allow 50 people per day to start from the Mexican border. Just too many people doing it now so they have to spread people out. 10 years ago there were less than 300 people per year going northbound. Now it’s upwards of 2000. 
 

There is a designated permit application day, which this year was October 29th, and you go to the online portal and get assigned a place in line. When it’s your turn you see what dates aren’t full and choose what you want and put in your info. Basically name, address, start and end date. You submit, they review for mistakes, and permits are officially doled out a few weeks later. 

 

Thanks for the response.

Those are  crazy numbers. Glad you got a permit. Good luck. I'm envious.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, BBQ2Bayou said:

Thanks. And this is why I was thinking Guadalupe would be a better few day trip without much planning. From what I read, Pine Springs is just first come, first served and shouldn't be a problem getting a spot during the week. Seems like I would have a little more flexibility doing that? 

This time of the year, unless its a weekend, you won't have a problem getting a campsite at BB. Or Guad.

 

I believe BB has gotten some rain recently. They might close the unpaved roads if the mud is too bad.

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7 minutes ago, High Plains Drifter said:

Biff, do you have a trail name yet?

Nope.  Haven't done a long trail yet, so haven't been in the world of trail names.  

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Ok let's try this out.  Hiked up to May Lake and then summitted Mt Hoffmann one day, per a Ranger's recommendation.  Tough hike up to over 10k feet, but great views.

 

 

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The next day we did the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, then took the JMT back down to the valley.

 

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Vernal Falls

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Nevada Falls

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Looking back at the top of Nevada Falls from the JMT

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Edited by Biff Tannen

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So lets say you had 4-5 days after Xmas, with no plans, and a departure point of Lubbock. Where might you spend a few days camping/hiking? 8 hours drive time is pretty easy, so say within that range. Sand Dunes NP? Gila NF? Tons/RR area? take the easy way out and Lincoln NF? My brother and I are tossing around ideas, and would love to hear y'alls thoughts.

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Hell yeah! Great choices. I have done both of those myself (except submitting Hoffman) and they have been some of my favorite scenery anywhere.



Err, summiting*.

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Ok, last ones.  Had to get El Cap in there.

IMG_0435.thumb.jpg.026478ee3a02819f4a0c51603142c97b.jpg

 

Bridal Veil still flowing a bit.  The fall colors were great and changed literally every day.

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Another from Glacier Point.  Photo can't convey the actual depth or scale.  It's breathtaking.

IMG_0250.thumb.jpg.68d666a34f0ad757fc6413de4b245a98.jpg

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On 11/12/2019 at 11:59 AM, UnivTex34 said:

So lets say you had 4-5 days after Xmas, with no plans, and a departure point of Lubbock. Where might you spend a few days camping/hiking? 8 hours drive time is pretty easy, so say within that range. Sand Dunes NP? Gila NF? Tons/RR area? take the easy way out and Lincoln NF? My brother and I are tossing around ideas, and would love to hear y'alls thoughts.

Didn't mean to let this get lost in the Yosemite pics.  Gila is supposed to be amazing, but I have no experience in the winter.  South has to be the option I would think.  I would have to say Big Bend if you're starting from Lubbock.  Weather in theory will be ok and crowds to a minimum?  

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around christmas is one of the busiest times of the year at big bend. you should still be able to find a camping spot as long as you're ok with backcountry. 

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We have done Big Bend multiple times at that point of the year. I'm in Austin, brother lives in Houston. Having the jumping off point in Lubbock was supposed to get us further west/north.

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Just now, Anton Chigurh said:

Lincoln NF/Cloudcroft, Mesa Verde/SW Colorado could work, but it’ll be pretty dang cold.

Yeah, this may be a last minute decision, based on the warmest spot. Also, just realized in my original post autocorrect got me Tons = Taos.

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