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Information and tips to improve your back country and backpacking safety practices.
Bear encounter in Upper East Fork of the Carson River drainage. Bear wanted my food, but I kept it.
Hunter's Camp Bear Story
Above Hunters Camp there is a big boulder that provides an expansive view, where we can see all the way to Ebbetts Pass. I had ate dinner and made hot chocolate and retired to the boulder to watch the view change with the setting sun and have a relaxing smoke. Hunters Camp has exceptional sunsets.
Alex here, from Tahoe to Whitney.
Sorry about the delay contacting you. I have had a series of distracting personal events while Nature has cut loose. Nonetheless, I have been tracking the wild weather across the Backpacker News Pages on the Forum and the Backpacker's Calendar on the Trail Guide. I hope you've checked them out and found them useful and informative.
Recent Backpacker News
Thoughts and Guidelines
May 22, 2016
Unstable weather conditions bringing snow and cold rains down onto the two feet of snow already on the crest bring very dangerous conditions for early season backpackers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
April 8 2016
El Nino's concentration of super-hot waters have significantly moderated:
Sea Surface Temperatures
Status of Factors Directing El Nino
Winter Storm Pattern
High Sierra Safety News
Every year the Sierra experiences a different transition from Winter through Spring into Summer conditions. Every year there is a different pattern of "overlap" between the seasons, with bits of warm happening early, and bits of snow and rain happening late.
Huge Impact of Slight Changes in Temperatures:
West Nile virus killing millions more birds than previously thought, UCLA researchers find, November 2, 2015, University of Texas at Dallas.
Aedes japonicus mosquitoes found in western Canada, November 2, 2015, Entomological Society of America.
Watch Out for the Green Water
Do not drink, or allow your animals or children to drink from or play in water containing cynobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae. Review the information below and at the bottom of the page for identification and safety information.
Rising heat and declining waters are creating conditions even more favorable for cynobacteria,otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae.
First Winter Storm Warning for the Sierra Crest.
Issued: Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:40 AM GMT-0700
"WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY EVENING."
"SIGNIFICANT EARLY SEASON SNOW POSSIBLE LATE SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY EVENING FOR THE NORTHERN SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS"
Aggressive nonnative mosquitoes spreading across state carry disease risk,
Oct 24, 2015, LAT.
We've seen a steady progression of tropical insects and diseases enter the US over the past twenty years as warming accelerates its effects.
The entry of the Asian tiger mosquito and Aedes aegypti into California presages the entry and spread of a number of terrible tropical diseases we are not going to enjoy at all.
I always say that "everything will happen to you on the trail if you are on the trail long enough."
I've added another "happening" that was harrowing but informative. I frigging caught on fire. Let me set the scene.
In our introduction to planning our Tahoe to Yosemite and Tahoe to Whitney backpacking trips we intergrate developing our fitness and skills through training trips into our plans. Thus our plans reflect and acknowledge both our strengths and weaknesses.
Moved to Mountain Safety Forum
Close Encounter of the Cow Kind
As I was hiking down the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus on the unmaintained Tahoe to Yosemite Trail I picked up the enchanting sound of softly clanging cow bells bouncing off the rocky canyon walls until absorbed by the forest.
Fall Backpacking Considerations in the High Sierra
Fall is a beautiful time for backpacking the Sierra.
An informative article from Debra Bird's fine site,
Everything you need to know: Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac,
Earth-Sky, June , 2015.
High Sierra backpackers don't encounter much in the way of poison plants up high, but we can run into poison oak in the foothills.
Bubonic Plague in the High Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
This is typical of the language used on the State of California and County Health Department warnings posted on many Federal High Sierra Trailheads.
DO NOT FEED OR TOUCH RODENTS
CHIPMUNKS, GROUND SQUIRRELS, AND OTHER WILD RODENTS IN THIS AREA MAY BE INFECTED WITH PLAGUE.
Backpacking is Dangerous
Is backpacking dangerous?
High Sierra Water purity and contamination information and resources for backpackers.
Giardia and Cryptosporidium are generally recognized as the basic threats to backpacker water purity in the High Sierra. Our first line of defense is knowledge. Below we will get a range of information supporting a range of responses.
To treat or not to treat, that is the ultimate question.
Below Dr. Rockwell insists Sierra Water is safe, further down we see Dr. Derlet finding indications of widespread contamination.