Welcome to the backpacking trails and topics forums for local and long-distance hikers along the Sierra Crest between Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.

These
Forums cover the TYT, PCT, & JMT and their associated and alternative routes. We explore the necessary backpacking skills, fitness, and gear required. All backpacking information posted here is linked to our related Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide. These forums are the "backend" of the Guide and Magazine. 

Purposes: Expand Knowledge, Explore Potential

for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape, and onto the High Sierra Trails. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest to get you started.

for Backpackers: To get you in longer, deeper, and higher. Train for the long trails. Find your next-steps trips. Hit the Long Trails. Find and explore side trails, alternative, and cross-country routes until you hike your skills into Winter compentency. Find your potential.

for Experts: All the information to bring yourself from anywhere in the US or world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney. The Sierra Nevada is the ultimate wonderland for expert backpackers in top shape. But don't get cocky! The Sierra is bigger, stronger, has been, and will be here much longer than any of us. 


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower: Williamson's Clarkia

Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower:
Williamson's Clarkia 
Williamson's Clarkia, a Purple and White High Sierra Wildflower.

June 30, 2013

5400 feet.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Little Red Spider on Moraine Ridge, Yosemite

Little Red Spider on Moraine Ridge, Yosemite

6960 feet near trail junction to Vernon Lake

Little red spider scurrying away across a great granite boulder.
Little red spider scurrying away across a great granite boulder.

A closer look at the little red spider.
A closer look at little red.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lizard, Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Lizard, Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Lizard sunning and observing me as I hike down through Lower Jack Main Canyon.
Observed Friday June 30, 2013

7740 feet of elevation in Jack Main Canyon below Wilmer Lake

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Checkerspot Butterfly in Jack Main Canyon, Backpacking Yosemite, Euphydras chalcedona?

Butterfly in Jack Main Canyon, Yosemite

Euphydras chalcedona? 
Orange Red, White, Checker Wing colors with distinctive Black Trim

Butterfly and bud the size of a tree to the tiny creature.

Observed Friday June 30, 2013

7720 feet of elevation in Jack Main Canyon below Wilmer Lake

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Lower Jack Main Canyon backpacking to Hetch Hetchy

Hiking
Lower
Jack Main Canyon
Backpacking to Hetch Hetchy from Wilmer Lake

Important Information

Alex Wierbinski's picture

HIGH SIERRA BIRD NEWS and IDENTIFICATION GUIDES

High Sierra Plant and Animal Identification Guides

 

 

Quick Reference 
High Sierra Bird Guides

 

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Tuolumne Meadows Store and Grill Staff & Managers in their Natural Habitat: The Twilight Lounge

Tuolumne Meadows Store & Grill and their Amazing Staffs

The quality of the store and grill at Tuolumne Meadows are the products of a fantastic staff well led, directed and motivated. There is something about the quality of the surroundings that draws quality folks over long periods of time.

The Store, Post Office, and Grill at Tuolumne Meadows.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tuolumne Meadows Employee Housing, markskor watercolor

Tuolumne Meadows Employee Housing,
markskor watercolor

Tuolumne Meadows Employee Housing, MarcSkor Watercolor.

Colors remind me of the impressionist artist, Gauguin, but focused into clarity as used by Pissarro.

Many thanks to Ansel for sharing his amazing perspective in so many ways.

Markskor on
HIGH SIERRA TOPIX

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Markskor's View of Tuolumne Meadows Facilities in Operation

Markskor's View of Tuolumne Meadows Facilities in Operation

A typical day at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, a MarcSkor Watercolor.

 Markskor's View of Tuolumne Meadows Facilities in Operation;

Tuolumne Meadows Store, Post Office, and Grill all reside under the big top tent.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Markskor's Yosemite Pencil: Royal Arches & Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall in Fall

Markskor's Yosemite Pencil: 
  Royal Arches & Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall

  Royal Arches & Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall in Fall

Markskor's Yosemite Pencil: Royal Arches & Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall in Fall?

Royal Arches on Backpacking Map of Yosemite Valley

 

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Markskor Yosemite Watercolor: Royal Arches & Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall in Fall

Markskor Yosemite Watercolor: Royal Arches Cascade Waterfall in Fall

 Arch 

Sweet.

I enjoy the subtle colors, transitions and shapes all indicative of the feelings of Fall Ansel has captured in this view.

Royal Arches on Wikipedia

Markskor on
HIGH SIERRA TOPIX

Alex Wierbinski's picture

North Dome Watercolor, markskor High Sierra Art.

North Dome Watercolor, markskor High Sierra Art.

North Dome, Yosemite National Park, watercolor by MarcSkor. 

 See  larger and differently lit versions of North Dome on the guide.

 

Marcskor on

High Sierra Topix

 

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Markskor Yosemite Art, Yellow Sky North Dome

Yellow Sky-North Dome-Yosemite by markskor.

Yellow Sky over North Dome, Yosemite.

I was struck by this image when I first saw it hanging in the Tuolumne Meadows Store.

The style and approach reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Roger Dean.

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Markskor High Sierra Nevada Watercolors

Markskor Gallery of High Sierra Experiences and Art

Markskor, also known by his trail name of Ansel, is a longtime resident of Mammoth Lakes who's life is centered on engaging,  reflecting, and sharing experience in the Sierra Nevada.

 Marc's reflections of Sierra Experience are multi-dimensional, including creating community and sharing knowledge, information, and wisdom through founding HST, High Sierra Topix, teaching Art, creating good social and community relationships, and creating Art.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Planning an Excellent Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Trip.

Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Planning Information 
Create the best Emigrant Wilderness backpacking plan. Use our Maps, miles, elevations and experience to craft your perfect trip.

 

I recently completed (Oct 8, 2016) the 2016 High Sierra Trails & Trail Culture Review.

This report has planning information for Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Trips from Kennedy Meadows to Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Common Rosefinch, (?) Observing and Idenifying High Sierra Birds

Common Rosefinch, (?)
Observing and Idenifying High Sierra Birds

Observed
July 16, 2016

Location
Tilden Lake, Yosemite National Park
The North Yosemite Backcountry

I am unclear as to the identity of this bird. You know? Tell me! I just call him "Little Red."

 See the bigger images on the trail guide entry at Tilden Lake.

 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Fly Catcher (?) High Sierra Birds, Lunch Meadow, Stanislaus National Forest

High Sierra Birds. Fly Catcher (?)  

Observing and attempting to identify High Sierra Birds.

Lunch Meadow, Stanislaus National Forest
Route of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail from Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows.

September 2, 2010

9000 feet of elevation

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Big Bumble Bees in Upper Lunch Meadow & Bumbler on Moraine Ridge

Big Bumble Bee in Upper Lunch Meadow

Emigrant Wilderness-Stanislaus National Forest

Sept 2, 2010

About 9200 feet of elevation,
above Mosquito Pass trail junction.

 Bumble Bee approaching Brown Bear Pass on the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in the North Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Trail Guide Information

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Western Tanager near Kennedy Meadows

Western Tanager near Kennedy Meadows 

July 11 2012

Highway 108 and road to Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

6278 feet of elevation.

Western Tanager along Highway 108 corridor.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

New Pacific Crest Trail signs across North Yosemite

NEW PCT EMBLEMS
 Take off your glasses-you can now find the PCT across Yosemite without them.

Yosemite National Park has installed HUGE new Pacific Crest Trail emblems on their trail  sign posts, at least across the North Yosemite Backcountry, as my personal observations indicate. 

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