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Alex Wierbinski's blog | High Sierra Backpacker

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Alex Wierbinski's blog


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Bear News and Research sticky icon

 

The repository of Bear news, research, and stories we come across.

I've written about my experiences with High Sierra Black Bear Behavior in the Trail and Camp Skills section of the Trail Guide. Remember, bears act differently in different locations, and can be quite unpredictable in most situations.

Most times we can figure out what they want, and that typically boils down to two things: Food, and/or to be "left alone." Bears have personalities and feelings, which make them almost as unpredictable as that most deadly of beasts, humans. Almost...

 

   Latest Update

 

 October 26, 2018

BEARS

How to Get Along with Bears

Conservationists predict bear/human conflict hot-spots

 

 

 

 July 10

 

Yosemite Bear Activity

Summer 2018

Yosemite Bear Facts, June 17 – June 30, 2018

 

 

 

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Bee News sticky icon

Bee News 

BEE WORRIED

Insect Identification

Latest All Bug News

 

BEE NEWS

THE BUZZ

2019

Updated

 

July 27

GLOBAL BEE DISASTER EMERGING

Russian Bee Losses Make Bee Decline a Global Situation

Russia Alarmed by Large Fall in Bee Populations

 

 

July 26

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Bee-Flower Mismatches Rising with Temperatures

How Climate Change Disrupts Relationships

 

 

 

July 12

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Big Jap Bumbler & Its Timed Plant Pal Demonstrate That...

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News of Health Science, Fitness, the Human Past, Potential & Pitfalls for Backpackers sticky icon

 Health, Fitness, & The Human Condition 
News and Science

Updated

December 21

 

Latest News Below

 

2018 Health & Fitness News

 

Our goal here is to provide the best information how to deal with internal and external threats to your health. But why?

 

FIELD GRADE
Our greater goal is to attain "Field Conditioning." Field Conditioning is an advanced state of fitness where we are capable of moving and operating effectively across great distances over all types of terrain, at high or low altitude, in hot, cold, wet, or dry conditions over extended time spans, under all seasonal conditions, while carrying the weight required to withstand these environmental conditions, feed ourselves well, and safely reach our goal. 

In "Field" status we can take some shots and keep rocking. But this is an "ideal" state of conditioning that is typically achieved by well-trained backpackers during their trips.

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Looking into the Mirror of Life sticky icon

ASTRONOMY, PHYSICS
&
Really Big and Really Small Scale Sciences

The Fundamental Nature of Reality Big to Small... 

We follow Astro-physics and Science for fun, because the Nature of Life itself is pretty darn entertaining on its own merits. Understanding the Nature and construction of our reality is a pragmatic move for all its "operators," but especially for backpacker's finding context in, and navigating the terrain to both ascertain & clarify our place in the Universe.

Interestingly enough, we have to understand the fundamental motions & relationships within the Universe around us to find our precise position on this Earth, to understand our context within its Nature, and how we can or cannot fit perfectly into the greater Universe around us.

We follow science to better understand ourselves and our choices.

 

 

Last Updated 

 August 31 2017

 

Covering Astrophysics
from
October of 2015 through August of 2017

SEE BELOW

 


  NEXT
Looking Into the Mirror of Life, 2017, II

 

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BUTTERFLY NEWS sticky icon

Video embed: 
See video

Endless Butterflies Video

 

Identification
Art Shapiro High Sierra Butterfly Identification by Common Name

 

Trail Guide
High Sierra Butterfly Identification & Resources

 

Review
High Sierra Nevada All Living Things Forum

 

 

BUTTERFLY NEWS
 The whole web of life is being distorted by the  changing character of the seasons on and around the the vastness of the North Pacific Ocean.

 The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is a significant element in the complex relationship of the North Pacific Ocean weather patterns with the North American continent.

 The relationship between North Pacific weather patterns and the High Sierra is vitally important for the vast overlapping webs of social and natural life depending on bountiful and predictable weather patterns.
These predictable and bountiful resources no longer exist on their own, in Nature, nor in the context of the vast populations to overwhelm Nature that we have spawned.

We have overwhelmed Nature and its resources fundamentally and on its face..

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High Sierra Nevada Backpacker and Hiker Geology Sources, Information, NEWS, and Resources sticky icon

GEOLOGY NEWS, RESEARCH, & INFO
for
HIGH SIERRA HIKERS

This is the "go to" general page for geological sources, resources, and information.  For now we can use it to store information before it's sorted any further or lost to indexing.

Everyone entering the High Sierra should know something about its Geological History, its Current Geo-Status, and its Future Geological Potentials. In fact, backpackers everywhere should equip themselves with some, "foundational" information about the geology of their region, as well as its contemporary seasonal stellar configuration.

Everything we navigate today was first formed, and is being subsequently sculpted, by these profound Geological Forces, after this batch of star dust consolidated. In other words, our knowledge of the history of the ground and the sky provide an almost timeless context for our natural surroundings, the same Earth & Sky that provides the, "bookends," of our daily hiking experience. The more we know about it, the more deeply we can appreciate its beauty and power.

Good
High Sierra Geology Introductory Texts, Links, & Resources

On the Trail Guide

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High Sierra Mammals Reference-Identification sticky icon

High Sierra Small Mammals Forum, Identification, and References 

 

 

References

Mammals, identification, Greg Lasley Photography.

Mammals of Yosemite National Park, (1952) by Harry C. Parker.

For more links about animal, plant, geology, and astronomy information for backpackers see the High Sierra Backpacking links page on the trail guide.

 

 

MAMMAL NEWS

 

 Last Update

 

2019

 

 August 1

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SKUNKS

Fungal Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

Fungal Compound Deodorizes Skunk Smell

 

 

 

March 27

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Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking: Crabtree to Gem Lake, Deer Lake, and More

Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness

A fantastic  4 day Backpacking Trip into the Emigrant Wilderness from trailhead East of Pinecrest Lake near Highway 108.

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

Peter describes food resources there and back, roads, fishing, trail culture and terrain descriptions that make this a fantastic description of a fantastic backpacking trip.

Trail into Emigrant Wilderness from Crabtree Trailhead.
 Backpacking Trail into Emigrant Wilderness through Crabtree Trailhead

Thanks to Peter and Jason for sharing this!

Maps
Emigrant Wilderness NF PDF

All Tahoe to Whitney MAPS
INDEX
Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Maps
PCT & TYT

 

Trailhead 
Emigrant Wilderness Trailheads NF PDF

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Hobbitbook 2013 Trail Report: Summit City Creek along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Route

Hi Alex,

I had a great trip through Summit City Ck canyon last week... its BEE-OO-TEE-FUL! Wow, what a gem.

Finding the trail was just fine, probably because I was expecting the worst from your website description.

People had left many cairns to follow, and it seemed like a number of folks had been there already this year, leaving their trails to follow through bracken and undergrowth, including the enchanted forest.

The trail has a real personality, very playful, and it loves big trees. There were plenty of those in the enchanted forest - wow, what an incredible place. It feels so ancient in there.

I did want to report that someone left their mark in nail polish along the trail: On the Horse Creek signpost: "Danger Not Horse Safe," "Lost the trail 2.5 mi," "GPS needed"

Horse Canyon trail junction marred by Finger Polish Lady, Summer 2013.

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Peter's Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Report June 2014

Introduction
Upon the first publication of this report on June 8th 2014 Peter had just completed an early season snow-hiking trip along the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route. At that time he sent us very valuable information about early season conditions early in the season, which we first put up here on June 8 of 2014.

This information is not only valuable for backpackers trying to ascertain the conditions along the unmaintained segments of the trail, but also preps backpackers for the difficulties and challenges of hiking and navigating the Sierra Crest and backcountry through Spring snow conditions.

Though the particular stage of Spring conditions Peter describes transpires at a different times during each season's unique progression from Winter to Summer conditions, Peter well describes mid-to-late Spring conditions in the High Sierra.

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Watch Out for the Green Water: Blue-Green Algae News and Safety Information

Watch Out for the Green Water

Toxic Algal Bloom
Blue green algae in Klamath River, credit to OSU.
Toxic Microcystis algae grow in a large bloom in the Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River, posing health risks to people, pets and wildlife. Go Beaves, credit to OSU!

 

ANNUAL ALERT
It's that time of year again, as Spring turns into Summer and our extraordinarily warming waters present increasing blue-green algae threats.

The Basics
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 Blue-Green News just below and the safety information at the bottom of this page:


Blue-Green Algae Safety and Identification Information

 

2019
September 16 Late Summer Report...
Winter snow standing deep into Spring, & Temprate Summer Temps, brought minimal Green Water to the High Sierra (and California) this year.

 

High Sierra Water Quality Articles

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Carson Iceberg Wilderness Backpacking Loops and Trips

Medium and Long distance
Backpacking Loops
and trips
in the
Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Despite the Fire, Some Beautiful Places to Visit
Summer's Here. The Eastern end of the Carson Iceberg is pretty much closed South of Clarks Fork Road, excepting the route of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is complimented by the still open segment of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail coming South down from Lake Alpine to Woods Gulch.
Now, prospective Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hikers will need to make use of our alternative routes, just to get around the closed section of the TYT across the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

Alternative Year...
The route tying together what we can hike of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail across the Carson Iceberg, then connecting with the Pacific Crest Trail as described below, is where we can bend our route either North into a nice Summer Backpacking trip, maybe ending at Ebbetts Pass despite the carnage of last year's Donnell Fire, or turning South along the PCT to bypass these closed segments of the TYT, so we can hike South to Sonora Pass along the PCT, to pick up the TYT again by hiking South out of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station.

 

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July 2015 TYT Unmaintained Trail Update: Clarks Fork Trailhead to Saint Marys Pass Trailhead

Video embed: 
See video

Tropical storm brings heavy hail, lightening to Saint Marys Trailhead, just below the Sierra Crest, July 8 2015.

  

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

Post-Storm July Tropical Sunset
Fine tropical-influenced sunset from Clarks Meadow hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in July of 2015
  From the North Edge of Clarks Fork Meadow along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Clarks Fork Trailhead 
to
Saint Marys Pass Trailhead
on
Highway 108
11.25 miles along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
 The Iceberg, sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.
Above: The Iceberg sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.

July 2015 TYT Status Report
The Trail

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Scott's Summit City Creek Trail Report June 2014

Introduction

An excellent way to approach the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is as a section hiker. This is how Scott, his hiking partner Rich, and their backcountry hiking dog Melika approached the difficult Carson Pass to Lake Alpine section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Carson Pass
Scott Rich and Melika begin their TYT section South out of Carson Pass.

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

Scott and Rich executed this TYT section hike early in the hiking season. Despite the drought conditions and earlier Spring Thaws a late May hiking trip is still early in the backpacking season.

Hitting the Snow at Frog Lake
Melika digging the snow with Frog Lake in the background.

  High water levels in the river fords, the potential for extensive snow covering the trail, and the much more unpredictable weather during early Spring brings makes Spring a challenging time to hike an already challenging trail.

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High Sierra Cow Anxiety in Upper Clarks Fork Canyon

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.

I figured I'd meet some cows. The narrow canyon certainly makes "our" shared route along the visible bits of route along the unmaintained trail the best solution for both grazing stock and passing backpackers to reach our respective goals. It's cozy. No problem. I like cows.

My goal is always to get past cows with as little trouble as possible. I've dealt with cows many times before, and always gotten myself through quickly, sometimes employing sweet talk, and other times threatening a re-branding if cow-cooperation is found lacking.

I will go freeking cowboy on their huge cow asses.

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2018 Season High Sierra Fire, Smoke, and Mountain Safety Information

 

 

SUMMER & FALL
FIRE-BACKPACKING
SEASONS
of
2018

2019 SEASON

High Sierra
Fire and Smoke Information

 

This is Fire Page I
The First Fire Season
August through November

 

Fire Page II
THE SECOND FIRE SEASON...
October, & NOVEMBER Fire Page

 

ALL
SMOKE INFORMATION

 

ALL
FIRE & SMOKE INFORMATION

All Federal Fires
Managed Fires
Parks, Forests, and Lands

INCIWEB 

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Stoves: MEMBERS FAVORITES for High Sierra Backpacking

Members Favorites

High Sierra
Backpacking Stoves

We have considerable range of selections from a wide range of fuels and gasses, delivery systems (below), wind shields and pot supports, not to mention the ability to construct a wide range of homemade alchol stoves.

I figure the benefit of some wisdom and experience will help us sort this all out, and find the stove that best suites us. Thus we poll our members for their preferences. Since we have lots of different types of members with lots of different types of goals and experiences we come up with a range of classic solutions.

Well, at least a good place for you to begin your investigation into what's the best backpacking stove for you.

 

 

Members Favorite Backpacking Stoves

 

NEW BRAND

BRS

Hiking 50                       BRS Ultralight

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The Existential Zone

 

 The Existential Zone

Research increases distance at which supernova would spark mass extinctions on Earth
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS, May 11, 2017.

 

ISSUE:

“The Supernova Kill Zone,”

“The Big Rock from Space,”

along with

Super-Volcanos,

and Humans:

Q: Which term above is different from the others?

A: Humans. The other events were not created by will and choice, but by Nature.

 

UPDATES
BELOW

 

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

Every now and again Nature kills everything on a planet, on a regular basis. This brings up important questions for an evolving life form, once they figure out death is coming for them.

The spectre of inevitable extinction, if not our typical, individual deaths, makes important the broader questions of what are we as living things, and what Nature itself is doing with Life. Nature's "big program" could be used to give some context to our individual lives by understanding what IT is doing and where IT is going, contrasted against our behavior.

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Filters and Purification: MEMBER's FAVORITES for High Sierra Backpacking

 Member's Favorites

What are, and how do we select the best Water Filtration, Purification, Treatment, and Usage System for High Sierra backpackers?

The fundamental requirement for me is clean water quickly. By clean I mean taste as well as purity, so chemicals are regaled to emergency status.

Next, I want to purify as little water as possible. I will filter only the water for drinking, while my cooking and cleaning water will remain unpurified. Thus I need a system to bring unfiltered water to camp for cooking, cleaning, and to provide stock for purified water.

 

Build Your Backpacking Water Systerm
Water Filter/Filtration Basics

"The Alex"
Water System
&
Gear List

 

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Snags: Camp, Trail, Cross Country and River Crossing

 

Mountain Safety

Snags

June 2018
The High Sierra Tree Mortality situation induces me to repost this at the top of the list as Summer Backpacking season gets started. Snags are presenting heightened dangers this year, as is the related threat of fire.

 

Snags are standing dead trees. Backpackers interact with snags in a number of ways. The most common is hiking by or through them. Next comes camping in proximity to snags, and finally we find fallen snags providing bridges over narrow necks of surprizingly wide rivers. Occassionally we find ourselves climbing a wall of downed snags like a jungle gym. That generally happens while hiking cross country or after bad storm seasons where snags are swept down canyons. A freshly fallen snag also provides the best firewood if you are into making fires.

The only truth is snags constantly and always fall, maybe blown down by wind, swept away by water, or when their internal structure rots to the point it can no longer support its own weight, or yours.

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Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

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My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

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