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Tilden and Wilmer Lakes Route History

Research reveals that the current PCT route around Wilmer Lake was not built until sometime after 1931 and before 1939, as indicated by the Yosemite Park Maps of 1931 and 1939.

The 1931 map shows the current route of the TYT around Tilden Lake as being the main route across the North Yosemite Backcountry with no route around Wilmer Lake.

1931 map of Yosemite National Park

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Changing Seasons Doom Traditional Sierra Forests

Independent of the amazing drought of 2011-?, the slow and steady changes in the seasons over the Sierra Nevada have already doomed their forests to a rapid transition between species by fire.

I discuss this in context of the changing times we get changing temps and weather in the Sierra. This information is almost as important for backpackers as the forests and animals within them.

Notes on backpacking weather, changing (changed) seasons and the fate of High Sierra trees:

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High Altitude Yosemite Chipmunk

Chipmunk frolicing and digging about between Pate Valley trail junctions under Volunteer Peak. North Yosemite Backcountry along the combined Tahoe to Yosemite and Pacific Crest Trails. 

High Sierra Chipmunk

Small Mammal/Mammal identification

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North Yosemite Backcountry Trail Crew 2009

Hiking South on the combined PCT-TYT down Cold Canyon to Glen Aulin on August 3 encounted a hiker who I identified as trail crew as he approached.

Dan Schweitzer was indeed trail crew, and he was leading the pack hiking up the steep climb from Glen Aulin to the meadows in upper Cold Canyon. Not only was he moving fast and nimbly while climbing, he was only lightly strained. Classic trail crew.

Trail Crew on Trail Guide

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Belding Ground Squirrels; AKA Meadow Dogs

We have a small mammal that's adapted pretty well to the flat expanses of High Sierra meadows by focusing on observation, communication, speed and cover. These are the Belding Ground Squirrels.

Belden Ground Squirrels in Cold Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

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DNC tries to steal public names of National Park Historical Landmarks

Here's a pretty good account of the Corporate shenanigans Delaware North Corporation is using to try to extort 51 million taxpayer's dollars via the National Park Service.

Well, the Devil Needs Cash...and the Devil Never Cares how he gets it...

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Camp Chairs for High Sierra Backpacking

Backpacking Camp Chairs

I was first personally introduced to backpacking camp chairs by a couple of cool PCT hikers in the late nineties or early this new century, Marie and Susan from Seattle.

Marie was convinced her portable camp chair was totally worth its weight in gold for the relaxation and comfort it brought. She insisted I sit in it, and I agreed.

Hey, I was hesitant. I don't want other folks to carry my comfort. I had not carrried that chair for well over a thousand miles, as she had, so I did not deserve to sit in it.

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Elana Kundell Painting

I met Doc and Elana Kundell at Tuolumne Meadows during the Summer of 2009. I had walked down from Lake Tahoe on my way to Mount Whitney, while the Kundell's father-daughter JMT hiking  team climbed up from the Happy Isles JMT trailhead in Yosemite Valley on their way to the Whitney Portal.

That's a steep climb from bottom to top. I advise caution, and a slow start. A climb like that can tear your heart out.. It's a Hard ONE, baby.

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Emigrant Wilderness and North Yosemite Backcountry Weather

Crossing Highway 108 at Sonora Pass South on the PCT or the TYT through Kennedy Meadows brings us into the Emigrant Wilderness and then the North Yosemite Backcountry. 

This section of trail ends 75 miles South at Highway 120 in Tuolumne Meadows.

We've got a nice selection of real-time snow & temp sensors across the Sierra Crest along Highway 108, so we can figure out snow, temp, and winds at the Crest, the West, and the East flanks of the Sierra up there, and we've got sensors in Tuolumne Meadows.

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Sonora Pass Backpacking Weather

The Sonora Pass HIghway closes each year with the first heavy snowfall, providing an excellent Winter wonderland of backcountry snow travel for the intrepred Winter traveler.

During Spring and Fall the weather can be tame and wild in turn, and every Summer backpacker should inform themselves as to recent trends and predictions. The information below is to that purpose.

Sonora Pass Point Reporting Station

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Ebbetts Pass Backpacking Weather

 Weather Information from real time reporting stations around Ebbetts Pass, as well as long term forecasts, with current satellite and radar views.  

Ebbetts Pass Point Forecast

Ebbetts Pass real time reporting station

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Field Astronomy for the High Sierra Backpacker

Field Astronomy for the High Sierra Backpacker
 Resources and Information for precisely tracking the position of the Sun across its diurnal (daily) path. Astronomical references tell us the time and keeps us oriented in the terrain by the known time and compass points of its rising and setting positions.

Sun and Moon rise and set coordinates and times.

The same principals apply to the movement of stars across the night sky. 

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Backpacking Navigation: Time and Space References

2/3rds of Summertime backpacking is during the day, a third is spent under Night Skies. We are going to locate, record, and use the information about sunrise and set times and compass points as our basic backpacking clock and compass during day and night.

Basic Time and Space Orientation
The basic information establishing the relationship between time and space is available from the Trail Guide's Navigation page.

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Kennedy Meadows Pack Station

Matt Bloom and family and friends provide long distance High Sierra backpackers the best of Western Hospitality, food, supplies, laundry and showers along the classic route of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail where it crosses Highway 108.

Kennedy Meadows is a standard resupply spot for Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

For visitors driving up on Highway 108, the Sonora Pass Highway Kennedy Meadows offers outstanding food, lodging, horses and horsepacking into the Emigrant Wilderness South of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station or North into the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

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Comprehensive Backpacking Stove Information

See the High Sierra Stove Section for all aspects of Backpacking Stoves suitable for the wide range of conditions we will encounter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the course of a year..

The backpacking stove information and experience you post up informs us all. 

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Backpacking Stove Review: The New MSR Windboiler

Backpacking Stove Review: The New MSR Windboiler.

MSR Windboiler Website

November 30 2014.

This review puts the new MSR Windboiler to the test in contrast to the MSR Reactor.

Section Hiker.

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Forest Service Trail Crew Construction and Maintenance Notebook

The National Forest Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook is a bible for Trail Crew a basic reference and handbook for the Trail Crew Arts. 

If you are thinking about a career in Trail Crew this book will basically inform you about the nature of the job and how to observe, plan, and execute trail construction and maintenance tasks.

Below find a comprehensive list of Trail Work References

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Bubonic Plague in the High Sierra

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. 

High Sierra Bubonic Plague Trailhead Warning image and text




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Types of High Sierra Vernal Ponds: Black and Blue

High Sierra Vernal Ponds are unique locations that impart a unique feel of serene quiet to the passing backpacker.

Ponds are places where the pace of surrounding life seems to have slowed down, places of quiet solitude.

 I distinguish between two types of ponds in the High Sierra, being Black and Blue Ponds.

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Powerful High Sierra Wind of November 30 2011, Devil's Wind

The look and the future trajectory of forest growth in the Sierra Nevada from the North Yosemite Backcountry down to Silver Divide was changed during one evening in November of 2011. 

That evening thousands of trees were blown down by a powerful wind centered near Mammoth Lakes, but which scoured slices of the High Sierra from North Yosemite Backcountry south to the Silver Divide.

I'm talking about fully healthy strong living trees. Just blew them right down!

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