Welcome to the High Sierra Backpacker's Magazine, including forums for local and long-distance hikers sharing info about hiking the Sierra between Tahoe and Whitney.

This Magazine covers everything Sierra. Its
Forums cover TYT, PCT, & JMT and alt-route hiker input from the Guide. The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide explores the trails  & the necessary skills, fitness, and gear required to hike from Tahoe to Whitney. This evolving Magazine covers Current Conditions, News, the Arts, Sciences, Physicality, Spirituality, Gear, Environment, History, and Cultures of hiking Tahoe to Whitney. 

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. Find info. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest.

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

for Experts: The information to come 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, and has been, and will be here much longer than any of us.  

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Sonora Pass to Latopie Lake, Hiking, Pacific Crest Trail

Southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail over Leavitt Peak

Trail Guide: Sonora Pass to Latopie Lake

Detailed hiking map: Sonora Pass to Kennedy Canyon trail junction

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Sonora Pass Trailhead for Backpackers and Hikers

Hiking Sonora Pass

The Southbound Sonora Pass trailhead can launch an amazing variety of long and short backpacking trips into the Emigrant Widerness as well as an amazing range of day hikes onto Leavitt Peak Massif.

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Kennedy Lake & Kennedy Canyon Trail Junctions on TYT & PCT

Kennedy Lake

The hike to the Kennedy Lake trail junction is a short but steep 2.67 miles South up 720 feet along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail from Kennedy Meadows Pack Station in the Emigrant Wilderness of the Stanislaus National Forest.

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Backpacking Kennedy Meadows to Relief Reservoir

Kennedy Meadows Pack Station Southbound along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail

Trail Guide: Kennedy Meadows to Relief Reservoir

Long distance hikers on the Southbound Tahoe to Yosemite Trail hike Southbound through the Saint Marys Pass onto Highway 108.

Trail Guide: Boulder Creek to Saint Marys Pass

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November 2012: News of Mountains, Trees, Climate, Health and Fitness

Mountains, trees, climate, health and fitness News

Information is vital for backpackers. Knowledge of the terrain, the weather, your physical and perceptive capabilities, and what forces are driving the changes within and around us are vital to understanding what we are hiking through.

The news and research below and in the News section of the Forum is selected to provide a basic context for those who engage their hike through life seriously.

Environmental Determinates of Past and Future

Extreme weather preceded collapse of Maya civilization, UCD,11-8-2012

New study suggests that Arabica coffee could be extinct in the wild within 70 years, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, 11-7-2012

 Trees in the Mountains taking a beating

Mountain meadows dwindling in the Pacific Northwest, OSU, 11-2-2012  

Western aspen trees commonly carry extra set of chromosomes, PLOS, 10-31-2012

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Review of Solio Classic Solar Charger


Solar Charger Tests and Reviews

I started backpacking for personal experience. I did not bring a camera, phone, or any electronic gear whatsoever. I had little need or respect for GPS devices, and I still believe your best navigation and observation tools are internal.

It may be hard to believe looking at the efforts behind Tahoe to Whitney, but for twenty + years I would tell you about the mountains and the trails, but I insisted that you would have to see it for yourself.

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Review of SunPak 2000 compact solar charger

Solar Charger Test

Sun Pak 2000 compact solar charger

Manufacturer's Claimed Specs

Size: 4.33” x 2.75” x .51”

Internal Battery: 2000mAh lithium-ion battery.

Charge times: Solar charging 12-14 hours, USB charging 4-5 hours.

Weight: Less than 4 ounces.

Price: 15 to 40 dollars. 15 dollars on Ebay, 40 dollars at Sears. I paid 24 dollars at Lasher Electronics on University Ave in Berkeley.

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Sierran Treefrog, Noble Lake, Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Tree Frog, Noble Lake

8880 Feet

Sierra Tree Frog in Noble Lake, Pacific Crest Trail, Stanislaus National Forest.

Trail Guide Page: Ebbetts Pass to Tyron Peak, Noble Lake

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Frog Counting Team, Emigrant Wilderness

Stanislaus National Forest Frog Counting Crew

Date: July 26, 2010.

Trail Guide Entry: Relief Reservoir to Brown Bear Pass 

Map: Relief Reservoir to Brown Bear Pass

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Riggs Scouts the trail before Gina's Mule Train passes through

Riggs, Gina the Kennedy Meadows horsepacker's dog. Note how Riggs is trotting up the granite formation to look over the other side. Riggs is scouting out all the terrain along the trail. Riggs checks things out.

I knew a pack train was coming up the mountain, for I had been scouted out by its scout.

Gina comes by with the mules, as expected.

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Interesting News, October 2012

Oct News

Sierra beaver dams targeted by U.S. Forest Service, Sac Bee, Oct 7 2012.

Interesting article because of the recent argument over the history of the beaver in the Sierra. Factually, we (humans) are the intruder.

Water shortage delays opening of Sacramento-area wildlife refuge, Sac Bee, Oct 5 2012.

Fallout from our freakish new weather pattern continues.

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Caterpillar, neon green, Emigrant Wilderness

Caterpillar, neon green, Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest, High Sierra Nevada, California.

Saucer Meadow Caterpillar
Location: Saucer Meadow

Elevation: 8200 feet 

Date: Sat July 14 2012

Trail Guide: Relief Reservoir to Brown Bear Pass, Emigrant Wilderness

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Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel checking me and my gear out at Relief Reservoir in the Emigrant Wilderness of the Stanislaus National Forest along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Lodgepole Chipmunk


Location: Relief Reservoir

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Vermilion Valley Resort Papers

After a horrible trip to resupply at Vermilion Valley Resort during September of 2012 I wrote the outline of a scathing review condemning VVR as resupply spot for John Muir and Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

This review caused a response from VVR, which I am printing below.

The 2012 VVR Review.

VVR Response to Review:

Hello Alex,

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Butterfly, Orange and Black, High Sierra, Summit Meadow, Field Crescent

July 2010  Hiking to Summit Meadow towards Bond Pass on the way to Tuolumne Meadows I encounterd this fine butterfly in the trees ringing the Northern edge of Summit Meadow.

I believe that this is a  some type of Crescent butterfly.

Note that it has no spots along its tail, as a Field Crescent would?

9440 feet of elevation.

Emigrant Wilderness.

 Summit Meadow in Emigrant Wilderness.

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Butterfly, Speyeria egleis, Pacific Crest Trail

Butterfly encounter backpacking South of Dorothy Lake on Pacific Crest Trail in Yosemite. 

Speyeria egleis

Date: July 18 2012

9400 feet.

Trail Guide Page: Kennedy Canyon to Bond Pass on the PCT

Map: PCT around South Emigrant Wilderness

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Red, Thistle, above Kennedy Lake

Red Thistle flowering above Kennedy Lake at 8400 feet.

Tenative Identification: Carduus pycnocephalus, Italian Thistle.

Emigrant Wilderness

Red thistle growing above Kennedy Lake in Emigrant Wilderness.

Trail Guide Page: Kennedy Lake

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White, Thistle, Kennedy Lake Meadow

White Thistle below Kennedy Lake and above Kennedy Creek footbridge. July 2012, 7680 feet.

White Thistle in the High Sierra below Kennedy Lake.

 Trail Guide Page: Kennedy Lake, High Emigrant Wilderness

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White, Flower, Purple, Stanislaus National Forest: Seeding Pussypaw

High Sierra Flowers. Unique white structure with delecate purple flowers. UPDATE: This is a pussypaw going to seed.

High Sierra Flower, white with small purple flowers.

Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route between Boulder Creek and Eureka Valley trail junction.

Trail Guide Page: Boulder Creek to Saint Marys Pass.

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