West Coast suggestions

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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby TravelingMatt » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:37 am

Dave B wrote:Also, it's shady and a bit dishonest, but pulling into camp grounds after dark and leaving before 7 am can usually be done without having to pay. This is especially helpful in CA where campgrounds sometimes charge $15-20 per night...

Most campgrounds probably won't notice an extra tenter even if you're not stealthy about it. You can always claim you were going to pay in the morning, and many campgrounds tell you to do just that if you arrive late.

That said, I'm not one to try to cheat small businesses, and definitely not one to cheat the underfunded USFS or NPS. Nor am I accusing you (Dave) of this.
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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby atbaritone » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:37 pm

Some others have alluded to this...my thought is, since you have 8 weeks, spend five of those traveling and doing some of the wonderful suggestions already made. But if I had that kind of time, and money, and the energy of a 20-something, I would spend three of those weeks backpacking the John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to Lone Pine. Of all the incredible backpacking I've done (including the Winds, Glacier, the Tetons, 4 Pass Loop, etc.) this is the BEST for scenery and the absolute pinnacle of backpacking experience. It will take some planning, but so friggin' worth it. Get a friend or two to join you for a portion or all of the trip. There are many guides and maps, but what you really need is "The Guide to the JMT" by Elizabeth Wenk, and the maps by Tom Harrison, both on Amazon. Resupply at Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadow, and Muir Ranch. If you want more info, feel free to email me and I will be a fount of info. I did the trail in 2009 and half of it again in 2011 and can't wait to find the time and money to do it again.

You know, life will never be the same after your two month odyssey. Make sure you have all your "real life" ducks in a row before hitting the road, cause the first three weeks back in civilization will be a total let-down. As it should be...
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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby thebeave7 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:56 pm

Ok, so I will first admit that I didn't really read through the previous posts, too impatient. I did a similar trip back in 2004, though less CA as I was living there at the time. Here are a few places that I'd say to visit...

1. The JMT as previously mentioned is out of this world and is the best way to get a good sense of the magic of the Sierras. Two weeks on the trail is plenty.
2. Hit up Yosemite, the Valley if you've never been, then the Tuolumne high country around Cathedral Lakes especially.
3. Eastern Sierras from Bishop to Lone Pine. If you want some fantastic peaks and are up for a solid scramble, Russell and Middle Palisade are the way to go, highly recommended.
4. Def visit the Cascade volanos, at least for the views and throw in Mt Baker while you're on the tour.
5. For a change of scenery from the big mountains Redwood NP and Olympic NP are both beautiful areas, more mellow hiking/running terrain.

6. For the Rocky Mt States there are countless options but a few areas that come to mind are; Wind Rivers/Tetons, Glacier NP, San Juan Mt of CO.

Here's a link to my trip if you want some ideas on places and dirt bagging it for two months :) Only thing I'd strongly encourage is to keep the itinerary flexible, stay where you are really feeling it, cut short other sections, and just go with the flow. Have a blast, it was an amazing experience and don't regret a minute of it.


PS I know of many 'free' and legal camping methods for lots of the Western US if you're interested. Feel free to shoot me a PM and I'll try to give specifics depending on where you're trying to go.
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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby powhound » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:34 am

thebeave7 wrote:Only thing I'd strongly encourage is to keep the itinerary flexible, stay where you are really feeling it, cut short other sections, and just go with the flow.


Ah... the carefree days of youth. Have a loose plan, but allow plenty of time for spontaneous, unforseen adventure & people to come your way. You'll have the rest of your life to chase a schedule.

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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby peter303 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:27 pm

There is a reason National Parks are there. They are some of the most beautiful scenery. Cant hurting to stitch together a bunch of them with Monuments.

The higher areas are seasonly closed like Colorado. There is an effort to get a lot of the passes open by Memorial Day. However, if its been a snowy winter, some passes wont open until closer to July 1. You wouldnt want to miss Tioga Pass in Yosemite, Mt. Lassen, or Paradise Valley in Rainer because you visited them too early. I'd recommend starting south in Joshua Tree and Death Valley before they got unbearably hot, working you way to the more mountainous north later.

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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby melias » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:20 pm

Just a heads up that if you plan on summiting Lassen on your trip -- which is a great suggestion -- just check dates as it's restricted to a handful of weekends this summer for trail maintenance.

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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby HarknessHooligans » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:21 pm

I just learned this weekend about the West Coast Trail. It sounds like an amazing experience. Its a 7 day backpacking trip off Vancouver Island. If you are heading to Seattle, you could take the ferry to Victoria. Its sounds grueling, but if you have the time, it may be worth checking into.

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Re: West Coast suggestions

Postby dehrlich101 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:25 pm

If you make it up to the North Cascades in Washington. Consider staying at the North Cascades Mountain Hostel.


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