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Hi There!

11:48 p.m. on May 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi...wanted to introduce myself. I came across this forum via a link from another bloggers site while I was riding the bus to work. I live and hike in the Carson/Tahoe area and have wanted to backpack for a while now. I will venture out on my first overnighter next month. I'm pretty excited, so much so that I dream (well, mostly dream, sometimes it's a nightmare) about it. I have been gathering some gear and will surely have questions as the date nears. Just also wanted to tell you all I really enjoy the posts and personalities. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny!!!!!

12:16 a.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Overnighting in Tahoe ?  Have fun and welcome.

12:17 a.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Tollermom, welcome to the community. Glad you could make it for the fun and festivities.

Dreams are awesome, nightmares can be overcome. Its all about having fun and enjoying your trip. Please feel free to fire away with whatever question you may have(even if it is for a lasagna recipe; I am sure we can come up with something.) :p

In all seriousness though, if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to ask.

There is alot of knowledge contained here and we are always willing to help out anyway we can.

Once again, welcome to Trailspace.

Happy hiking-Rick 

7:31 a.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace! Glad to have you aboard. Like the others said, if you have questions of any sort feel free to ask away.

9:45 a.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome, Tollermom! 

We will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

I imagine you've already found a lot of info from reading the forums, so you've got a good start. There is a wealth of info going back many years on the "shelves" of this site. I found it a couple years ago, and was hooked right away! 

Best to You, G

9:24 p.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome, Tollermom!

I discovered this site last year when I was looking for advice on hiking.  I've gotten great advice here.  Everybody is friendly and won't laugh at you for asking a newby question. The biggest mistake most people make is not giving enough information when they ask a question. 

9:29 p.m. on May 16, 2012 (EDT)
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WELCOME! Nice to have another Nevadan around!

11:35 p.m. on May 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Tollermom, welcome to the group. People on here are nice and have alot of experiences and info to share. Hope to get to know you.

8:16 a.m. on May 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcomes!

10:22 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Nice to see you're already reading the trip reports and participating in the forums. I look forward to more conversations.

And yeah , we all just LOVE offering all kinds of helpful (or not so helpful) advice. :-P

10:51 a.m. on May 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome!  You have a lifetime of hiking trails so very close to you.  Some of the crowd here will be green with envy from all the trip reports and activity that you can share with us.  Just a few hours south on US395 are the eastern Sierra with some of the best backpacking scenery in the hemisphere.  There are other similar forums specifically for certain areas in Nevada and California that you should look into.

Check out REI in Reno for some trail books and just general backpacking information - and gear. You have holiday presents set up for you for years.  Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills (book) is a great resource for almost anything that involves something with a pack on your back.  Good rainy/snowy night reading. Just find a chapter that seems interesting and take a look.  Sierra North: Backcountry Trips in California's Sierra Nevada Guide Book by Kathy Morey & Mike White with Stacy Corless & Thomas Winnett (Wilderness Press) is a good trail reference as are Tom Harrison Maps (.com).  Lots of old mining towns and history that are now a long walk to get to.

7:38 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks SPeaock! I'll look in to getting the book. I agree there are so many beautiful places to hike in my neck of the woods. I'm thinking my first overnighter will be to Dardanelles Lake near Tahoe. Not too long, not too steep..and really, really pretty. Still trying to get my gear together. Tested out my tent and sleeping bag in the front yard night before last!

2:29 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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So how did the tent test go? Are you ready to roll yet?

10:20 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Kelty Salida 2 Tent test was a success. Go-Lite Adrenaline 800 sleeping bag test was a success too. I did chicken out and waited until a couple days after a storm rolled through so the grass was dry. My husband lent me his old circa 1990 thermarest pad from his firefghting days. Pretty pathetic piece of equipment. That led me to add yet another item on my shopping list. However, the tent was super easy to set up. There was a fair amount of condensation the next morning on the inner rain fly. I read that could be alleviated by leaving the rainfly off, or not zipping up the vestibule doors..or perhaps by not sleeping in the front yard on the lawn. The forest duff covered floor will surely be drier.

The sleeping bag was dreamy. It did take a bit of getting used to..having never been in a mummy bag. I generally need to read a page or two before I drift off but I'm pretty sure I was sound asleep in about 3 minutes.

I did note the traffic noise was quite pronounced from the nearby road. I woke to the sound of the newspaper guy delivering the paper..and my gosh the birds were just GOING OFF about 4:30a. Sounded like millions of them in the trees. I surrendered to the thought that the coffee pot indoors was set on auto brew at 5am so I came inside.

I have few more items on shopping list thanks to forum helpers. Need a Sawyer Squeeze for my water , a neo air pad, an MSR pocket rocket or similar-easy-never-fail cook source. I waffled back and forth over getting a small bear canister or a bear bag slung over a tree. I think I'll play it safe with a small cannister.

Not sure if i mentioned it but our intention (my girlfriends and I) was to hike up to Hobart reservoir to camp out. It lies sorta between Lake Tahoe/Carson City/Marlette Lake. However, two things made me change my mind about that location as a first-ever trip. 1. Hobart is 6 miles straight uphill, 2700 foot gain about. It only has 5 camp spots and no dispersed camping allowed, so what if we get up there and the fishermen who drive in have nabbed all the spots? And 2. Perhaps to make our first trip an enjoyable one, since we have never backpacked, we should choose a better location,less uphill, less miles for our first trip. That said, I think it will be Dardanelles Lake off Luther Pass in Tahoe. Need to remind myself though to bring mosquito head net...so I am not eaten alive.

Oh, and also need to figure out what to do about meals. The research continues.... I will be celebrating a belated 56th b-day by the time our trip rolls round at the end of June. Can't think of a better way to spend it.

8:24 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I did note the traffic noise was quite pronounced from the nearby road. I woke to the sound of the newspaper guy delivering the paper..and my gosh the birds were just GOING OFF about 4:30a. Sounded like millions of them in the trees. I surrendered to the thought that the coffee pot indoors was set on auto brew at 5am so I came inside.

To Funny!  Natures alarm clock at work!  They always get up at first light and have no respect for a good sleep in.  I love the "Coffee set to auto brew" Oh how I wish this could happen in the wilds!   I love waking up to hot fresh coffee!  :D

Welcome to Trailspace and I hope you enjoy the trip, your never to "young" to take up backpacking!

I hike on the Coast a lot and people laugh but I think the Ocean often sounds like a freeway or something.  It's a lot of noise, but you get use to it fairly quickly.  Same with rivers and the like.

Wolfman

9:28 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I think you'll be happy with the easier choice of trails, just to begin with. It would be a nasty surprise to find out you'd bitten off more than you can chew and have to either turn back, or do that grim 'death-march' to your destination. ('Dear God! Will it never end??!!!").

Suggestion: bring earplugs. I was doing an overnight last weekend. First there were the voices of other people in the group staying up later than me. When they went to bed I took my earplugs out, but then the coyotes started up. I must have taken the plugs out again, because at 4:30 the darn birds started singing!

The sun coming through the tent got me up to get the coffee on at about 6:45. No wonder I go to bed earlier when I'm hiking!

11:39 a.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Tollermom said:

...an MSR pocket rocket...

Welcome to the fold, padawan...

As for your choice of stove, that's a good one, though canister stoves are notoriously unreliable as the mercury drops. With the Pocket Rocket, there isn't the option of inverting the canister, which does help as temps reach freezing. Keep in mind that as you graduate to colder weather BPing, (and I hope you do,) you'll likely want a liquid fuel stove, such as MSR's Whisperlite or Internationale. The Whisperlite is a straight white gas stove, whereas the Internationale will burn white gas, unleaded fuel, jet fuel, diesel and kerosene. The latter is more for travelling to foreign lands, or as a good 'zombie bag' stove.

The reasons for cold weather BPing are numerous, but among the best ones - fewer people. Also, no bugs!

2:28 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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The Pocket Rocket is more of an emergency stove, in my opinion. It works well enough, but it's kind of low on options and pretty vulnerable to cold temperatures. 

By now, everybody here knows I like my little Trangias, but stoves like the Whisperlite work great, too. Unlike pressurized canisters (some kinds of gases contract as they cool, as has been pointed out) you pump it up yourself which compensates.

8:18 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Tollermom said:

.... I waffled back and forth over getting a small bear canister or a bear bag slung over a tree. I think I'll play it safe with a small cannister.

.... That said, I think it will be Dardanelles Lake off Luther Pass in Tahoe. Need to remind myself though to bring mosquito head net...so I am not eaten alive....

  On the bear canister vs bearbagging - remember you are in the Tahoe area, and that the bears there are somewhat "humanized". That pretty much dictates a canister. You could start with the small Bear Vault, though it won't take too much of a trip to want to go up to a larger canister. Based on years of experience in the Sierra, I would recommend springing the cash for a BearIKade (they are a local California company, located in Santa Ynez). For a given size, the BearIKade is the lightest canister out there that keeps your local bears away from your food. The BearIKade canisters are more expensive than other brands, but in terms of the weight for capacity, well worth it.

A couple suggestions about camping locations near you - Dardanelles is ok, but I would suggest going south out of Echo Summit (the Echo SnoPark parking lot is the trailhead) along the Pacific Crest Trail. There are good campsites at both Lower and Upper Benham Meadows, plus up on the plateau anywhere from 3 to 7 miles out (roughly halfway between Echo Summit and Kirkwood). Another good place is to go north from the Boreal exit from I-80 (again on the Pacific Crest Trail, but starting on the fire road into Castle Valley), over Castle Pass into Round Valley. You can camp near the Sierra Club's Peter Grubb Hut, which gives you access to a reasonably nice outhouse (if you stay in the Hut, you will have to make a reservation through the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at Donner Pass and pay the nightly fee, but you can camp anywhere in Round Valley at no cost).

Another nice hike is to go South from the Donner Pass area (park on the Lake Mary Road, just off Old US40, turning off at the Sugarbowl Academy building), following the Pacific Crest trail up past Donner Peak, past Mt. Judah, then down the backside of Mt Lincoln and along the ridgeline to Anderson Peak and the Sierra Club's Benson Hut. There are good campsites near the hut, though you do have to hike down a ways to get to the stream that is the water source. If you continued south along the PCT, you would get to Squaw Valley (the whole Sugarbowl to Squaw hike can be done as a day hike, but it is so scenic that you would want to do it as a 2 or 3 day hike with a good camera).

Another suggestion to help you learn some important navigation skills is to take my map, compass, and GPSR course at Clair Tappaan Lodge June 15-17 (just over a week from now). Since you are in the Tahoe area, you could just do the day parts of the course. Contact CTL (1-800-679-6775) for details, and mention that you only want to come for the days, not stay overnight at the Lodge (unless you do want to stay at the Lodge).

11:17 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Tollermom said:

...an MSR pocket rocket...

Welcome to the fold, padawan...

The Whisperlite is a straight white gas stove, whereas the Internationale will burn white gas, unleaded fuel, jet fuel, diesel and kerosene.

The reasons for cold weather BPing are numerous, but among the best ones - fewer people. Also, no bugs!

 

I'll look into the Whisperlite. Thanks. Best to avoid burning jet fuel though. The Sierras are headed for drought again and I would hate to burn the place down.

11:21 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Suggestion: bring earplugs.

 

Now on the list!

11:37 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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A couple suggestions about camping locations near you - south out of Echo Summit (the Echo SnoPark parking lot is the trailhead) along the Pacific Crest....Lower and Upper Benham Meadows, plus up on the plateau anywhere from 3 to 7 miles out (roughly halfway between Echo Summit and Kirkwood). Boreal exit from I-80 (again on the Pacific Crest Trail, but starting on the fire road into Castle Valley), over Castle Pass into Round Valley. You can camp near the Sierra Club's Peter Grubb Hut, which gives you access to a reasonably nice outhouse (if you stay in the Hut, you will have to make a reservation through the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at Donner Pass and pay the nightly fee, but you can camp anywhere in Round Valley at no cost).

South from the Donner Pass area (park on the Lake Mary Road, just off Old US40, turning off at the Sugarbowl Academy building), following the Pacific Crest trail up past Donner Peak, past Mt. Judah, then down the backside of Mt Lincoln and along the ridgeline to Anderson Peak and the Sierra Club's Benson Hut...

Another suggestion to help you learn some important navigation skills is to take my map, compass, and GPSR course at Clair Tappaan Lodge June 15-17 (just over a week from ).

 

. Tollermom replies....(she messed up pasting the quote correctly)

I wasn't sure if it was dry enough any higher around Echo. I know Dardenalles is dry now. My friend hiked it last week. I would be more confident if I were to day hike the areas you mentioned first. Is there a water source at Benham? I will surely put those hikes on the list. Thanks for the ideas. On the Clair Tappan Lodge, we have plans to spend the night at the lodge at the end of September. Haven't been there before but a couple of us are Sierra Club members...I did see your other posts about the weekend of navigation coming up. I totally would have loved to participate but I have out of town guests that weekend. RATS. I did take a compass class at REI (triangulate-schmiangulate...i was a bit lost on that) but I think something actually out in the field would be a far better way to learn. We practiced on xeroxed maps that I could barely read.

12:01 a.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Tollermom said:

.... I waffled back and forth over getting a small bear canister or a bear bag slung over a tree. I think I'll play it safe with a small cannister.

.... That said, I think it will be Dardanelles Lake off Luther Pass in Tahoe. Need to remind myself though to bring mosquito head net...so I am not eaten alive....

  On the bear canister vs bearbagging - remember you are in the Tahoe area, and that the bears there are somewhat "humanized". That pretty much dictates a canister. You could start with the small Bear Vault, though it won't take too much of a trip to want to go up to a larger canister. Based on years of experience in the Sierra, I would recommend springing the cash for a BearIKade (they are a local California company, located in Santa Ynez). For a given size, the BearIKade is the lightest canister out there that keeps your local bears away from your food. The BearIKade canisters are more expensive than other brands, but in terms of the weight for capacity, well worth it.

 

I just looked at the BeariKade website and I can rent the Weekender Cannister for $5 bucks a day for the each of the first 3 trail days, then $2.50 a day after that. Toss in twenty bucks for shipping the Cannister back and forth and it's a reasonable alternatIve while I save up for one of my own.

12:15 a.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Tollermom,

When you want to reply with a quote, move the cursor (with mouse or touchpad) to the lower right corner. Two buttons appear ("quote" and "reply"). The "quote" will place the entire message inside a quote box. You can do a little editing to shorten the quote to exactly what you need quoted. If you know html, you can switch to "text" (upper right tab) and do the html editing. If you don't know html, just delete the parts of the quote you don't want.

You can also copy the parts you want to quote:

"like this, but from the message"

paste them into your reply, add a new line with your response, then highlight the quoted part and click on the quote marks on the top bar to get:

like this, but from the message

with your response here.

Anyway, back to your question - I do not know if it is completely dry on the PCT south of Echo, but suspect it is (haven't been down there this spring yet). There is usually water in a couple streams at both lower and upper Benham until mid-summer. This was a dry winter, though.

Well, you could drag your out-of-town guests to the land navigation class - they might actually learn to find their way and enjoy the beautiful mountains in the Tahoe area ;)

April 20, 2014
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