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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Yosemite - Sequoias Trip report 10.2011

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acudr

San Diego

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Joined: 03/23/2005

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Posted: 10/17/11 11:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just getting back from our YNP / SNP adventure. As you may remember, we went to YNP in June and produced a pretty good video of Vernal Falls at high water. June Vernal Falls Video

My DW loved the place so much; she said we must go back this October. So we did!

1,162 Miles
27:32 ET on the meter
12.7 avg MPG. This includes up hills, 4wd, and yeah, I do drive fast. [emoticon]

NOTES:
1. I took some cool TC video and having some trouble with the video program. I will post when complete.
2. I also made a truck loading video. Once I fix or get a new editing program I will post that too.
3. I love our diesel. That thing goes anywhere, no problem. Felt great to power up the hills.
4. I had a fridge problem I will post separately.

We left as usual, early in the morning. We decided to go up 395 over Tioga pass. Just a few days before we left and while JEFE was still on the road, a freak October storm came through. I kept checking the road conditions and they just opened the road the day before we were to leave.

Our plan was to camp on top along Tioga pass, use our reservations in Yosemite Valley and then back-country camp in the Sequoias. When we arrived at the Yosemite gate on Tioga (rt120), the ranger let us know the only campground open was Porcupine Flats and it was snowy and suggested 4wd (which we have). We arrived around 2 pm and to my surprise, it was starting to get packed with campers for a cold wintery campground. We were really fortunate and found a large pull though site. We snagged it!

Olmstead Point on Tioga pass
[image]

[image]

Porcupine Flats Campsite
[image]

As the day and evening went on, more vehicles pulled in looking for sites. Many 2wd cars were having a lot of trouble on the thick ice and needed to turn around and leave. Some were arriving at night. That had to be tough as campsites were not easily marked or found in the snow.

After a leisurely breakfast, we left for the valley. On the way down we saw a bear cub and blond mom cross the road. Very cool.

Heading down to the valley
[image]

This was a great time of year to go. There were so many less people than when we were there in June. We brought our bikes which allowed us to get about YNP valley with ease. I imagine because of the initial high snowfall this season and saturated ground, the waterfalls were still running. We did a some very beautiful hikes where we were the only people!!! I would definitely go again in early October because of this.

Half Dome Afternoon and Sunset. (We also had the chance to watch the full moon rise over Half Dome)
[image]

[image]

Yosemite Falls
[image]

Mirror Lake
[image]

After a few days we left for Sequoia National Park. My initial plan was to check out Kaiser Pass, but the DW really wanted to see the big trees, and we weren't too sure of the conditions. You know what they say, so to SNP we went. I was a little concerned about finding a campsite because the only campground open in the park was Lodgepole, which is usually VERY packed. We arrived around 3pm to find no ranger and serve yourself camping. Many of the loops were closed. We luckily found a spot,(#27). All though the day and night people would cruse the loop and look for camping. Many of the tent campers climbed the barriers and camped in the closed areas. I am not sure what the RV’s did.

This is a very beautiful campground. When we were last there in the summer many years ago, we did not like the campground because it seemed like an RV parking lot. As many of you know, we usually go off the grid. However to visit these types of parks, you really need to stay in the campgrounds. (Actually not really here, more on this later). This time of year was great and had a completely different feel as many of the loops were closed and not as many campers.

We befriended a bear (ChacoMoto) who became our tour guide.
[image]

I found another use for our camper as a hammock pole. I slept out one night in the hammock and I was glad I did not hear any bears! Not exactly sure what I would do if I did!

[image]

We hiked the giant forest and Moro Rock.

Wellllll, Maybe? [emoticon] We took the bypass.
[image]

The Sequoias trees are amazing. If you have never seen them, this would be a worthwhile trip. If doing in the summer I would recommend Dorset campground (or, one of the more remote campsites).
[image]

The path to the top of Moro Rock which has a view of the Western Divide.
[image]

ChacoMoto was our guide.
[image]

We then left Lodgepole for home. I convinced the DW that I needed at least some off-road exploring, so she let me check out the Buck Rock area. This is an area that bb_94401 recommended for my “Backcountry near Yosemite” post and I have always wanted to explore. I would highly recommend this area for off the grid camping and some smaller out of the way campgrounds. Some of the camp spots were easy to get to, had fire rings and picnics tables and on the edge of the rocks looking out to the Western Divide. There were a good amount of spots. A lot were taken. I am not sure how this would be in the summer, but in early October, this is very doable. We did the Big Meadow / Buck Rock loop. A couple of the roads were dirt. Just how I like it!

The roads
[image]

[image]

Nice campsite!
[image]

Buck Rock Fire lookout. We were only allowed half way up because they were doing some construction work. What a great spot. The road was a little gnarly, but not that bad. I went slow and in 4wd.
[image]

We left, both satisfied with an extraordinary camping experience. Great weather, great spots and great biking and hiking.

Thanks JEFE for clearing the path!

B

* This post was edited 10/17/11 11:25pm by acudr *


Bertram

CamperJeff

Fort Worth, Texas

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Posted: 10/17/11 11:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome pictures, love the shots of Half dome. Although I do feel sorry for the two mountain bikes you hit with that Dodge truck.lol


How many more hours till we get to eat bacon again???
2010 F150, 5.4
2003 Cub Hybrid
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acudr

San Diego

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Posted: 10/17/11 11:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[emoticon] LOL

Golden_HVAC

Fairview OR, USA

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Posted: 10/18/11 12:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Great pictures, great truck as well.

I can tell you of a dry camping spot in Sequoia National Park, it is about 2 miles south of Hume Lake, on the road going towards highway 198. AS you climb the hill, there is a small creek, it is about 300 feet past the pull off for the dry camping area, designated as overflow type camping, where there are no marked sites. They do have ants though, so bring along some commet, to spread around the tires, this will prevent them from coming into the RV.

Have you heard of Gorman? Frasier Park? It is a lot closer, and also has some mountain camping areas, and isolated campgrounds. Even camping at Mt Palomar, much closer to home is a great idea. Yet I think there are plans to close the campground in Mt Palomar in the near term, part of the budget cuts.

Mt Palomar has all the views and some of the trees of Yosemite, but only an hour away!

Fred.

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 10/18/11 12:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice report and pictures.
Half Dome is spectacular and I hope we will make it there someday soon.
Glad to see you noticed the low clearance bridge.
J&K


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Gale Hawkins

Murray, KY

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Posted: 10/18/11 12:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice report. Wish we had it before our visit. Folks save this info/pics if you plan to visit.

weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 10/18/11 03:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report and pictures , thanks for sharing


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silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 10/18/11 04:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great photos! My favorites are the "Falls" and the log underpass.

Cheers,
Silver-


Silver
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kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 10/18/11 05:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent report and superb pics. Thanks for sharing the off-grid info as I hate crowds.


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
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RICKIM

The Ocean State

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Posted: 10/18/11 05:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome!! Great report and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Safe Travels, Rick


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