Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Start Planning Summer Trips Now [Tips]

My Mt.Whitney overnight permit. A beautiful thing.

I'm inspired this week. Maybe it's this skiing slideshow or these photos of climbing in BC I don't know. Training began for me last week, and now I'm starting to think about trips for the coming year. Here in mid-winter we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now is the perfect time to start making reservations for spring and summer and many of the most popular trails still have availability in peak season. There is nothing better to infuse your training plan with energy than having some specific trips to look forward to. No better way to make lofty goals happen than to start making reservations now.

  • February 2nd-16th is the first window in which Inyo National Forest begins accepting applications for the annual Mt. Whitney Permit Lottery: Get those applications off ASAP. You can't hike on the mountain without a permit and they don't hold any for walk-ups and non-lottery permits become available by cancellation only.
  • Yosemite National Park offers wilderness permits (required for any backpacking) 168 days in advance, that's 24 weeks, or roughly 6 months. Start thinking about June & July permits for popular trails like Cathedral Pass now. They do hold permits for walk ups but don't expect them to be available. In high season the lines can be huge even for those willing to get there at 7am when the office opens.
  • Kings Canyon National Park does not have the strict trail quotas that Yosemite does but it's good to secure reservations as soon as they become available for the year on March 1st.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore requires reservations by phone (call 415.663.8054), although they indicate in the answering machine message that reservations are not required to secure your choice of camp it's best to apply 3 months to the day you'd like to secure a spot at either Wildcat Camp or Coast Camp.
  • Perhaps the most challenging campsites to secure are on Angel Island. Sites become available 6 months in advance on the first of each month. Getting the top sites on the island means logging on as soon as the system opens up, especially for peak months (I booked our upcoming April trip in October. yay!)

2011 is the year to make those adventures you've been thinking about happen. Make this the year of DO, make those trips happen. Don't delay. Happy Trails, Chris

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