Camping in the Sierras is California’s way of showing you that it’s one of the most beautiful states in the lower 48. Living, breathing, and studying in LA for months on end can be a fantastic fast-paced blur of excitement, but slowing down a bit and admiring the outdoors is a wholesome environment to reflect and enjoy on the events in your life, and it’s fun too!
There are a few basics that are important to keep in mind when camping in the Sierra’s (and just in general for backpacking too).
First, have a plan, and bring a map. This one should go without saying, but being informed is the best preparation for a fun trip! And ensuring that others are just as informed as you are is really important as well.
Bring the 10 essentials (at the bare minimum). There are some great articles about this online here.
Consider the weather! While it may be 80 degrees and sunny in Los Angeles, the temperatures could drop below freezing, especially with increasing altitude (up to 13,000 feet in some areas, and over 14,000 feet for Mt. Whitney!).
Bring food that you really like. Freeze-dried doesn’t mean gross (in my opinion it can taste better than home-cooked meals sometimes, depending on the circumstance). I highly, highly recommend the Raspberry Crumble that Mountain House makes. I’m pretty sure that Michael can attest to it’s quality too, having tried it a few times.
Choose a hike that is exciting (and slightly challenging, if you’re up to it) but not over-the-top technically aggressive. Pushing yourself to do slightly longer or harder trips is a great way to develop your skills, but take baby steps – it’s better to have been able to crush a hike than barely make it at all! And, you’ll always be able to go back next time for redemption…
Finally, have fun! Your efforts of planning and preparation should all culminate in a fun experience for you and your friends. Don’t rush your hike, and enjoy getting out there!
P.S. If you’re interested in a cool blog about the trip I’m going on this weekend, check out bearfoottheory’s review here