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How to plan a Sierra horsepack trip.

How to plan a Sierra horsepack trip

To get away this summer on a Sierrahorsepacking trip (see pages 98 to 103), you should start planning now while you still have a very wide choice of dates and locations.

Here we list the 35 operators spotted onthe map at right. They offer dunnage, spot, and continuous-hire trips, as described on page 101. As noted in the listings, most also run all-inclusive trips, and some have special-interest trips as well. (Once hunting season opens in late September or early October, most outfitters focus on that sport.)

When choosing dates, consider seasonalfactors. For instance, snow cover may block the higher elevations well into July. Wildflower shows are best early in the season, but biting insects are most annoying then. September and October bring fall color and colder nights.

If you can't book well in advance, tripsearly or late in the season and those with midweek starting dates may be your best bet for openings.

Deciding the who, what, where

Before you write or call, decide whatdates suit your schedule, how many will be in your group (pin down the ages of children), and what type of trip you want. More than 15 in a group can be unwieldy.

If you don't already have a specific area inmind, an outfitter can give suggestions based on your interests and how long you want to ride.

Choosing an outfitter

How much you enjoy your experience dependsin large part on how well the trip is organized, the outfitter's adaptability to your needs and interests, and the condition of the stock and camping equipment. Before you plan a long trip or organize a large group outing, consider a trial run with the outfitter of your choice.

Expect to pay a deposit of 20 to 50 percentwhen making reservations (at least one outfit requires full prepayment). You'll be expected to pay for the trip in full before you set out. Afterward, if you want to tip the crew, 10 percent or around $10 a day per participant for an all-inclusive trip is appropriate.

1. Kennedy Meadows Resort: Emigrant andCarson-Iceberg wildernesses, Yosemite National Park. Fishing. Willie Ritts, Box 4010, Sonora 95370; (209) 532-9096; after June 1, 965-3900.

2. Reno Sardella's Pack Station/KerrickCorral: Emigrant, Yosemite. Reno Sardella, Box 154, Jamestown 95327; (209) 984-5727; after June 15, 965-3402.

3. Cherry Valley Pack Station: Emigrant,Yosemite. All-inclusive, weekend specials. Kay De Voto, Box 5500, Sonora 95370; (209) 878-3596; after June 1, 692-5671.

4. Mather Pack Station: Yosemite. Do-it-yourselfburro trips. Joe or Jay Barnes, 12942 Highway 120, Oakdale 95361; (209) 847-5753; after June 1, 379-2334.

5. Yosemite Trails Pack Station: Yosemite.All-inclusive; girls' (ages 10 to 16) horsemanship camp. Mike Knapp, Box 100, Fish Camp 93623; (209) 665-2908; after June 15, 683-7611.

6. Minarets Pack Station: Ansel Adams,Yosemite. All-inclusive, packing school. Bruce Negri, Box 545, Dos Palos 93620; (209) 392-3121.

7. High Sierra Pack Station: John Muir,Ansel Adams, Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Allinclusive. John or Jenise Cunningham, Box 1166, Clovis 93613; (209) 299-8297.

8. Lost Valley Pack Station: John Muir,Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Do-it-yourself burro trips. Fred or Clara Belle Ross, 2410 Mount Pleasant Rd., San Jose 95148; (408) 238-0632.

9. D & F Pack Station: John Muir, AnselAdams, Kaiser, Dinkey Lakes. All-inclusive, fishing. Brad Myers, Box 156, Lakeshore 93634; (415) 946-1475; after June 15, (209) 893-3220.

10. Muir Trail Ranch: Sequoia/KingsCanyon. Trips for ranch guests only. All-inclusive trips start from the ranch in Blayney Meadow. Adeline Smith, Box 269, Ahwahnee 93601; (209) 966-3195.

11. Clyde Pack Outfitters: John Muir,Dinkey Lakes, Sequoia/Kings Canyon. All-inclusive, fishing, natural history. Allen Clyde, 12267 E. Paul Ave., Clovis 93612; (209) 298-7397.

12. Cedar Grove Pack Station: Sequoia/Kings Canyon. All-inclusive, early season. Tim Loverin, Box 295, Three Rivers 93271; (209) 561-4621; after May 15, 565-3464.

13. Horse Corral Pack Station: Sequoia/Kings Canyon. All-inclusive. John or Sandy Vincent, Box 641, Woodlake 93286; (209) 564-2709; after June 10, 565-3445.

14. Wolverton Pack Station: Sequoia/KingsCanyon. All-inclusive. John or Sandy Vincent--see Horse Corral, above.

15. Mineral King Pack Station: Sequoia/Kings Canyon. All-inclusive, fly-fishing, photography, parent and child. Don Bedell, Box 61, Three Rivers 93271; (209) 561-4142; after June 15, 561-3404.

16. Balch Park Pack Station: GoldenTrout, Sequoia N.F. All-inclusive, packing school. Tim or Diane Shew, Box 852, Springville 93265; (209) 539-3908; after June 1, 539-2227.

17. Golden Trout Wilderness Packtrains:Golden Trout, Sequoia N.F. All-inclusive. Dan Shew, Box 756, Springville 93265; (209) 539-2744; after June 1, 542-2816.

18. Little Antelope Pack Station: Carson-Iceberg,Toiyabe N.F. All-inclusive, early season, photography, fishing. Vic Bergstrom and sons, Box 179, Coleville 96107; (916) 495-2443.

19. Leavitt Meadows Pack Station: Hoover,Yosemite, Toiyabe N.F. All-inclusive, fishing. Bart Cranney, Box 124-A, Bridgeport 93517; (916) 495-2257.

20. Devils Gate Pack Station: Toiyabe N.F.Hunting only. Tom or Martha Roberts-- see Virginia Lakes, below.

21. Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit: Hoover,Yosemite, Toiyabe N.F. All-inclusive, fishing. Tom or Martha Roberts, Bridgeport, Calif. 93517; (702) 867-2591; after June 10, (619) 932-7767.

22. Yosemite Park and Curry Co.: Yosemite.Pack stations at Tuolumne Meadows, White Wolf, Yosemite Valley, Wawona. For all-inclusive (nights at Yosemite High Sierra Camps), write or call Yosemite Reservations, High Sierra Desk, 5410 E. Home Ave., Fresno 93727; (209) 252-3013. For all other trips: Dean Conway, Valley Stables, Yosemite 95389; (209) 372-1248.

23. Frontier Pack Train: Ansel Adams,Yosemite. All-inclusive, photography, natural history, fishing, horse drives. Dink Getty, Star Route 3, Box 18, June Lake 93529; (619) 872-1301; after June 1, 648-7701.

24. Red's Meadow Pack Train: John Muir,Ansel Adams. All-inclusive, packing school, horse drive, parent and child. Bob Tanner, Box 395, Mammoth Lakes 93546; (619) 873-3928; after June 1, 934-2345.

25. Agnew Meadows Pack Train: AnselAdams, Yosemite. All-inclusive, photography. Bob Tanner--see Red's Meadow, above.

26. Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit: JohnMuir, Yosemite, Inyo and Sierra N.F. All-inclusive, painting, fly-fishing, horse and cattle drives. Lou, Mary, or Lee Roeser, Box 61, Mammoth Lakes 93546; (619) 934-6161; after June 15, 934-2434.

27. McGee Creek Pack Station: John Muir,Yosemite, Inyo and Sierra N.F. All-inclusive, fishing, horse drives, junior packer trips (ages 6 through 16). John or Jennifer Ketcham, Star Route 1, Box 100A, Independence 93526; (619) 878-2207; after June 1, 935-4324.

28. Rock Creek Pack Station: John Muir,Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Inyo and Sierra N.F. All-inclusive, natural history, horse and cattle drives, packing school. Herb London or Dave Dohnel, Box 248, Bishop 93514; (619) 872-8331; after June 16, 935-4493.

29. Pine Creek Pack Trains: John Muir,Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Inyo and Sierra N.F. All-inclusive, family and children's camps, packing school. Brian or Danica Berner, Box 968, Bishop 93514; (619) 387-2797.

30. Schober Pack Station: John Muir,Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Inyo and Sierra N.F. Walt Schober, Route 2, Box 179, Bishop 93514; (619) 387-2343; after June 15, 873-4785.

31. Rainbow Pack Outfit: Sequoia/KingsCanyon, Inyo N.F. All-inclusive, packing school. Mark Berry, Box 1791, Bishop 93514; (619) 873-8877.

32. Onion Valley Pack Trains: Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Inyo N.F. All-inclusive, packing school. Mark Berry--see Rainbow, above.

33. Mt. Whitney Pack Trains: GoldenTrout, Sequoia/Kings Canyon. All-inclusive, natural history. Herb London (see Rock Creek) or Bob Tanner (see Red's Meadow).

34. Cottonwood Pack Station: High Sierra,Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Inyo N.F. All-inclusive. Dennis or Kathy Winchester, Star Route, Box 81-A, Independence 93526; (619) 878-2015.

35. Kennedy Meadows Pack Trains: GoldenTrout, Dome Land, South Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo N.F. All-inclusive, parent and child. Trips also to Jordan Hot Springs Wilderness Lodge. Jim or Julie Porter, Box 1300, Weldon 93283; (619) 378-2232.

Photo: Numbers show pack station locations:1 through 17 on the west side of the Sierra, 18 through 35 on the east side. Light green area represents national forest lands; wilderness areas are outlined in gray
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Date:Apr 1, 1987
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