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You say that mileage is not a problem, but elevation is a problem. The Dodson is a grind in both respects. Remember that 2/3 of the people who hike it bail out after doing the Dodson portion at Homer. I would recommend finding two nights up on the rim somewhere. The Dodson is not where I would take a first timer unless you are rock solid in your own experience with desert backpacking. Sure, the 2nd or better yet, 3rd trip out, just not the first.If you have to get out in the desert, I would start at Mule Ears. Trail is still very rocky, but the elevation is much less.The trail intersection with the Dodson and Smokey is obvious with a big metal sign. Smokey going south is not very obvious at all. You will need a good map and map skills.
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