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JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

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avatar JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 18, 2014 08:45AM
(warning: way too many pictures)

My food shipment did arrive (3 days late) so retrieved that, packed the bear canister, and headed back to the park. Started at White Wolf trailhead around 3pm. Descended to Pate Valley. Great views of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and the GCT opening up along the way. Met a nice bear on the switchbacks. Towards the bottom of the descent my knees were starting to hurt, having descended about 9,000 ft the day before and today. Camped first night in Pate Valley.

Next day continued through Pate and then made a wrong turn and headed up the Piute Creek trail. At least there were good views from the first set of switchbacks. Looped about 3 unnecessary miles before back on the GCT trail. Missed the petroglyphs. Continued up the GCT, through the Muir Gorge and camped before Return Creek. Next day continued past Waterwheel, LeConte, and California Falls, up to Glen Aulin.

Overall the water flow was much better than I expected given the drought, possibly it was just temporary from the big storm earlier in the week. There was water in Morrison Creek, and there was a little bit of tumbling at Waterwheel and LeConte Falls.

Through the GCT I did not see any rattlers and no issues with skeeters, but gnats were absolutely horrible. In the forested/shaded areas. Relentless swarms that would hover an inch in front of my eyes and end up in my eyes, up my nose, down the back of my throat, etc. I ended up wearing my headnet much of the time.

Harden Lake:


Descending from Harden, the trail was choked with overgrowth -- at times I couldn't even see the trail:


Uppermost crossing of Morrison Creek:


Obligatory Hetch Hetchy shot:


Second crossing of Morrison -- looking straight down a small waterfall:


Met a friend on the switchbacks down from WW to Pate:


Bridge crossings in Pate Valley:


From the Piute Creek trail first set of switchbacks:




























Rodger's Canyon Creek was dry, but Register Creek was flowing: EDIT: This is Rodger's Canyon Creek:


This fall was dry: EDIT: This is the Register Creek crossing:




Moby Dick:



















Return Creek crossing:




Waterwheel Falls:






LeConte Falls:








California Falls:




This looked like an old artist's paint box, just sitting beside the trail:




In Glen Aulin:












- Billy Joel



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2014 08:32AM by JRinGeorgia.
avatar Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 18, 2014 04:14PM
hehehe
ewe nearly got sucked in to the Loch Tablae Vortex!

(you only had about 100 more switchers to go)

Once you go there tho... you'll never want to go anywhere else in Z Park.
Maybe next time

Tanks for Sharon



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 19, 2014 10:20AM
Hi JR! Thanks for more!

Knees on all that downhill? Though i haven't done the exact two downhill days you did, I can pretty much guess what that could feel like! No surprise your knees were sore! Hope they have recovered fully! smiling smiley

I think maybe the pic for Register is mis-labeled? Register doesn't have a bridge and can be a nasty crossing with high water. The one just before (if heading up-canyon) is Rodgers and has a bridge. Looks like the Register Creek waterfall at the crossing was dry.. it's a nice spot when the sun is hitting it just so!

Gnats, eh? sound like the "face flies" from SEKI. little b***ards like to fly into every orifice. And if they coudln't fly in, they would land, and crawl in... drove me utterly bonkers. Never ever will I go without my headnet again. Good thing you had yours!

Water looks about the same at Waterwheel as it did when we did it in June? The rains probably helped some? Glad you had some decent water, and I assume, some good soaking spots along the way! Too bad about that turn towards Loch Tablae and missing the petroglyphs. I recall a downed tree and lots of overgrowth when we were there in June. I could see how that could have gotten tricky!

Kinda neat to see the changes in two months' time!

Okay, time to read next installment! smiling smiley
avatar Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 19, 2014 02:44PM
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I think maybe the pic for Register is mis-labeled? Register doesn't have a bridge and can be a nasty crossing with high water. The one just before (if heading up-canyon) is Rodgers and has a bridge. Looks like the Register Creek waterfall at the crossing was dry.
Hmmm, well I'm going by Schaffer. He describes the route in reverse (going downriver) but desribes coming down off the Muir Gorge bypass as follows, "Now you switchback down to a bridge over Register Creek, near it's 60-foot plunge into a walled-in pool, and immediately bridge smaller Rodgers Canyon creek." He doesn't describe fording a creek in this area. When I was heading upriver and approaching Muir Gorge I crossed a dry creekbed (no bridge), which I thought was RC Creek, and then very shortly came to the bridge I've labeled as Register Creek, which seemed to me at the time to match his description. Then later came to the dry waterfall that you are identifying as Register. So I dunno. Though what you are calling Register does match the idea of a 60-ft fall and pool (if water had been running). Could Shaffer have a typo?

Oh, and I have no idea why I called it Jack's Canyon Creek, I meant to be calling it Rodgers Canyon creek. But you may be pointing out that I had it wrong anyway.tongue sticking out smiley

Thanks for your threads on this route, I read through them a bunch before the trip and picked up lots of tips and details. From your pics it looks like the water was down from what you had in June, I see more white froth, and wider footprint, in your pics of Waterwheel than what I had. Not sure if the storm brought levels up a bit for me, by the time I got to Waterwheel it was 3 days after the storm. But still better than I had expected given the drought.

The wrong turn in Pate was just stupidity and not paying attention -- at the junction the Piute Creek trail actually went "straight" and the GCT trail veered off to the right, and it was visible if I had actually looked around but was overgrown a bit with tall grass. Only sign was for Benson and Pleasant Valley, I just thought it was a general mileage marker, did think it odd that neither GA nor TM was on it but shrugged that off. Then I hit the first switchbacks and thought that a little odd, but I know the whole route has to gain several thousand feet so didn't think much of it. It was only after the first switchbacks, when the trail straightens out again, that I stopped and considered the situation. Why am I hearing rushing water to my left if I've already crossed the river? Why is my compass showing a NE direction when I should be more due east? So I decided to keep going a bit more just to be sure, and when I got to the second set of switchbacks I knew it was wrong and turned around. I didn't scout much for the petroglyphs because I didn't have much detail on where they are, now that I was going downhill my knees were hurting, and I was pissed at myself for losing time and distance so just hurried back to the trail.

Knees only hurt on the downhills after over-doing it, and since from Pate to top of Hoffmann I was doing nothing but up for 3 days my knees had time to get better, thanks.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/19/2014 02:45PM by JRinGeorgia.
Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 19, 2014 05:13PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I think maybe the pic for Register is mis-labeled? Register doesn't have a bridge and can be a nasty crossing with high water. The one just before (if heading up-canyon) is Rodgers and has a bridge. Looks like the Register Creek waterfall at the crossing was dry.
Hmmm, well I'm going by Schaffer. He describes the route in reverse (going downriver) but desribes coming down off the Muir Gorge bypass as follows, "Now you switchback down to a bridge over Register Creek, near it's 60-foot plunge into a walled-in pool, and immediately bridge smaller Rodgers Canyon creek." He doesn't describe fording a creek in this area. When I was heading upriver and approaching Muir Gorge I crossed a dry creekbed (no bridge), which I thought was RC Creek, and then very shortly came to the bridge I've labeled as Register Creek, which seemed to me at the time to match his description. Then later came to the dry waterfall that you are identifying as Register. So I dunno. Though what you are calling Register does match the idea of a 60-ft fall and pool (if water had been running). Could Shaffer have a typo?

Love Schaffer's book, but it's out of date. The Register Creek bridge got washed out a while back. When we did the GCT in 2011, thunderstorms had caused some flooding issues. We managed to get across - and it was one of the trickier ones we've done... and it turns out a little later same day, it sounds like it got worse, and a hiker behind us waited until the water level lowered the next day. Chick-on and his wife also dealt with higher water one year, and I believe stayed on the up-canyon side..
avatar Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 19, 2014 06:50PM
Ya. I got about 1/4 way across and she told me to get my booty back...

And then she slipped and fell on some slick granite... after which the
"I found a log upstream that we can use ... was not working".

Scary is what I would call it...
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26056,26075#msg-26075



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 20, 2014 08:33AM
Quote
JustKeepWalking
Love Schaffer's book, but it's out of date. The Register Creek bridge got washed out a while back.
OK thanks for clarifying. I edited the original post so as not to confuse any future readers.
avatar Re: JR's TR 7/19-26 Part 2: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 19, 2014 08:36PM
I do believe the bridge was taken out during the big one in Jan 1997.



Old Dude
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