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Re: Fall Boating

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Fall Boating
December 14, 2015 08:42PM
(This TR is from October 1-3, 2015)

My start on Friday night was unusually late, especially for a mid-fall trip. I didn't hit the trail in Tuolumne Meadows until 9:30pm--long after sundown. The car's thermometer had read 37F. Surprisingly, I saw a few active headlamps near the cars parked by the Cathedral Lakes trailhead--either climbers returning late from their climbs, or those getting a late start. I was in no position to criticize.

The hike up Rafferty Creek was chilly, but once the climb after the junction began, I regretted having put on some extra layers at the car. The extra-long season had made the trail impossible to miss, even at night, although when I neared where I was planning to camp for the night, I had to double-check my location. The main difference from earlier in the year: Rafferty Creek was all but dry, so looking for a particular spot near the creek was more difficult at night. I did eventually find a nice flat slab of granite and wasted no time tossing out my sleeping bag, climbing in, and falling asleep.



The night had been cold, and my sleeping bag was covered with a thick layer of frost when I finally decided it was time to get moving. Unfortunately, the sun was still an hour or more from hitting me directly.



I enjoyed a large, hot cup of coffee, breakfast, and hot tea while the sun slowly illuminated the nearby mountains.



It became clear that waiting for the sun would take too long, so I packed up and walked to it; I was in its warmth within minutes. The stroll up the Rafferty trail was pleasant, especially with the warm sun. Soon I could see Fletcher and Vogelsang Peaks, which is about when I heard the advance party on the radio.



They were camped near Boothe Lake, which I headed towards for the second time this season--and, in fact, the second time ever.



It's been awhile, so I can't recall if it was pancakes or bacon they saved me for a second breakfast, which I consumed as they finished packing up their camp.



This was a pre-Trail Quest trip, so of course we took the Chick-On Direct route down to Emeric Lake.



Our route passed under the nice domes of "Choo-choo Ridge" (the divide between Fletcher Creek and Echo Lake) and through several nice meadows.


The locomotive of the choo-choo train is to the right...



Someday we will have to return to hike the Boothe Lake to Emeric Lake trail, but it will be hard to pass up our less-mapped route. Maybe we can work out a system where we get credit if we hike between the two endpoints of a trail segment...?



As we got closer to Emeric Lake, we encountered more and more open, smooth granite sloping toward the lake.



We stayed high, out of the trees, to experience every last bit of the open views before heading to the lake.



Eventually we could see the lake--and in the distance Mount Clark and some other country we'd visit in a few weeks.



The winds were picking up and blowing up-canyon, so we headed to the outlet of the lake to have lunch and inflate the floatilla. Soon enough, we were on the water, quickly heading back to the other side of the lake.



As a variation on the pack-cover sail, someone tried the umbrella sail that had been mentioned here. It seemed to work--perhaps a bit too well when strong gusts came up.



Starting at lunch, clouds had started to form. It took a bit longer than expected to find a suitable place to get out of our boats--the inlet shore was shallow and muddy. A storm was expected this evening, and once we were out of the water, we could look back on their forming over the Clark Range.



JKW and I stayed on the trail all the way to Evelyn Lake, while the Pink One of course took a more off-track route. Still, there's plenty of good stuff to see from the trail.



Just past Vogelsang, we saw several hikers battling the strong, cool winds. The weather was definitely changing.



We loaded up on water at Evelyn Lake since we knew that its outlet would probably be dry.



The clouds continued to build, and the wind didn't let up, but there was still no hint of the threatened snow.



Just below Evelyn Lake, we could see where we planned on stopping farther down the outlet creek.



We eventually found a campsite that offered a decent balance of flat ground and some protection from the wind. Of course, once we set up the tent and settled in for the night, the wind died down.





It was, in fact, snowing the next morning, but hardly any had accumulated on the ground. We took our time having a leisurely breakfast--we didn't have far to go to return to the trailhead, so we weren't in a rush.



The surrounding mountains had received just a light dusting of snow--it was hardly a factor as we hiked down alongside Rafferty Creek.



In early season, when Rafferty Creek is flowing, there is a nice waterfall where it joins the Evelyn Lake outlet; this waterfall was just a distant memory by now.

Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 05:21AM
Thanks for posting. I know it takes time to sort through your pictures, upload, write commentary, etc and its appreciated by those of us who can't get to the Sierra often.
The Vogelsang area is one of my favorites and I enjoyed seeing it again.
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 08:35AM
Quote
The Other Tom
Thanks for posting. I know it takes time to sort through your pictures, upload, write commentary, etc and its appreciated by those of us who can't get to the Sierra often.

Exactly what The Other Tom said! Since I can't get to Yosemite as often as I'd like (and I'd never cover the ground you guys do even if I did) it's great to take a couple minutes to read through someone else's adventure. I do feel kind of weird always saying "That looks awesome! Thanks for posting", but :

That looks awesome and thanks for posting!
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 08:24PM
Quote
The Other Tom
Thanks for posting. I know it takes time to sort through your pictures, upload, write commentary, etc and its appreciated by those of us who can't get to the Sierra often.
The Vogelsang area is one of my favorites and I enjoyed seeing it again.

I feel like I learned how to backpack in that area, so whenever I'm around there, I have an even stronger-than-usual sense of returning home. LOVE the area. So far, I've never gotten tired of seeing it, and I hope I never will.
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 09:23AM
Quote
basilbop

They were camped near Boothe Lake, which I headed towards for the second time this season--and, in fact, the second time ever.



Are there any remains left (like concrete foundations) of the old Booth Lake HSC that was located near the lake?

.
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 10:46AM
Quote
plawrence
Are there any remains left (like concrete foundations) of the old Booth Lake HSC that was located near the lake?

I have never seen anything definitive for either the former Boothe Lake or Tuolumne Pass locations of what is now Vogelsang. I think the early camps used wooden platforms--the cement tent pads came after the current camp placements. There are some signs of old trails to the northwest of Tuolumne Pass that I thought may have been related to the former camp, but I now think that these are from an older routing of the Rafferty Creek trail.

FWIW, I've never seen any signs of the former HSC camps at Sunrise Creek in LYV, at Tenaya Lake, or in Glen Aulin itself (below the current location)--unfortunately all those locations are poor for preserving 90-year old primitive camp remains.
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 09:34AM
Thank you for taking the time to post the pictures and report.
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 10:10AM
Favorite picture award: The "just past Vogelsang" one.

Honorable mention: The moon photo.


Spectacular
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 10:26AM
smiling smiley

Somehow... as much as I tried... could not stay on the Rafferty Trail...
We had fun getting to Boothe:




After a leisurely pancake breakfast ... the fun continued in earnest...
smiling smiley





Thanks SO much for all the great adventures!
Rip-Rip Chick-on is looking at you!

smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 10:29AM
FWIW... The clown with the umbrella... looks like he needs a bigger boat!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 08:30PM
Quote
chick-on
smiling smiley

Somehow... as much as I tried... could not stay on the Rafferty Trail...
We had fun getting to Boothe:




(...snip...)

Thanks SO much for all the great adventures!
Rip-Rip Chick-on is looking at you!

smiling smiley

"could not stay on the Rafferty Trail" for 15 minutes! I was told "we'll take it easy, take the trail in, find a decent campsite, relax". I was all prepared for that, but, of course, Chick-on gets antsy right away, and we take off XC. And end up going up 1000 more feet than I'd originally expected. Sigh... But honestly, NOT complaining!!! It was GORGEOUS, and I'd never taken that route and ended up loving it. Honestly, I think trails give Chick-on the heebie jeebies. Can't say as I blame him with all we've seen lately...
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 10:48AM
Interesting tidbit ... on the way in... Dana Fork:


on our way out... it's like glacial melt water...




Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Fall Boating
December 15, 2015 11:48AM
Interesting. When you see glacial runoff, the water is that color.
Re: Fall Boating
December 16, 2015 08:32AM
That certainly does look like glacier water. Was there rain to wash silt in?
Re: Fall Boating
December 16, 2015 09:18AM
Quote
chicagocwright
That certainly does look like glacier water. Was there rain to wash silt in?

Yes. You can see in Basilbop's last pictures the light dusting of snow we received that morning. There had been some light rain as well.

There was definitely run off mixed into the water. Just found it more interesting to see the glacial hues rather than the usual muddy hues.
Re: Fall Boating
December 16, 2015 09:37AM
I wonder if the glacial silt runoff was due to the shrinkage of the Lyell glacier and other ice fields exposing silt that would normally have been under ice. This may have been one of the first storms to wash it down river.
Re: Fall Boating
December 16, 2015 11:51AM
I'll assume that runoff is warmer than most water we have here...
Re: Fall Boating
December 16, 2015 01:23PM
Quote
basilbop
I wonder if the glacial silt runoff was due to the shrinkage of the Lyell glacier and other ice fields exposing silt that would normally have been under ice. This may have been one of the first storms to wash it down river.

Chick-on labeled this as the Dana Fork, not the Lyell fork, so can't be from a glacier (Is Lyell still a glacier or just a permanent ice field now? can't remember).

I'm not sure what process or conditions creates that classic glacial water color, but my assumption is that it must have been similar to cause this.

Anyone know why glacial runoff has that distinct color? I would guess something about fine particles suspended in the water.
Re: Fall Boating
December 17, 2015 09:39AM
It is the silt in the water that causes the color change and sometimes called glacier milk. (really rough on water filters by the way) So even if the classification had changed to a "snowfield" from a glacier it would still contain the silt that causes the water color change.
avatar Re: Fall Boating
December 17, 2015 02:22PM
Great views above Emeric Lake. Thanks for posting.
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