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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

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Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances

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New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 05, 2016 07:52PM
When I arrived at the Valley early on New Years Day, it was the coldest I had seen it in many years--Bridalveil Fall was almost completely frozen.



After pausing for a few obligatory pictures at Tunnel View, I was on my way to Badger Pass. After getting my permit there, I was on the Old Badger Pass Road, trudging, well, somewhere (Peregoy Meadow?), with a crisp breeze encouraging me to keep moving.



The Advance Party and I did manage to make contact via radio and agreed on a meeting place: a ski trail junction. The Advance Party had had a very cold night, but fortunately they had chosen a campsite that had good morning sun exposure, so the ice on the tent and their sleeping bags had a chance to melt away before they had to pack. Perhaps because they had to deal with this, despite having started in the Bay Area, I was actually ahead of them and reached the junction first. Since it was in the shade I said I'd be waiting for them in a nearby meadow, where I took a bit of a nap on my foam pad.



I rested for about 20 minutes until they arrived, then we followed the well-traveled route back to the Glacier Point Road. After walking down it a few hundred yards, we branched off at the McGurk Meadow trail, which hadn't been broken yet... and was covered in snow.



An old cabin in the meadow made it appear as if the snow were several feet deep, but instead, the cabin's former occupants appear to have been quite short--the door was maybe 3' high.



Past the cabin we merged onto a recently-broken set of tracks and followed them a bit before stopping for lunch near the meadow.



We were well away from any of the marked ski trails; any footprints in the snow were ours--or some animal's.



We followed the tracks to a trail junction, whose signs were barely visible in the not-very-deep snow. Yosemite summer trails are not well-marked for winter travel.



We were in fact heading in the general direction of Taft Point, so we continued that way. A bit past the junction we crossed Bridalveil Creek via the sturdy trail bridge. We could hear the creek flowing, but it was almost completely beneath ice and snow.



After crossing the creek, we started the climb towards our campsite.



After several hundred feet of climbing through forest, we emerged at the valley rim, where we could see familiar landmarks in the distance.



The Great Pink One had camped here just a few days ago, so we checked out that campsite, but it was a bit small for our bigger party.



After scouting around a bit, we selected our campsite, choosing views over protection from the wind. After stomping down the snow to make a platform for the tent, we set it up and unloaded our gear.



Fortunately we had arrived at camp early enough to enjoy the evening and sunset before climbing into the tent for the long night.



Our campsite was well-situated to get the last light--long after the valley itself became cloaked in darkness.





The next day the Great Pink One had to return to civilization, so he left JKW and me as we were taking it easy around camp. He did reach us via radio when he was at Dewey Point, and we took mutual zoom photos of each other.


He is the one on the highest knoll to the right of the others.

After some deliberation, JKW and I decided to take a day "hike" to Taft Point--fortunately, the trail there had been broken recently. The sky was mostly overcast, but it cleared a bit when we got to Taft.



Although there was ample evidence that others had been there, we saw no one during our brief stay there.



Unfortunately the party that had broken the trail previously had deviated from the Pohono Trail in a few places. Since we were hoping to check off another Trail Quest segment, we instead followed the more-trail-savvy deer path on the way back to camp.


This is actually the Pohono Trail.

On a previous thread I mentioned that the Pohono Trail isn't really marked for winter travel and isn't blazed; in fact, there are very old blazes along the route, but they are almost impossible to see unless you are already on the trail At best, they confirm that you are on route.



We got a few more glimpses of sun on the way back.



We saw no one the entire day, and the only sounds were the occasional chunk of ice falling from a tree or our snowshoes crunching the snow.



We arrived back at camp with enough sunlight left to take care of a few last-minute tasks before climbing into the tent for dinner, some TV binging, and well-deserved sleep.





The next day, after breakfast (no pancakes or bacon :-( ) and packing up, we retraced our steps to the place where we had left the Pohono Trail the previous day.



Our goal was to complete the segment from near camp to Dewey Point--and thus the entire Pohono Trail from Glacier Point/Sentinel Dome to Inspiration Point.

The section of the trail south of camp hadn't been broken, and in places the powdery snow was up to a few feet deep. Fortunately, it was all downhill. We documented our route well for the Trail Quest judges (old blazes, cut logs), but in fact the resident deer seemed to know the trail's route well and we could have just followed their tracks.



We rejoined our tracks from a few days ago, and a bit later were back at the bridge.



At the nearby junction I had to walk, then retrace, one side of a small triangle (the judges are harsh and exacting...), then continued on towards Dewey Point.



From near Dewey we could look back towards our camp--which was quite near a precipitous cliff.


Our tent was behind the dead stump that is about 1/2 way from left to right, just below the trees.

There were of course a few dozen people at Dewey Point, and numerous ski and snowshoe tracks heading everywhere.



We decided to take the well-traveled direct route back. Surprisingly there were still parts of Summit Meadow that didn't have tracks in them.



Most of it was a well-traveled thoroughfare, though.



Just past the meadow we were on the equally-well-traveled Glacier Point road, which we followed back to Badger Pass. The afternoon ended up being sunny and warm enough to melt some of the snow and ice. We were at the car early enough to have a relaxing drive back home. It had been a great start to the new year! Oh, and bonus: for perhaps the first and last time ever, JKW and I were ahead of the Great Pink one for days and nights in the backcountry for the year. But we did appreciate all the trail-breaking he had done!



More Pictures
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 05, 2016 08:21PM
  • Sick - Basilbop doesn't mention, but... he had gotten sick earlier in the week from our flight home from Colorado. I thought I was ok, but on the first day of hiking, I realized I was sick after all! Chick-on and I discussed and decided to go for it anyway. That's what he does, and I've now tried it a couple of times. With short winter days, I seem to be able to get by. And honestly felt better than any cold with which I've stayed home... But I was drained each and every day. And have spent Monday and Tuesday resting and recuperating. It was a reasonably well-behaved head-cold with a lot of TIRED going on...
  • Cold - We had spent the night in Westfall Meadows... and that was the coldest night I've ever experienced in the backcountry, and that includes nights in a quinzhee! Single digit temp. Everything froze. Our breath froze on anything it reached! Every layer of the tent, bag, gloves, jackets, you name it. Everything had ice on it! And this time, we were serious: no sun, no getting out of the bags/tent! But once it hit... what a difference! Thank goodness or we would have been sodden. And yes, we know meadows are wet. We tried to get out of it, but we needed to meet Basilbop, and that was as fast I could manage. We *did* take the scenic route there by snowshoeing to the top of the lifts, then hitting the top of Tempo Dome, and then working the "trail" to the meadow. I just could not move fast enough to beat sundown. And you need time to build a platform in the snow and set up camp before it's pitch dark! But it was a ton of fun, and what a challenge!
  • Breaking trail and Breaking through - though much of the "trails" had been previously broken by Chick-on and his wife on the previous weekend, there was still breaking to be done, and I did none of it. I was much too tired. The guys worked very hard to make life easier on me. Snowshoeing is hard enough. Feeling drained even standing still.. it was a mental workout, let's say. And even though snow conditions were really good, I would still break through or slide off consolidated snow every now and again. It happens. But with the new snowshoes, so much easier than past years! What a difference!
  • Thanks again! - I can't thank the guys enough. We have started the year out wonderfully! I am not going to compare this year to last, which was ultimately just freakishly awesome... but I am going to thank them both for being willing to keep going out to enjoy! Bowing to his greatness

Can't wait to get back out there!!!
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 05, 2016 08:31PM
Quote
basilbop
Oh, and bonus: for perhaps the first and last time ever, JKW and I were ahead of the Great Pink one for days and nights in the backcountry for the year.

Let's see... Dang it. I think because Chick-on and I hiked in on New Years' EVE... Basilbop and I are tied for the same number of days hiking in the new year. If you count New Years' eve as part 2015 and part 2016, i've got the lead on NIGHTS in the backcountry... But dang it... Basilbop hiked in further from the parking lot than we hiked from camp to our meeting point.. so he has me on the number of miles in the backcountry this year! Grrrr.

But... we both have all those over Chick-on... But as Basilbop pointed out, our lead* won't last long!

* It's not a race! Really!
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 05, 2016 08:57PM
Thanks guys. A really good report, lovely photos. We hope to get up there this weekend or next...if the crick don't rise.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 05, 2016 09:10PM
Sigh... If I ***wanted*** to stay on the trail I would have... grrr!!!

Here is blop waiting ...



ain't nobody got time fir dat?

tongue sticking out smiley

Z blops failing to follow the leader...


this... we do have time for:


and here the dynamic duo are... where waving bye bye...


Good fun...
As always...
Chick-on is looking at you!

and no, you definitely don't want to make it race...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 06, 2016 06:57AM
What Taft looked like on the 26th:


nice and pristine... smiling smiley

From this trip.... here is JKW and blop:
* note * it's a lot steeper than it looks !


Upside of it all is... now all the ski trails have been added to the Trail Quest...
Grinning Devil



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 06, 2016 10:30AM
Happy New year. What a great way for you all to start 2016. Thanks for the great trip report. On New Years day I was deck skiing while my son was on the slopes at Badger and on the second was wandering around the valley. The ice at Bridalveil was a interesting color and even more so after my son mentioned he thought it looked like a giant throw up. Don't you just love teenagers? LOL



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2016 10:31AM by parklover.
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
January 07, 2016 08:45PM
I think this is the first TR from you guys that hasn't made me green with envy. I'm getting cold just looking at those photos, jeez.

Photos are beautiful, of course. The mutual zooms were great fun as well. Thanks for sharing!
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 03, 2016 02:06PM
Beautiful scenery. Thanks for taking the time for this TR.

Now that it's summer I am already thinking of winter camping. Never been snow camping before, but hate to stay inside all winter long - so it may happen this year.

1) How does one... um... "dig a hole" in the winter? The ground is frozen. I presume just go into the forest and dig the snow? I hope it's not like going up heavily-traveled summits, where a baggie is required to truly "bring it in, pack it out" with *everything*

2) TV binging? Really? I've kept up-to-date reading about boating... and pancakes... and heat diffusers and the right spatula (not to be left at home). I saw some references to TV and movies but thought it was a joke. Just how does this work (and maybe more importantly, why?) Long winter nights may be the answer - can only stare at the stars and sleep for so many hours.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2016 02:07PM by ags.
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 07, 2016 02:32PM
Technically you are supposed to take your shovel and dig all the way to the ground and then into the dirt to go numba 2.
On one trip this year we were happy to hear a group of 20 (or close to it) ... were bringing in wag bags.
Obviously you cannot dig down 20 ft. ... so it's best to go next to a tree well if you need to.
At a place like Dewey... boy... yeah... I just don't know... ask at the A-Frame. It's getting VERY VERY VERY
popular it seems.

With respect to TV... um... yes, it's no joke. Lookie... I can look at the stars for a couple of hours... but ...
what's the max daylight? 8 hours? Someone said they didn't want to be in a tent for 10 hours... well...
that gives you from about beginning of May to beginning of August. Sorry. But personally... I could not
handle only going July (obviously May is too snowy... and June too much water... and July ... )
Anyway... so... yes.. TV. I have been personally doing it since 2007 when I found an Archos video player.
Nowadaze... there's a zillion options with every device being able to play video.
Currently we are using a 8" tablet... strung up on the tent ceiling. It's a lot of fun!
Especially in winter when the sun sets around 5 (or earlier).... get in tent... have a nice dinner...
pretty soon it's 6:30pm... now... watch a movie ... and now it's about 8:30pm...
Makes winter camping a LOT of fun!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 07, 2016 03:51PM
And when you get past a certain age and slog several hours on snowshoes 12 hours of sleep time is doable. I've tried the TV but can't stay awake.



Old Dude
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 07, 2016 07:01PM
Quote
mrcondron
And when you get past a certain age and slog several hours on snowshoes 12 hours of sleep time is doable. I've tried the TV but can't stay awake.

And even if you are still under that certain age and you've had a relatively leisurely spring backpacking day... You could settle in for a little screaming match on Hell's Kitchen and fall asleep inside of minutes!

And when you get nudged and asked "Are you sleeping?" you can startle awake with huge eyes and say "I'm awake! I wasn't sleeping!"...

So then you get asked, "So why were you snoring?"

The Pink One has more than once had to attempt a viewing three times before staying awake through the entire show.

Usually it's only two attempts. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

Frankly, when I first heard about his TV watching at night, I couldn't understand it. I thought the Pink One was mad. Maybe he didn't really care about the wilderness, the sky, the sounds. Now I know better. Now I'm hooked! It's fun. We're sociable. We talk about the show as it's going on. Reading a book just puts you in your own world. I'm a convert, what can I say? I'm eating crow on this one.

Chick-on loves the wilderness. He's very in tune with it. He also loves tech. Just like Basilbop and me. We have really enjoyed fine-tuning our little setup. It's part of the fun.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2016 07:01PM by JustKeepWalking.
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 09, 2016 04:30PM
Quote
mrcondron
And when you get past a certain age and slog several hours on snowshoes 12 hours of sleep time is doable. I've tried the TV but can't stay awake.

I'd need the 12 hours; I just have too many problems with insomnia.
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 13, 2016 09:38PM
For the record: not judging, just trying to understand. If a tablet is big enough to share, light enough to carry, has enough memory to hold movies without connectivity and battery life long enough to last the night, I get it.

I tend to be rushing to cram in stuff before it gets dark, and by the time camp is put to bed I'm ready to sleep myself. If I could just sleep more than 15 minutes at a time...
avatar Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 14, 2016 07:11AM
Quote
ags
For the record: not judging, just trying to understand. If a tablet is big enough to share, light enough to carry, has enough memory to hold movies without connectivity and battery life long enough to last the night, I get it.

I tend to be rushing to cram in stuff before it gets dark, and by the time camp is put to bed I'm ready to sleep myself. If I could just sleep more than 15 minutes at a time...

It's big enough to share. (currently using 8" tablet) (suspended from tent ceiling)
It's light enough to carry. (um... I am carrying it... so ... for others... it's free) (it's 15 oz btw)
It's has over 200GB of storage (more with USB stick) (how many movies you want?)
The battery lasts a LONG time (4000 mAh)

Let's see... we hiked and boated over 12 miles and 3 lakes on Friday... and was eating before sunset.
on Saturday... hiked all xcountry 12 miles... climbed a few domes... took a nap... and was eating at 6:30pm.
We watched a few shows... then the wife went into her hammock. I watched part of a movie...
then went to sleep at 10pm... awoke at 3am to rain... listened to the rain for a bit... watched a 50 minute show...
listened to rain some more... went back to sleep til 7am...

So, yeah. I mean... someone said they didn't want to be in tent for 10hours... well..
that only gives you early may to beginning of aug. Sorry.. I love this stuff too much to
only do it for a couple months out of the year. So... hey, I get it... looking at the stars is
great. Getting away from it all... is great... and you have to believe me...
I do all that. But staring up at the stars can only amuse me for so long.

https://goo.gl/photos/iJhcV2dxyQuNX9Lh7

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: New Year, Old Acquaintances
June 14, 2016 08:42AM
Yup, I get it.

What we don't get is as many miles in before dark as you do... :-)
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