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Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep

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Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 10, 2016 08:56PM
(First of all, apologies for the delays in posting... Google finally made good with their threat to kill off all remaining useful Picasa functionality--such as embedding images in websites. I don't know how long they'll keep the old Picasa links functional; they seem to have already killed my "More Pictures" links for reasons... )

The Advance Party, as some of you know, is on a quest.. a TrailQuest. This includes re-visiting a lot of places that we had recently visited in an off-trail mode...

I left the Virginia Lakes trailhead near sunset, following the well-defined trail first by twilight, then by headlamp. Repeated calls on the radio to the Advance Party received no response.



The hike up was quite peaceful, and despite the nearly-full trailhead parking lot, the only people I encountered were some unseen hikers off the trail, enjoying sunset from near Frog Lakes.

My original plan was to camp at these lakes, but I was still feeling strong when I got there, and the pass above them that separated Virginia Lakes from Summit Lake didn't look too bad... so I continued up over the pass, turning on my headlamp at its base.

The crescent moon was just rising as I reached the top of the pass. The wind was blowing quite strongly at the top, but it died down as I started the descent to Summit Lake. What I could see of the surrounding terrain certainly looked interesting, and it was obvious the well-constructed trail was descending steep, precipitous terrain. For a few moments I could see a headlamp I assumed was at Summit Lake, unfortunately still a good way below me. As I got more tired, the motion of the headlamp and the shadows it cast near me caused me to stumble a few times. Mandatory bedtime was quickly approaching.

Eventually I reached the lake and quickly sought out a sheltered bivy spot; the wind was still a bit gusty. Maybe 20 minutes after stopping I was comfortably in my bivy sack and sleeping bag, and soon thereafter was sound asleep.



Immediately after I woke up the next morning, I turned on my radio and was able to contact the Advance Party, who was at Return Lake as planned. I quickly made coffee, gulped down my granola, packed, and was soon back on the trail, just as the morning light reached Summit Lake.



Since I also wanted to check off some trail segments, I headed down from Summit Pass to the Virginia/Summit Pass junction. From there I could see the Shepherd Crest, at the base of which was the day's final destination: Shepherd Lake.



After dropping down to the trail junction, I headed up the Virginia Pass trail towards Return Lake.



As the Advance Party was still packing, I inflated my boat and hit Return Lake. During our last visit, we had had our boats, but strong winds and choppy waves kept us off the water. There were no such issues this morning.



One more lake boated, I headed up to their camp and rested while they finished packing. Camp finally broken, we walked together for a bit, but as they had already finished the Virginia Pass trail and I hadn't, I headed cross-country to this pass. Last year when we reached the pass the wind had been fierce. While it was still quite breezy, I didn't feel like I'd be blown off the pass.



There isn't much of a trail on the Yosemite side of Virginia Pass, and near Return Creek it all but vanished. Fortunately the TrailQuest judges awarded a "completed!" based on a good-faith effort.



After passing the place where I'd branched off towards Return Lake, I headed back to the Summit/Virginia junction. The Advance Party was still ahead of me. On radio they indicated they had left the trail to find a lunch spot near the creek. The plan was to stash our packs and other heavy gear here and "day hike" down to the PCT junction and back. Despite having been to Virginia Canyon several times last year, we had managed to hike less than a mile of the trail.

The hike down canyon was quite pleasant. Old avalanches had toppled enough trees that there were usually good views.



At the junction, we headed off-trail to check out some of the granite that constricted Return Creek. Unfortunately we had to return to our packs and then climb another 1200' or so the Shepherd Lake, so we couldn't spend too much time enjoying this nice area.



The hike from Return Creek to Shepherd Lake was very pleasant--mostly open forest and grass interspersed with flowers, with very little difficult shrubbery. The only down side was that all the flowers were triggering JKW's allergies. Along the way we passed a few hikers, probably doing the Sierra High Route.



Eventually we reached the lake. I had been at it last year, descending from Sky Pilot Col to Soldier Lake. I had fond memories of the lake, but as I was resting there storm clouds were threatening. There wasn't a cloud to be seen this day.



The wind was strong enough that we sought out a campsite sheltered by some whitebark pines. It was too breezy for an evening boat; that would have to wait for the following morning.



After camp was set up, we enjoyed dinner. I had hiked almost 23 miles in the past 24 hours or so--5 on Friday and 17.6 on Saturday--so soon after dinner and evening cleanup I retired to my bivy sack and was soon thereafter asleep.



The next morning was seasonably chilly--unlike the previous couple of weekends, which were unusually warm. After the typical pancake and bacon breakfast, we inflated the boats to hit the lake. The air was still chilly, and the water that splashed onto the boat froze.



Still, we enjoyed boating, and eventually the sun warmed the lake--and us.



After breaking camp, we started our traverse towards Onion Lake. The Pink One took the higher road, while JKW and I took the lower one. There were a few talus fields and brush-filled gullies we had to navigate, but the biggest problem were all the grasses and flowers--and the allergies they were triggering with JKW.



The going was a bit tedious, but we eventually reached Onion Lake, where, after lunch, we deployed the armada yet again.



While we had returned a few times to Return Lake, and there had been some wild onion near Onion Lake, we had seen neither sheep nor herders near Shepherd Lake... until we started our drop back to Summit Lake, where below us we saw several young bighorn sheep. Unfortunately our excitement startled them and they fled away, but not before we could snap a few parting pictures.



After the sheep left us, we descended to Summit Lake via a large talus field, eventually reaching the west end of the lake--and the Yosemite boundary.



The Advance Party had staged a vehicle at the Green Lake trailhead, so instead of returning over the pass I had stumbled across a few nights ago, we instead descended down the trail that passed the Hoover Lakes, Gillman, East, and eventually Green Lake.



This particular area was quite un-Sierra-like, colorful red and blue-grey rocks instead of the more typical white granite.



The terrain was beautiful, and after we passed Green Lake we could see roughly where the end of our hike would be.



Eventually we reached the trailhead and I had to say good-bye to the mountains. JKW and the Pink One would continue with their quest, and I planned to return to the mountains--and them--in a week.

Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 10, 2016 09:47PM
Thanks for the TR! I didn't know Picasa was going down...I still use it to host my photos sad smiley

By the way, awesome photo of the sheep!!
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 10, 2016 10:55PM
Wonderful TR, awesome adventure! I've only been to Green Lake on a day hike and always wanted to return to that area to explore more. Loved your pics from Shepherd Lake and xc to Onion. As for the Shepherd Crest, it is calling for some serious photography.
Thanks for sharing.
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 05:50AM
Although Picasa Web is dead, all your photos should have migrated to Google Photos. Curiously, the Picasa desktop app is still fully functional...
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 06:41AM
Yes, all the photos from Picasa have migrated to Google photos, but NOT THE CAPTIONS, AND NOT THE ABILITY TO HAVE ALBUMS OF PHOTOS VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC ON THE WEB.


The irony is that we used Google Sites and Picasa for our website because Google pitched it as being compatible and integrated...

And then yanked the plug and destroyed the compatability. Sounds just like AT&T, doesn't it? So much for the brave new world of cool hipster Silicon Valley and it's totally different corporate culture...



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 10:58PM
Quote
balzaccom
Yes, all the photos from Picasa have migrated to Google photos, but NOT THE CAPTIONS, AND NOT THE ABILITY TO HAVE ALBUMS OF PHOTOS VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC ON THE WEB.


The irony is that we used Google Sites and Picasa for our website because Google pitched it as being compatible and integrated...

And then yanked the plug and destroyed the compatability. Sounds just like AT&T, doesn't it? So much for the brave new world of cool hipster Silicon Valley and it's totally different corporate culture...


Google's well known mantra:

DO NO EVIL.
That's our job.


Grinning Devil



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 11:11PM
Quote
plawrence
Google's well known mantra:

DO NO EVIL.

They lost that objective long ago.
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 11:27PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
plawrence
Google's well known mantra:

DO NO EVIL.

They lost that objective long ago.

They never lost it since they never had it to begin with. As I stated above, their complete mantra is: do no evil, that's our job. Grinning Devil



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 23, 2016 08:55PM
Google is a bit less evil than Apple.
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 24, 2016 01:26AM
Quote
yosemitejim
Google is a bit less evil than Apple.

True, but it's trying to change that.
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 04:51PM
All Picasa photos are visible in Google Photos, but the Picasa functionality to generate image embedding URLs seems to have disappeared. It looks like it may be possible to reverse-engineer image-specific URLs from the albums, but even if this works, who knows for how long.

OTOH, while OneDrive does now have an embed URL generation, the link to view the entire album includes a "Download" link, which I'd rather not have displayed... so until this can be turned off, I won't be adding the "More Pictures" links, which generally include pictures I picked out of the entire set from the trip (usually ~1000 images) that didn't make it into the TR...
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 11:09PM
Quote
basilbop
All Picasa photos are visible in Google Photos, but the Picasa functionality to generate image embedding URLs seems to have disappeared. It looks like it may be possible to reverse-engineer image-specific URLs from the albums, but even if this works, who knows for how long.


Using the Google Chrome web browser, for my Picasaweb photos I go not to Google Photos but to Google Album Archive: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/

I then click on the album that the photo is located in and then click on the photo I want to link. I then right-click "Copy Image Address" to capture the image URL like for this photo:



(Note the image URL generated via Google Album Archive is a lot shorter than the one generated through Google Photos)



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 11, 2016 11:21PM
Another awesome trip report!

Thanks for taking the time to post it! (And going through the extra hassle of using OneDrive instead of being able to link using Picasaweb. RIP.)



Leave No Trace
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 15, 2016 02:30PM
Fun trip report and beautiful pictures. Thank you
Re: Yes, Virginia, There Are Sheep
August 25, 2016 09:29PM
Thanks for the great trip report.
Looks lovely!
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