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Re: Happy Isles to Illilouette Creek Backpack

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avatar Happy Isles to Illilouette Creek Backpack
October 24, 2016 08:35PM
One weekend after a big rainfall my plan had been to camp at Rancheria Falls. However, with the trail to Wapama Falls closed due to rockfall...I needed a plan B. So, I hiked up the Mist Trail, then up the JMT most of the way to Nevada Falls, then up the Panorama Trail and the Mono Meadow trail to Illilouette Creek.

There were a lot of people out Saturday - lots of day hikers, and a lot of people, mostly hiking to Little Yosemite Valley, whose quota was full. Once I started on the Mono Meadow Trail - I had it to myself.

Some condition notes, with the caution that storms are expected this week and stuff will change.

Bugs: There were a few pesky gnats, roughly from 4500' to 6000'. Nothing above or below.

Water: Because of the rains there was a nice flow in Illilouette Creek. The seasonal flow just north of the Illilouette Creek crossing had a good flow of clear water, the landscape-fold 500 feet to the north was seeping water. The other seasonal flow along that trail, to the north, was dry. Along the JMT just west of the Panorama Trail water was dripping from the rocks onto the trail. Vernal and Nevada Falls looked like mid-summer.

I was camped on top of a well-drained glacial-sand ridge, and while the ground looked dry in the afternoon...it's still holding plenty of water. My tent is pretty good as the inside was quite dry while the outside of the floor was quite wet in the morning. In fact, all of the sand in the area looked wet in the morning, though there was no dew (the outside of my tent fly was dry).

Driving to Yosemite: I drove CA-120 early Saturday morning, and...I must have passed at least 12 tandem dump trucks, as well as seeing 4 more along CA-120 from Old Priest Grade. I hope this was a one-day-only thing related to the construction in the Valley (I saw 2 trucks at the Big Oak Flat entrance)...these vehicles were moving about 15-25 MPH. Most were pulling over from time to time to let people pass, which was good, but that was a lot of dump truck traffic. I took my chances on CA-120 Sunday afternoon and there was no such traffic.

Pictures...Vernal Falls:


A lone Big Leaf Maple:


Illilouette Creek, near campsite:


Yosemite Falls. Greatly diminished from the pictures on social media last weekend, but still looking more like mid-summer than October:


Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap:




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2016 08:43PM by ttilley.
Re: Happy Isles to Illilouette Creek Backpack
October 25, 2016 08:35AM
Thanks for the report and pics!

We didn't go deep into the Valley, just enough to get to and from 41/ GP road from 120...

Could not believe the cars parked at Sentinel/Taft lot-along the road- like summer!!! Sheesh!

And we saw the trucks you mentioned.

On Sunday evening, driving back into the park to get Basilbop, we saw the sign "Valley Parking Full" outside the BOF entrance. It was about 4:30 pm on Sunday! Maybe the sign wasn't updated, but definitely a lot of traffic for so late in weekend, I thought!
avatar Re: Happy Isles to Illilouette Creek Backpack
October 25, 2016 10:12AM
I also thought the crowds Saturday were summer-like, both in the Valley and on the Mist trail. There were fewer people Sunday, though still quite a few. The shuttle buses were running every 10 minutes, despite the signs indicating a 20 minute frequency, and had plenty of riders.

I was wondering if having a good weather weekend after a big rain put water in the various falls brought more people, though there were also a number of different languages being spoken along the trail indicating international visitors. I was also seeing license plates from a variety of states.
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