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Cathedral Lakes Trip Report

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Cathedral Lakes Trip Report
July 25, 2017 11:31AM
We are back from an amazing trip from TM to HI. 7/18-21. We ended up revising our original route due to one of us wanting to take things a little slower. So we basically stayed on the JMT all the way down except for the Mist Trail. Skipped Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest. (next time). The trail was mostly snow-free with a few patches and hills to go around. Route finding was mostly idiot proof with the exception of the spur down to Cathedral Lake. There were lost of downed trees and water everywhere. I feel like we got there at the perfect time with the abundance of water, gorgeous green meadows, wildflowers, lingering snow on the mountains, lakes melted out, mosquitoes minimal. The only time we got annoyed by the mosquitoes was near Sunrise High Sierra Camp. A dousing of Deet and headnets kept them at bay. We camped at Upper Cathedral and it was stunning. Then at SHSC. Pretty view over the meadow below. The burnt out area on the way out was actually really pretty as the ground was covered in lush ferns and wildflowers but I was glad to get out of it. Third night we camped above LYV with an incredible view of Half Dome. They skies were particularly smokey that evening giving it an ominous feel, but by morning the winds must have changed and we had mostly clear views all the way down. We passed LYV camp and kind of wished we had stayed there because of it's proximity to water. It wasn't crowded at all and the Merced was gorgeous. The falls were breathtaking. I was out-voted on taking the JMT over the Mist, but was glad we did. It was tight, and definitely had to watch my step with a pack and tired legs, but WOW! The water was raging. The paved downhill out to HI was torture on my feet but visions of burgers and beer got me through. This is also where we saw the only bear of the trip. It was completely uninterested in the gawking humans and it tore a log apart looking for juicy bugs. Degnans was a nice post-hike place to get a beer and sandwich..and chips....and ice cream...

Here's what I came away with: It really is ALL good. I can't imagine you could go wrong with any route. The other hikers on the trail are the nicest people in the world. Loved running into JMTers and PCTers and hearing their stories. Never saw a ranger on the trail. I used all my gear except gaiters and rain jacket. Brought just the right amount of food and now realize how few calories I actually need. We probably ate no more that 1500/day. Was nice not to have to carry a lot of water. I'm used to loading up on water for hikes in the desert and Grand Canyon. I got a little chilly the first night at Cathedral lakes and wished I had brought that base layer I opted to leave at home. The following nights I was fine though. I think the fires in Mariposa kept some of the tourists away because even when we left the Valley on Saturday it wasn't that crowded. My only complaint was the seemingly cluelessness of the the Aramark staff. The bus drivers didn't know where the backpacker's camp was, they didn't know that Half Dome Village was previously called Curry Village causing lots of confusion. Also, the YARTS driver (not Aramark) that took my husband back to TM to get his truck was super rude and grumpy with him.

Favorite gear: goosefoot gear pillow, Gaia GPS app, REI passage 2 tent, bandanna for pee rag. Should have brought an extra camera battery. It died on the 3rd day so I used my phone for the remainder of the trip.


Favorite food: Cosco hummus packets with tortillas for lunch. I made home-made dehydrated meals for dinner, but somehow the 1st night's got left behind so we stopped at REI and I picked up 2 Good to Go meals. They were actually pretty good and not salty and processed tasting like MH.

If someone will explain how to post pics here, I have a few good shots I can share.

Thanks to everyone here who gave me such great advice and intel. It was invaluable and I am very grateful!
Re: Cathedral Lakes Trip Report
July 25, 2017 03:16PM
For photosharing, I have uploaded photos to Flickr to share on this site. I have also found some success sharing through social media sites such as Facebook but the photo hotlinks eventually change.
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