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Re: Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR

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Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR
September 08, 2017 08:17AM
I got back Tuesday from a 5-day trip to Nelson Lake/Vogelsang area, and wanted to add a quick summary of conditions for those looking to head up there this weekend. A more detailed report will come once I can make sense of all the photos and adventures we had.

Day 1 - Elizabeth Lake TH to Nelson Lake: Mosquitoes were very minimal. Hiked the use trail on the east side of Elizabeth Lake and over the ridge. We made our own path over the ridge, as the use trail looked to go too far east according to our map. Maybe we should have stayed on it, but we made it over just the same. I used a map app on my phone with the cross country routes marked out which made navigation a lot easier. The cross country was still difficult, but the navigation wasn't an issue. We camped just below Nelson Lake and enjoyed the time there a lot.

Day 2 - Nelson Lake to Emeric Lake: Mosquitoes were very minimal. Bushwhacked and followed intermittent use trails to Lake 9637. There were some route finding issues due to thick forest, down fall, boulders, and cliffs. It took a lot longer than planned to cover this short distance. We filled our water at the lake, and continued over the ridge. I found a TR from high sierra topix that described a route from Emeric to Lake 9637, and used the photos to navigate our way down. The key was taking our packs off and climbing down a 10' section of granite to a nice ledge that we followed down to a large granite slab that took us down to Emeric. The slab walking was one of my favorite parts. We camped at the north side of Emeric Lake (it was already starting to get dark). This side of the lake was shallow and marshy. Not really inviting. It was beautiful though. There are probably better areas to camp, but we were too tired to search. Mosquitoes were minimal to moderate. I treated my clothing with permetherin and had very little issues. Others in my party had to get the deet out.

Day 3 - Emeric Lake to Fletcher lake: Stomach issues caught up to me, and what would have been the easiest trail walking turned out to be the most miserable part of the trip for me. The plan was to camp at Evelyn Lake, but we cut it short to Fletcher as the sky was darkening and the wind was picking up. We didn't want to be caught in a storm, so we found a nice place far enough from the trail and the backpacker's camp. The rain never came, but the wind was relentless. Most in my part did not sleep well. I carried ear plugs, so I had the best night sleep. Mosquitoes were almost zero.

Day 4 was a planned rest/exploring day: Some of us hiked to Vogelsang pass and experienced the best view of the trip. The hike sans backpack was really nice and not too difficult. I did see a few parties with full packs that looked completely miserable. After Vogelsang, it was nap time. Some hiked up to Evelyn Lake, I fished in Fletcher Lake and caught my first Yosemite brook trout on a fly that I tied. To be fair, the fish were biting anything that hit the water. I caught on on a messed up cast and almost yanked it out of the water because I didn't realize it was on my line. The Evelyn hikers said that our spot was better, as there was not many places with trees to protect from the wind. I'll take their word for it. Mosquitoes were light to moderate as the wind died down.

Day 5 - Hike out Fletcher Lake to TM: We broke camp earlier than normal and began the hike down the Rafferty Creek Trail. It was not too bad since there were no pack trains servicing the HSCs. It was still dusty in places, but not as bad as I had heard. We were dealing with sore knees and joints, so we were looking forward to getting back to civilization. Made it back to the TM lodge and took advantage of the flushing toilets and sinks to clean up a bit.

Weather ranged from low 40's to mid 70's. Rain threatened, but never saw more than a few drops. Tuesday on our way out, the thunderstorms came.
This was the first trip where I use a hiking umbrella and loved it. I need to modify how I attach it to my pack, but it was great having shade at all times. It had to come down during some of the bushwhacking, but other than that it was great.

Here's a link to our route:
https://caltopo.com/m/BNMG
Re: Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR
September 10, 2017 11:57AM
Thanks for sharing; interesting to compare notes. (I did a similar route two weeks earlier, for those who haven't seen.) How long did it take you to get from Nelson Lake to Lake 9637? Chick-on posted a nice illustration in my thread showing the descent to Emeric Lake; sounds like you took a route similar to his.

I agree that Evelyn Lake is not a great spot for camping. Looks like a mosquito hatchery.

Sounds like you had some of the same weird weather that we did.
Re: Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR
September 11, 2017 09:42AM
Quote
iivvgg
Thanks for sharing; interesting to compare notes. (I did a similar route two weeks earlier, for those who haven't seen.) How long did it take you to get from Nelson Lake to Lake 9637? Chick-on posted a nice illustration in my thread showing the descent to Emeric Lake; sounds like you took a route similar to his.

I agree that Evelyn Lake is not a great spot for camping. Looks like a mosquito hatchery.

Sounds like you had some of the same weird weather that we did.

It took us a while to get to Lake 9637, probably 4-5 hours including lunch. The climb up and over the ridge to the lake was dense with vegetation, trees, and boulders. It took a while to navigate around the 20-30' cliffs. I'm sure we didn't take the best route. This was the most difficult part of the trip, but also the most fun.
Re: Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR
September 10, 2017 12:18PM
You had originally planned for a southern Yosemite loop hitting Red Peak, maybe Isberg, Post Peak Passes, no?

We had been thinking of something similar but fire/smoke made us move it to very Northern Yosemite where Basilbop got other needed Trail Quest miles in. (Sep 2-6) We were lucky with weather again, and never seemed to get the worst of it, based on what we saw around us and the debris fields on the way home.

Weird weather, indeed, especially for the time of year!

Thanks for the report!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2017 12:19PM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Labor Day Trip Nelson Lake/Vogelsang Area Brief TR
September 11, 2017 06:58AM
We had originally planned on doing the Red Peak Pass loop, but the fires got me to consider other options. The Wednesday before Labor Day, I found out that the permits for the RPP area were canceled, so the fire made the choice on which route we should take. I'm glad we went where we did. We did see lots of smoke and haze farther south/west, but it never made it to where we were. I believe we only noticed a smoke smell 3 times. We'll try RPP again maybe next year. This trip taught us how much more we need to prep for a long trip. We did about 30 miles over 5 days and that was about right. Our knees and backs would have had a hard time with 50 miles. Now we know what to tweak and how to better prep for the next hike. Good news is that we all want to do another longer trip.
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