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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Gibbous (78% of Full)


TR: Labor Day Weekend Nelson Lake to Cathedral Lake Loop

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TR: Labor Day Weekend Nelson Lake to Cathedral Lake Loop
September 07, 2018 10:29AM
This weekend we went on a 5 day loop starting from the TM campground following the Elizabeth Lake trail, up and over to Nelson Lake, down to Babcock Lake, past the Merced Lake HSC and up to Cathedral Lakes and back to TM.
Day 1: TM > Nelson Lake 5.5 Miles
Saw only 2 day hikers on the trail to Elizabeth Lake. Once we got to the lake, we took the oppertunity to take a break before heading over the pass to the Echo Creek drainage

This year, we were more successful in staying on the use trail up from Elizabeth Lake

We had a slight navigation error that led us too far down stream from Nelson Lake, so we did a little scrambling to get up to the lake

The sunset at Neson Lake was beautiful

We saw one other couple camped at the lake. Zero mosquitos. The creek that leaves Nelson Lake was dry.

Day 2: Nelson Lake > Babcock Lake 6 Miles
We made our way from Nelson Lake cross-country towards Emeric Lake.

Heading over to Emeric Lake, I found a route on the map that would save us some miles. Turns out, there was a little more scrambling than I had anticipated, but we all agreed it was the best part of the trip.

The creek leaving Emeric Lake was dry. Once we hit the trail we started seeing more people on our way to Babcock Lake.

Babcock Lake did not dissapoint

Day 3: Babcock Lake > Cathedral Fork Creek 9.35 Miles
This was the longest day of the trip. The hike from Babcock to the Merced Lake HSC was not pleasant. The long downhill combined with the cobblestone 'pavement' gave my knee fits. We saw lots of people heading up from Merced to Vogelsang. I got lots of compliments on my hiking umbrella.

We heard at Merced Lake that water up Echo/Cathedral creek was sparse. We loaded up our water supplies at the Merced River prior to starting our hike up. We found out later that where were some nice pools near our campsite that would have provided us with enough water. Oh well, carrying those extra 50 lbs of water between the 3 of us helped build more character as my dad would say.

Day 4: Cathedral Fork > Upper Cathedral Lake 7.7 Miles

We continued along the trail seeing fewer people than we expected. Once we hit the JMT, we saw plenty of folks.
The views as you get closer to Cathedral Pass become more and more impressive.

We got caught in a little rain/hail storm on the way down from Cathedral Pass. The hiking umbrella worked great. Worth every ounce! We got to the Upper lake and found a nice camp in the trees. Once we got the tents set up, the rain stopped. We ended up having a nice relaxing evening.

Day 5: Upper Cathedral Lake > TM 5.1 Miles
This day was a short one. We were all just set on getting back to the cars so we could get our burgers at the grill and make the long drive home. We saw a pretty constant stream of day hikers heading to the lake and a few people starting out their backpacking trips.

The weather on this trip was fantastic, nice and mild. No smoke or haze from the fires to mess up our view. We all left exhausted but ful of great memories.
Re: TR: Labor Day Weekend Nelson Lake to Cathedral Lake Loop
September 09, 2018 04:12PM
Nice report! You got to see some lovely country.

I had a chuckle about you setting your tent in time for the rain to stop...been there!


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