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Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010

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avatar Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 28, 2010 12:39PM
Spotted 2 bears (sow & cub) in parking lot while waiting for TM permit office to open 8/18. There were 5 people ahead of me at 6:30 including 2 who had been sleeping there since 3AM. By 7:30 there were about 12 people. Ranger Craig said it was the second day in a row where they had less than 50 people waiting at opening time!

After a Tuolumne Grill breakfast I hit the Cathedral TH for a very short ways before breaking off for the Budd Lake trail. Found it but then stummbled upon the Climber's trail and followed that until the appropriate time to cross Budd Creek and on up to Budd Lake. From there I went over Echo Peaks to the right of the scree field. Going over Echo Peaks was far more demanding than I expected and probably not a wise choice alone but I did it. With a blazing headache I decided to pass on traversing over to the Matthess Crest saddle and just went straight down to Echo Lake and camped about 1,000' short of the Dolly Domes Canyon (Cathedral Fork Canyon?) trail.

The second day was a straight shot to Merced Lake backpacker's camp with an exquisite supper & breakfast at the HSC.

Day three was a 3,000' ascent to Bernice Lake, the prettiest part of the entire hike. Bill-e-g, thanks for telling me not to miss Bernice Lake. I honestly thought I might have the whole place to myself only to discover half a dozen tents with a party of 10 from Sierra Club who were there for 5 days and had their stuff toted in by mules. This brings to mind a question. Are community toilets legal in the backcountry? They had dug a large hole and propped a folding chair w/ toilet seat on top of it. It was also completely out in an open area facing Vogelsang Pass. I was a bit surprised by this Sierra Club group who also had 3 tents less than 100' from the lake. They also appeared to have had some sort of metal enclosure or firebox they all sat around in the evening, presumably with a fire in it although I did not venture close enought to verify that. If it was an open fire it too was illegal. Anyway, that day's 3,000' ascent wore the heck out of me. I debated taking the Emeric Creek trail to lesson some of the climb but felt good enough at the junction to stay on plan. At 4AM while up to answer a call of nature the wind flipped my tent over! Went back to bed with some rocks in the tent. Didn't get much sleep that night due to windy conditions.

Day four was down from Bernice Lake and over Vogelsang Pass. As others have attested to this was a cool and windy day (Saturday) and I never saw the sun all day where I was. The plan was to go to Evelyn Lake and eventually exit via Ireland Creek and Lyell Canyon but I decided to get away from the cold and wind and headed down Rafferty Creek. Camped the last night off Rafferty Creek trail across the meadow opposite Johnson Peak a short ways outside the no camping zone. This was the best campsite of the four nights.

I had none of the problems I ran into last year. The best news was no heel blisters, not even a hot spot this year. The right boots, liners, Kenesio tape, and foot powder works wonders. Didn't even hit a deer with my rental car!

On Monday I followed up with a couple day trips to May Lake (did not climb Mt. Hoffman) and Saddleback Lake. I hit Saddleback rather late in the day so did not go as far as I would have liked, having turned around at Helen Lake, just after Steelhead Lake. This is definitely an area I want to go back to again and cover more thoroughly and at a more leisurely pace. An interesting note: The snack bar at Saddleback has a 5/20 photo hanging on the wall showing the top 9-12" of the roof peak sticking out of the snow. Everything else was burried under the snow.

I will not kid you, doing a trip like this only once a year (I'm 65 now) is extremely demanding. About the time I got truly adapted to the altitude it was time to leave. It would also be nicer if I could find a hiking partner of similar capability but doing that from the east coast and on my schedule is a tall order. Anyway, I wouldn't trade the experince for anything and am looking forward to 2011.

Jimsmileys with beer
avatar Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 28, 2010 01:22PM
Bummer on not getting on the Crest. Sounds like you were close enough to get a taste anyway.
Also bummer on Bernice. I quit giving to the Sierra Club a few years ago, I've heard too
many stories like the one you just told. For an environmental group to condone any
practice other than strict LNT is ridiculous IMO. The two times we've been to Bernice
we were the only ones up in that area... chalk that one up to some bad luck. ... sigh...

Not surprised about the hut at Saddlebag (bag not back btw).
Here's Sachse Ranger Cabin from May 28th of this year (7800 ft):



(never really dawned on me until the moment I saw the cabin as to why they put a door on the top)

Glad you had a nice trip.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2010 01:24PM by bill-e-g.
avatar Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 28, 2010 04:40PM
bill-e-g,

Wow! It's Saturday and your'e not in the high country? Relatives visiting?
avatar Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 28, 2010 05:54PM
Quote
tomdisco
bill-e-g,

Wow! It's Saturday and your'e not in the high country? Relatives visiting?


Chick-on having a BirdDay Party?
avatar Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 29, 2010 07:46AM
Chick-on is recovering for his "5 summit adventure" ...
Although after looking at the Alaska adventure ... It's pretty humbling ...

Can't go EVERY weekend... (close though) wink

Jim, how you like the bareboxer?
avatar Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
August 29, 2010 09:35AM
bill-e-g,

The Bareboxer is ideal for this length of hike, especially since I ate two meals at the Merced HSC. I had a desert (for two) that I never really got into so that was considerable extra space that could have allowed for more regular food or other items. Yes, it was crammed very tightly at first but was a delight to deal with instead of the huge and heavier Garcia. Admittedly, the first couple of nights I stored sunscreen, toothpaste, meds, and first aid pack in doubled up odor-proof bags kept in the tent at night. These got transferred to the Bareboxer as room permitted. Never saw any bears on the trail anyway.
Re: Annual Yosemite trek--August 2010
February 11, 2013 09:53PM
Quote
tomdisco

Day three was a 3,000' ascent to Bernice Lake, the prettiest part of the entire hike. Bill-e-g, thanks for telling me not to miss Bernice Lake. I honestly thought I might have the whole place to myself only to discover half a dozen tents with a party of 10 from Sierra Club who were there for 5 days and had their stuff toted in by mules. This brings to mind a question. Are community toilets legal in the backcountry? They had dug a large hole and propped a folding chair w/ toilet seat on top of it. It was also completely out in an open area facing Vogelsang Pass. I was a bit surprised by this Sierra Club group who also had 3 tents less than 100' from the lake. They also appeared to have had some sort of metal enclosure or firebox they all sat around in the evening, presumably with a fire in it although I did not venture close enought to verify that. If it was an open fire it too was illegal.

Jimsmileys with beer

Quote
tomdisco
Had some experience disturbing 5-day squatters last year at Bernice Lake. It was a large Sierra Club group no less! They had taken all the good spots so I ended up pitching tent about 75' from one guy who was not mollified by the fact we were separated by some trees and bushes and not even visible to one another. I actually got a lecture on back country etiquite! Seems I was supposed to look for a less desirable site so as not to invade his perception of territorial rights. After I told him what I thought of their communal toilet with folding seat (in a large open clearing facing Vogelsang Pass) and the 3 tents in their group less than 100' from the water, I became as popular as a skunk at a lawn party. grinning smiley

Anyone who is considering camping at Bernice this August (as I was) should be forewarned that this five-day Vogelsang-area squat is apparently an annual event of the "Mule Pack Section" of the Angeles Chapter.
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