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Re: Condition of May Lake

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Condition of May Lake
July 07, 2011 09:44AM
What is the current condition of May Lake? I am thinking of taking my 12 year old son camping at May Lake this weekend. We are novice backpackers. We went there last year when it was warmer. It was no problem and we had fun. My son likes to fish. It is a 4 hour drive for me to get to Yosemite high country. I am making alternate plans right now at Clear Lake, which isn't as attractive to me. However, there might be some bass for my son. I can also stay in a motel in the city of Lee Vining and fish in streams in the area around Yosemite. However, I am worried about the high flows making the streams unfishable. He doesn't need big trout. He's happy catching 8 to 12 inch trout at Tuolumne. In normal flows, he's capable of catching trout easily with either salmon eggs or flies. He really enjoyed the brook trout fishing at May Lake last year. Due to our novice ability, I have concerns about backpacking into May Lake. Is the road to the trailhead even open? I have a wilderness permit reserved.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/2011 09:45AM by fishtricity.
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 07, 2011 10:13AM
Quote
fishtricity
What is the current condition of May Lake? I am thinking of taking my 12 year old son camping at May Lake this weekend. We are novice backpackers. We went there last year when it was warmer. It was no problem and we had fun. My son likes to fish. It is a 4 hour drive for me to get to Yosemite high country. I am making alternate plans right now at Clear Lake, which isn't as attractive to me. However, there might be some bass for my son. I can also stay in a motel in the city of Lee Vining and fish in streams in the area around Yosemite. However, I am worried about the high flows making the streams unfishable. He doesn't need big trout. He's happy catching 8 to 12 inch trout at Tuolumne. In normal flows, he's capable of catching trout easily with either salmon eggs or flies. He really enjoyed the brook trout fishing at May Lake last year. Due to our novice ability, I have concerns about backpacking into May Lake. Is the road to the trailhead even open? I have a wilderness permit reserved.

Here's Chickon's report from late June. Probably a lot has melted off by now but be ready for some snow and ice.

https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Hoffman



Old Dude
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 07, 2011 04:22PM
Climbed Hoffmann on Sunday the 3rd.
Road was not open, and mostly snow covered.
Trail from parking lot to lake was 90% snow, and not clearly easy to follow.
Other parties had difficulties.
Lake was still mostly covered:




All photos here:
http://gallery.me.com/klaseklof#100093


- k
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 07, 2011 07:10PM
Really appreciate the help and advice. I think I'll take my son to clear lake to catch bass and bluegill. Bummer. I'll be in Yosemite again on the 25th. Hope the fishing is better.
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 10:50AM
If the goal of the trip is mostly fishing, I would suggest that you drive a little bit further to the Eastern Sierra and camp and fish over there in the lower elevations (if the higher elevation lakes are still iced over or snowed in). Fishing in the Eastern Sierra and around Bishop I think is superior to the fishing in Yosemite. For one thing, the Eastern Sierra lakes are regularly stocked with fish. Just a thought to the alternative of fishing at Clear Lake.
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 07, 2011 09:58PM
I need some advice from the experts on this topic as well.

I will be departing on the 15th to May Lake trailhead for my backpacking trip. I was hoping that there would be less snow by now than what Klas's picture shows above. Yikes : /

As of now, I have two alternate plans using my wilderness permit from the May Lake TH. I am hopeful that one of these will provide a trail that is not covered in snow. I am okay with some snow, but not too much. I had a bad snow experience in Desolation Wilderness spending 90% of the time searching for the trail and trying to not fall waist deep into soft patches. I would like to avoid a repeat of that. Here are the alternatives I am looking at:

1. May Lake TH, to Glen Aulin, to WW Falls to TM
2. May Lake TH (stay 1st night at May Lake), Sunrise Lakes, Clouds Rest?, Cathedral Lakes, TM

For alternate 1, I am wondering if the snow will be less of a problem on the trail after passing May Lake to the North since the trail descends. Will this route be treacherous? How difficult are the stream crossings?

For alternate 2 I saw kevclarks pictures here of the snow on the way up to Sunrise Lakes:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,37948
He did mention that the snow was melting very fast. Would it be naive of me to hope that that the trail might be mostly exposed come time for my trip? I can deal with the Tenaya outlet crossing as long as there isn't tons of snow on the other side.

In general, which of these alternatives would be more doable in regards to stream crossings and snow levels?

Any info would be much appreciated. Thank you!
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 06:24AM
Regarding alternative 1, basilbop and I both posted reports from the weekend of 6/25-26:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39715,39715#msg-39715
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39845,39845#msg-39845

I'm sure water levels will be lower, there were only patches of snow to worry about along the trail, the cross-country little devils postpile section we both did had larger sections of snow in the wooded sections. Option 1 should be fine by the 15th along the Tuolumne River (can't speak for the rest of the planned alternative).
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 12:40PM
MOOOOSE,

Alternate 2 may not be available. This requires exiting onto Tioga Road and re-entering another trailhead for which I presume you do not have a permit. This subject was discussed at length during the winter but I'm not certain what the final determination was.
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 12:52PM
I don't recall what the determination was either, but I have a permit for next week for Mirror Lake to Snow Creek, and the ranger did not balk at me saying I would head over to Olmsted point and over to the lake and up via Sunrise the 2nd night, she even warned me the crossing at Tenaya could be wet. I guess I'm not technically stepping on the road... or at least I don't intend to. Maybe a loop like that is in a different spirit then heading north from the road then crossing it to head south?
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 01:29PM
I have a permit starting at White Wolf and ending at Happy Isles. When the ranger questioned how I planned to get to Happy Isles, I told him we were planning to cross the road by Tenaya Lake and head to Sunrise or go through TM to Cathedral Lakes. He said either was fine, just that we had to cross the road and keep going - we weren't allowed to stop anywhere or resupply at TM. It seems like a silly restriction to me, but I guess that's what makes it fit the TH quota guidelines.
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 01:32PM
Thanks Tom. But the way I understand it is that you CAN cross Tioga road as long as you are just crossing to continue into wilderness and not walking along the road.
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 07:25AM
Thanks ttilley. I actually did see your original trip report and it was very helpful. But it sounds like you started near Little Devil's Postpile instead of May Lake? The May Lake to Glen Aulin stretch is what I am more worried about due to the amount of snow around the Lake.

Also, where exactly is the Devils Postpile Trail head that you all referred to? Does someone have a map showing it? Just curious.

Thanks a bunch!
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 10:23AM
It's a cross-country route, running from Pothole Dome to the Tuolumne River. The actual postpile (a very small area of columnar basalt) is on the south bank of the river west of where the main trail crosses at the twin bridges.

I took it, in part wanting to avoid the Delaney Creek crossing. It looked like several other people were taking the main trail, and had therefore successfully crossed at Delaney.
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 11:52AM
I see now. That looks like a nice route. Thank you for the info.

Does anyone have any info or educated guesses on the trail conditions from May Lake to Glen Aulin? From my map it looks like I will be crossing Cathedral Creek and a stream NE of McGee lake before I get to Glen Aulin. Any info on these crossings?

Thank you!
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 05:48PM
Does anybody have any information on this trail? eeek? Almostthere? Chick-on? Bill eg? Somebody heeeeeelp please!
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 06:35PM
The person at the permit reservation desk had this information: the trail up Murphy Creek was clear to Polly Domes, then was snow covered around the junctions with the Glen Aulin and Ten Lakes trails. Based on past experience, my guess is: you can probably expect extensive snow from May Lake HSC to the bottom of the switchbacks, a few patches in the Rasin Lake area, extensive snow along the area near the above trail junctions, and maybe a few patches beyond that. The snow will generally be in shaded, forested, or north-facing areas; open areas will be dry. I'd expect the snow to be well-consolidated, although there will be hollowed out areas along the trail where the water runs under the snow--be careful at the ends of a snowbank right on the trail. My guess is you'll quickly prefer the snow to the alternative: ankle-deep muddy water on the trail. Cathedral Creek will be high, but it's not a very big creek so shouldn't be a challenge to cross. I'd be surprised to see much snow outside these areas, but it is an exceptional year.

I will have more, real, actual, information Monday. (Or, more likely, Tuesday.)
Re: Condition of May Lake
July 08, 2011 11:20PM
Thank you kindly basilbop. This information was much needed. I will check in on Tuesday to see if you have an update. I am leaving on Wednesday so any update you have will be most appreciated.

Thank you!
avatar Re: Condition of May Lake
July 12, 2011 01:40PM
I'm heading from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin to May Lakes beginning on Friday 7/22 with some scouts.

Can anyone give me an update on the trail conditions? What are the BP'er campgrounds like?

Thanks in advance!
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