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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Brief Report: Glen Aulin and Yosemite Valley 08/5-08/10

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Brief Report: Glen Aulin and Yosemite Valley 08/5-08/10
August 11, 2011 12:44PM
I just got back from a few days in the park and wanted to pay you guys back with a brief report on weather, water, bug and smoke conditions for the time I was there.

This was my third trip to the Glen Aulin High Sierra camp but my first time staying for two nights (we're usually moving from camp to camp). Our group consisted of my mom (trip was for her 60th birthday), her husband and my girlfriend. The GF and I tent camped and my mom and her husband stayed in the cabins at Glen Aulin HSC.

The weather and air quality in the GA area were amazing the entire time. I was warm in my tent and slept in shorts and a t-shirt using my sleeping bag like a quilt (Marmot Helium, overkill). Daytime temps were warm but not hot. Perfect weather for hiking in shorts and a t-shirt (I wore permethrin treated pants). We hiked down to California falls on Saturday, taking it easy so people could rest. The glen and canyon were lush green and peppered with flowers. The falls were also impressive as I've only been to this area in September and the water level has been much lower at that time.

Mosquitoes weren't awful but there were plenty at the predictable times of day. They were most dense in the evening at the HSC but longsleeves, DEET and headnets negated this problem (we had nice nets that didn't affect our vision much). People without nets were doing fine too but we were happy not to have to DEET our faces. There were mosquitoes during the day in Glen Aulin and the canyon approaching California falls but they were really only bothersome when we stopped. Again; DEET, sleeves and nets solved this problem completely.

Glen Aulin trail conditions were generally fine but there was an ~ 1/3 mile strip about a mile down that required rock hopping, wading and/or leaping as the trail was ankle deep in water. No big deal.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in and around Yosemite Valley.

We had great weather and reasonable air quality with negligible mosquito population on Monday which made for an enjoyable day exploring the valley floor (this was my mom's first time to Yosemite. We stopped to gawk a lot). The valley was smokey at 10:00 a.m when we arrived but the smoke rose and drifted south after 11:00am or so.

We spent Tuesday hiking to Nevada falls via the Mist Trail (this one thrilled, they loved it) and ended the day with a drive to Glacier Point. Again, the weather was perfect and the mosquitoes were a non-issue. The first part of the day (morning included) was basically smoke free but the valley started to fill just as we started our descent from Nevada Falls on the JMT. Late afternoon was very smokey which made for interesting sunset (red/orange) light in the valley. Distant rock features were mostly silhouettes. The smoke lasted into the evening and the view from Glacier Point was pretty hazy. We were hoping that the smoke would make a great sunset and we weren't let down. Vivid orange that was hard to distinguish from fire through the trees.

The road up to Glacier Point is the only location where we saw actual fire. There were (small) spots where the fire was within five feet of the road. Most of the road was fire free but most of the time when fire was visible it was ~100 feet from the road. It made for nice drama during the late evening drive back to the valley floor.

All in all this was an amazing trip. No weather hassles, no major bug hassles (given prep) and the smoke stayed politely out of the way much of the time; allowing us a variety of conditions in which to view the valley.

Thanks for the info you all provided leading up to this trip. Tips on water levels, mosquito conditions and high sierra forecast were all very useful to me.
avatar Re: Brief Report: Glen Aulin and Yosemite Valley 08/5-08/10
August 11, 2011 01:09PM
Thanks for the trip report!

(Now please post some photos of those wild colored sunsets you saw. wink)
Re: Brief Report: Glen Aulin and Yosemite Valley 08/5-08/10
August 11, 2011 01:38PM
I'm at work but I'll post some pics later. They're just cell phone pics but some of them are alright. I do have pics of sunset but we left before it got really intense. My mom was concerned with driving down in the dark with smoke on the road (in case the wind shifted). It really was an awesome view while driving through the trees though and mimicked the fire well.
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