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Re: TR: Northern Loop with Crown, Snow, Rock Island, Doe, Sister, Peeler Lakes and Crazy Mule Gulch

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The beginning of this month, we did a trip through some lakes in Yosemite's north country. We started in the Hoover Wildlerness and our route went like this: Twin Lakes > Robinson Lakes > Crown Lake > Snow Lake > Rock Island Pass > cross country to Rock Island Lake > Crazy Mule Gulch > Piute Creek > Doe Lake > Tallulah Lakes > Sister Lake > Smedberg Lake > Benson > Seavy Pass > Kerrick Meadow > Peeler Lake > Twin Lakes.

The first day, the weather was a bit warm during the hike up Robinson Creek, but cooled off for the other days. We camped at Snow Lake which is quite scenic and in many ways preferable to Crown Lake. The next day we headed over Rock Island pass and took an easy cross country stroll down to Rock Island Lake. We crossed over Suicide Ridge and dropped down into Crazy Mule Gulch. We had tried to find some info on Crazy Mule before leaving, but could only find a few photos of the upper part of the canyon. We debated exiting the northern part of the Gulch going around Bald Mountain, but the view down the Gulch was too appealing to pass up. The gulch is fairly short with easy walking down to its south end. There was still some water present and the trip would probably be a bug ridden slog in early season or a in a moist year. One at the south end, you have two exit options if heading down to Piute Creek. One is to follow the creek all the way down. This route appeared to be dangerously steep and brush choked. The second option is to fork east just before the end of the Gulch and make your way to a steep wall overlooking Piute Creek. If you choose your route carefully, this wall can be down climbed, but there are several areas of class 3 downclimbing. Do not attempt this route if you are not fully comfortable with steep cliffs, exposure and difficult downclimbs. At the bottom, Piute Creek was flowing quite nicely. The canyon is quite narrow and boulder choked in this section, so travel up or down creek would be difficult. So we had to immediately make the steep climb up the south wall on our way to Doe Lake. Of all the off trail lakes in the Smedburg vicinity, Doe is our favorite. It is also a bit more off the beaten path and requites a bit more effort to get to. Tallulah Lake is also charming, as is the route over to Sister Lake.

Once down to Smedburg, we followed the PCT down to Benson Lake (there are a large number of down trees in the Benson Lake area) and up to Seavey Pass. The Pass is a true gem with lots to explore. There are numerous tarns around Seavey Pass and great views. We camped right on the Pass and that night we were treated to a fantastic thunderstorm with plenty of lightning. The trip up Rancheria Creek to Kerrick Meadow was a pleasant stroll and there is still water in the creek. We made the side trip over to Arndt Lake, which is also quite nice.

We exited by going past Peeler and Barney Lakes on our way back to Twin Lakes. These are both sceneic lakes (especially Peeler) but they have way too many people at them for our taste, so we did little more than pass by and take a few pics.

All in all, we were surprised at the amount of water still present for a dry year. Bugs were essentially non-existent.

Tarn before Robinson Lakes.


Robinson Lakes.


Crown Lake.


Snow Lake.


Looking down on Rock Island Lake (looking south).


Rock Island Lake.


Looking down into Crazy Mule Gulch.


Looking back up the route we took down into Crazy Mule Gulch from Rock Island Lake.


Tarn in north end of Crazy Mule Gulch.


View south looking down Crazy Mule Gulch.


Looking north back up Crazy Mule from near south end.


Looking down (southwest) into Piute Creek from the end of Crazy Mule Gulch. This is the beginning of the steep down climb.


The bottom of the down climb - Piute Creek looking up canyon.


From the south side of the canyon on the climb up to Doe Lake. This is looking back at the steep down climb out of Crazy Mule Gulch.


Another view down Piute Creek while climbing up the south canyon wall.


Doe Lake.



Looking back after climb up from Doe Lake


Tallulah Lake.



Approaching Sister Lake.


Looking down on Smedburg Lake after leaving Sister Lake.


Smedburg Lake.


From Seavey Pass.


From Seavey Pass.


Tarn on Seavey Pass.


From Seavey Pass.


From Seavey Pass.


Arndt Lake


Along Rancheria Creek.


Near Kerrick Meadow.


Peeler Lake.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2012 09:30AM by LVRAY.
Nice photos!

We did a version of this hike two years ago. Lovely stuff.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Thanks for posting. Seavey Pass is definitely a nice area. I was wondering whether I should have gone to Arndt Lake and didn't - guess I should have.
heh heh heh

Awesome. Shoulda maybe axed. Got lots o doze same pictures.
Was just in that area with da wifie July 4th. Of course you meant
Bath not Bald Mtn. Bath is yet another true gem.
We did nearly that exact same trip in 2009. Lots more snow back
then on July 4th. Cool on for going down Crazy Mule. Def.
thought about it... but the very very old trail went the way we went.
This year we went all the way down Slide to the pondlette before Piute
really crashes down toward Benson, then up to Doe.
Saw two Bald Eagles in that area. If you would have went up Slide Mtn.
South (just N of Tallulah) you woulda seen my Chick-on scratchings.
Tried getting all the way up Doghead but Secor is full of it.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
LVRAY,
How do I contact you to get permission to use your Seavy Pass photo in a book I am writing about my mule packing experiences in Northern Yosemite?

Thanks,
Ray
I too am looking for permisson from LVRAY to use one of the photos, though I am not looking to use it for commercial purposes. I am new to this foum, and I did not see any way to send a PM or email. Please respond to this thread if I can use one of the pics of Piute Creek. This would be for an academic presentation.

EDIT: well of course as soon as I hit "post" I see the little PM link. I'll PM you now.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2015 02:17PM by creekseeker.
You can also click on the author's name and get to their profile where you will find a PM link and maybe even their email address if they included it their profile when they filed it out.



Old Dude
Quote
mrcondron
email address if they included it their profile when they filed it out.

They can't register without an email address. But I don't think they are normally displayed to anyone but admins and moderators.
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