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2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmsted Point and May Lake

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2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmsted Point and May Lake
February 03, 2013 02:36PM
2012 Yosemite trip; Part 1, Rockslides to Cascade Creek

Yosemite 2012 trip. Day 2: Cascade Creek to Yosemite Falls

2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmsted Point and May Lake

2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 4 (days 6-8); Tuolumne Meadows, Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, Miller Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, Burro Pass

2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 5 (days 9 and 10): Slide Canyon; Mule Pass; Crown, Robinson, Peeler Lakes; Kerrick Canyon, Peeler Lake, Rodgers Lake

2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 6 (days 11-13): Rodgers Lake, Rodgers Meadow, Pate Valley Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, Waterwheel Falls, Le Conte Falls, Tuolumne Meadows

Aerial pics from plane of Northern Yosemite

From Mid-July through August 1st, my nephews and I backpacked for about 13 days. I began a multipart trip report a few months ago and then did not get back to it. Here is another leg of the trip.

The previous evening we arrived just before dusk and had just enough time to checkout the lookout onto a falls that barely existed. We figured out how to get to the water (to drink) and then where to camp nearby (along the eastern edge of the river, a tad upstream). This camping area was very heavily utilized that night, including a large group of boy scouts. So, while it was not ideal, it did serve its purpose for the night.

Below is the area in which we camped:

This morning we got ourselves together, stopped beneath the bridge to filter some water and headed to Yosemite POint. I have no idea what this area is like when water flow is "normal", and whether the river is easily and safely accessible for getting water at those times. Clearly, during the worst drought in 30 years it was no problem.

We stopped at the raililng at Yosemite POint, and then found this other place. I can't remember it's position relative to the place where the railing was.

Here at Yosemite Point, we ran into some guy who had hiked up the FAlls Trail from the Valley that morning and was headed to North Dome. This was a planned "day hike" for him, but I think the hike grew in length without consideration of his water supply, food supply, lighting, and physical condition. We ran into him periodically along the way and finally at North Dome, where he was exhausted, dehydrated, sunburned, etc and it was very late in the afternoon. He had no provision for lighting shelter, or jacket, but was headed back to the Valley. We gave him what we could and encouraged him to hydrate, but I was skeptical as to whether he could make it given his physical condition. I hope he did. It was a good reinforcing lesson for us.

We crossed a couple or more creeks on the way to NOrth Dome, all were pretty much a trickle. Below are photos of two of them in the order we crossed them. I am assuming they are either Indian Canyon Creek, Lehamite Creek or Royal Arches Creek, but do not know which.

When we approached North Dome for a minute we thought we were on it, as we were on a large exposed dome like surface, but realized that North Dome was immediately to the East. We dropped our packs before descending the trail that heads to North Dome. From their the view was Spectacular and the sky and clouds made it all super beautiful.

We hung out there for a while and enjoyed the view before bidding our (sometimes) traveling companion of the day (mentioned above) "good luck" and heading back up to our packs and then towards Indian Rock. These pics are of Indian Rock from the approach and from the backside.

It was now getting late in the day, we needed to find a water source, and get settled into camp before dark. We headed on North and took the easterly path at the trail junction towards snow creek. We ran into the creek where the trail turns and heads south. I had read that the "cascades" there are quite something, but as you can see, not on this day. These Cascades are on Porcupine Creek just before it joins Snow Creek.

We lingered there a bit and pretended it was an awesome cascade of water joyously rushing towards its plunge into the canyon. Then when our imagination wore thin, we headed on towards our campsite just before the trail descends into the canyon. We passed the footbridge, but did not cross it.

Our campsite was Awesome! And we arrived just in time to see the light show from the setting sun on the face of the dome.

We were not alone in this location; there were 2 or 3 other campsites, but the location is huge so it was no problem. It was not obvious to us where the river was or how we would get to it to get water, but we figured it out. I'm not sure what one does when the creek is raging.

That night when darkness had fallen completely, at one point, we saw lights on the face of half dome. I am not sure why, but that gave us a bit of a vicarious thrill, thinking about folks hanging on the side of that rock sleeping. To say it was windy that night would be a vast understatement. The nephews wanted to sleep without the fly, while I thought I should sleep with it given the wind. Before we went to sleep, both added the fly. Then in the middle of the night one took it off. I wanted to take mine off, but did not. It was a choice of one poison over another. The wind was so fierce that it really woke me constantly whipping against the tent fly. The nephew who removed his had the same problem and opted to deal with sand blowing in the tent over the noise. We also had a deer hanging out that appeared to be a bit territorial.

The next morning was beautiful. We gathered some water from the River before heading out:

We departed heading north towards Tioga Road. We crossed the footbridge and then at the next trail junction took the right (easternmost) trail headed towards Olmsted Point instead of the left traili heading towards May Lake. Along the way, clouds rolled in and created some drama in the sky and some nervousness for us as we were rather exposed along this section.

I liked this rock, so I took it's photo:

We emerge at Olmsted Point. It was rather odd. People were looking at us coming up from below like we were aliens. "Why are people walking around down there with big packs on?" "Is this an actual "backpacker" siting?". That is what I imagined they were thinking / saying. It was weird. They were all fresh, clean, peppy and snacking. We.... were not.

The other thing that was really odd to us happened around North Dome. We had been hiking for 3 days, albeit through areas that have fairly heavy traffic. At North Dome we were hot, hungry, and thirsty. Then we look up and there are all these folks standing around eating sandwiches, cold drinks, and other prepared foods that seemed out of place. We couldn't figure out where these people had come from. It seemed that there was a snack stand hiding around the corner that we did not know about. Later, we discovered they had all hiked in from Porcupine Flat campground, which I guess is a relatively short and easy walk.

We caught the shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows, where we dined in fine style at the Grill, and stayed in the Backpackers Campground. The first part of the trip was over. We needed to get food we had shipped ourselves from the post office the next day and prepare for the next leg of the trip. The next day, after getting our next Wilderness Permit and our food from the post office, we headed to May Lake (and hoped to get up to Mount HOffman). This is the trail heading to May Lake:

I was curious about both, and had heard great things about Mount Hoffman, and was additionally intrigued by John Muirs advice to head immediately to Mt. HOffman upon arriving in Yosemite.

May Lake was beautiful!

Mt. HOffman from partway up:

The nephews opted to stay by May Lake and hang out while I tried my best to get as far as I could get in the "time frame" we had allotted (don't ask. It was a mistake) I was not able to get to the top, but I did get far enough to see how incredibliy beautiful it was on the way up, and the types of views that I was starting to get were incredible. It is now a top priority to make it up there next time I'm in the park. I saw a family of baby marmots frolicking along a stream that wandered through a beautiful meadow. There was another green meadow in a clearing in a woods. It was really an incredible place. I have rebuked myself severely for not planning so that I (and the nephews) could have made it to the top.

Back down, and totally enamored with this place, there is one last shot:

Once we were back at Tioga Road, we waited for the shuttle, which did not come. It just skipped entirely a whole scheduled stop. As a result, we did not get to avail ourselves of the Grill again, and instead bought ham and turkey, bread, etc and made sandwiches for dinner. While in TM for about 36 hours, we rode the shuttle a few times, but in three instances it did not come according to the schedule. I was really irritated by this as it could leave people stranded. It would be one thing if they did not publish a schedule or indicated that the schedule is not really a schedule but a tentative schedule. One time it did not come because they decided to go get gas. I guess when they get gas, there is no fill in. Then one guy just did not feel like driving, so he continued to rest wherever he was.

That night, we opened our food packages and sorted everything out and figure out how to get it in our bear cannisters, etc. I know some on here don't care for the freeze dried stuff like Mountain house, but we love it, and it simplifies planning, etc. If we lived close enough to backpack frequently, we would probably explore other options.

The next part of our trip will begin the next day and will last for 8 days as we hike North of Tioga Road. I hope to get to posting that soon.


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2023 05:03PM by Frank.
Great pictures and narrative. Thanks for posting.
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 03, 2013 05:06PM
Very nice pictures, thanks for posting.
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 03, 2013 08:31PM
Bowing to his greatness

Tanks for Sharon

Chick-on is looking at you!
very nice! making me want to go backpacking, hurry up summer!!! smiling smiley
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 13, 2013 07:48AM
A few comments.


Near Yosemite Point... you are a bit east of there. To be almost exact... here
(camped very close to there in winter a few winters ago so certain)

Indian Rock isn't the same as Indian Arch. Indian Rock is further uphill

The Cascade on Porcupine Creek wasn't much better in mid-late June. Still neat though.
First time went by it ... was October... so... you can imagine... well... didn't even notice it.

North Dome... now that is a moderate dayhike ...

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 13, 2013 10:24PM
I didn't realize that was Porcupine Creek with the Cascades, but after looking back at the topo map it clearly is Porcupine. I had the mis-perception that the cascades occurred after the trail turned south. I also learned that the source for Snow Creek is May Lake -- didn't know that. Maps are fun. I learn something new each time I go back and look at an area I've looked at many times before.

I am confused about the Indian Rock vs Indian Arch thing. Do you have a picture of Indian Rock? I tried doing a google search for Indian Rock, and without exception about 10 links I looked at all used the term to refer to the arch and did not make a distinction between that and some other feature, so I think that is how I must have come to use that terminology. The web was not helpful sad smiley. However, looking at a topo map, it is clear that they are different landmarks. It actually looks like it would be a simple matter to walk on up to INdian Rock from the arch.

It's kinda funny... I try to learn a lot about where I'm heading before I get there, but find that I often learn more about it after I am back, which just makes me want to go back to check out the new stuff I've learned about. I'm surprised at the stuff I miss on the first go round.
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 14, 2013 07:30AM
Yeah, everyone calls the arch Indian Rock. I have in the past too.
I try to just call it Indian Rock Arch. The Arch on Indian Ridge would be a better description though.
Anywho... Indian Ridge... I think I spied another arch up further. But the angles of the rocks may have
been creating that illusion. Have to go back up there and explore more. Lots of great rock
features up along the ridge. And views galore.
Finally found where I posted picture of Indian Rock:

Here's the same w/o fowl:

Indian Rock was one of the boundary points of The Yosemite Grant. That was my main reason
for going up there and exploring. Was bummed didn't find any sort of marker.
Lots of maps have a trail all the way up to Indian Rock. I think this adds to the confusion
regarding the arch. Found a small bit of the trail... but didn't follow it entirely since there's other
great stuff along the ridge that is worth your time exploring.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Maps are fun. I learn something new each time I go back and look at an area I've looked at many times before.

Definitely. As I'm planning for YNP this summer I keep studying the topo that comes with the Schaffer, pulling up Google maps, doing fly-overs in Google Earth, downloading GPS tracks, trying to get a sense for the terrain and routes, over and over the same points again and again. Learning, and never tiring.
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 14, 2013 10:54AM
Too right. I'm constantly looking at maps and photos and going "gotta check that out... and that... and that".
Wife doesn't even question it anymore. What am I doing? Looking at old maps and pictures and planning own routes.
I rarely look at guidebooks... even when we went to Glacier NP... mainly just looked at Natl. Geo Map.
Never been there before so it was simple to plan a zillion hikes. And the best stuff we did there wasn't highly touted.
Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 15, 2013 07:06AM
I liked your photo of the back side of the arch. I've got one like it but from further back. Very few folks actually climb around to the back side to see what it might look like.

By the way, thanks for this and all your other recent reports. They are extremely well done. Your photos of the Slide Canyon, Matterhorn Canyon and the Sawtooth area were of particular interest to me for an upcoming trip this August.

Re: 2012 Yosemite Trip, Part 3 (days 3-5): YOsemite FAlls to Olmstead Point and May Lake
February 19, 2023 03:38PM
Spelling for Olmstead Point is seen in most places as "Olmsted", and I think that is the correction you were making in spelling here a number of years ago. I just happened across this sign from Yosemite atet e Bus Stop and noticed that it is spelled "Olmstead". The site is named after the American Landscape Architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, so clearly that is the correct spelling.

See link below for photo. This is from several years ago.

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