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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Rafferty Creek

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avatar Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 09:34AM
Hey Everyone!

Do you think there will be water available in Rafferty Creek / Canyon about two weeks from now?

I ask because I'm considering doing the Lyell / Vogelsang / Rafferty Loop July 25th thru 28th. I already have my permit.

What I may not have is the fitness, so lets get that out of the way first:

My wife and I do a bit of dayhiking and we backpack once or twice a year. I've backpacked to Glen Aulin, Illillouette, Sunrise Lakes, 20 Lakes Basin etc; but we usually shoot for 5-6 miles per day. We've never been affected by altitude, even though we're coming from sea level. Breaking the hike into 5-6 miles segments makes it more feasible for us, and I can spend some time exploring and fishing.

My plan was / is:

Day 1: Drive in, hike up Lyell Canyon, camp somewhere near the the trail junction about 5-6 miles in.

Day 2: Climb up and camp at or near Evelyn Lake, which I believe is about 5 miles with 1700ft of climbing (per my Topo!) program

Day 3: Hike and explore and then camp somewhere part way into Rafferty Canyon, again about 5 miles total.

Day 4: Stroll down Rafferty Canyon back to the car and drive home.

My two concerns:

1.) Dragging myself up to Lake Evelyn, which I can really only answer for myself whether I think we can do it or not.

2.) Water availabilty in Rafferty.

So my main question is the water in Rafferty. If there isn't water, we'll have to either carry water, or make day 4 a longer hike, which I'd rather not do.

I'll also take any other advice and / or tips, including "Get in shape Fatso!"


Re: Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 09:57AM
Hey Everyone!

Do you think there will be water available in Rafferty Creek / Canyon about two weeks from now?

I wouldn't rely on finding much, if any, water in Rafferty. Maybe some pools and puddles, but little if any actual flowing water. Here's some pix from last year, early August (this year is even drier...):

Rafferty Creek at the trail junction:

The Rafferty Creek "falls" near the trail (approx. 4 or so miles in):

The Evelyn Lake outlet creek in "Evelyn Meadow" (it's off the trail, but this was the only water along the Evelyn outlet between the lake and Rafferty...):

I think your best bet is going to be to plan to reach Evelyn (or maybe one of the lakes/tarns near Tuolumne Pass...), and if you find water earlier, consider yourself lucky. Your best chances to find pools of water are probably off-trail along Rafferty above the falls (middle picture above), since the terrain there is fairly flat and the creek flows along a lot of granite. If you don't find anything, it's straightforward to return to the trail and continue upstream.
avatar Re: Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 10:32AM
Thanks Basilbop! I appreciate the feedback.
Re: Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 05:28PM
So, since this year is so much drier than last year, does anyone have any thoughts on what the lakes near Vogelsang (Vog. lake, Gallison, Bernice, Florence) will be like? It sounds like there might be allot of dry lakes. I am coming up during the last few days of July and would love to spend some time near the lakes around Lewis Creek. I keep having images pop into my head that this area will look like scenes from Mad Max! smiling smiley I'm really ready for another year like 2011. Thanks.
avatar Re: Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 05:48PM
Ewe Yoking... right? You'll still be able to get 12 of your stones fully immersed.
Maybe start worrying if you've been hitting the Twinkies this summer and are up to 14.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Rafferty Creek
July 16, 2013 07:22PM
No yoking here! Just did the Raiser to the Kaiser near Huntington Lake, looked more like September than early July. Then, add that to an over active imagination and presto... the Australian desert in Mad Max! I know why they call the weight of a person "stone"...That # correlates to the # of stones my wife throws at me as my weight creeps up!
avatar Re: Rafferty Creek
July 17, 2013 07:06AM
I don't have depth chart info but am sure Vogelsang, Bernice, Townsley, and probably Florence are relatively deep. Gallison? Not so sure. Never seen it up close. From a distance it does not look particularly deep but I don't think it's in any danger of running dry.
Re: Rafferty Creek
July 17, 2013 08:53AM
Thanks! That's good to hear, I don't have much Sierra super dry experience.
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