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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Full



Re: Ten Lakes TR

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Ten Lakes TR
August 24, 2013 12:45AM
The girlfriend and I headed up to Ten Lakes on this past Sunday to spend a few days checking out the lakes and views. Here are some pics and vids from day 1 of the trip, with days 2-4 to follow as I finish going through the pics.

We hit the road early so we could get an early start on the trail. Caught a beautiful sunrise half way out.

Butterflies greeted us as we set out from the Ten Lakes Trailhead.

North-easterly views along the trail as you start ascending to Halfmoon Meadow.

At the junction with the trail coming from White Wolf / Lukens Lake.

Continuing along. Very pleasant day despite the overcast weather. We ran into quite a few weekend crowd folks exiting.

The GF checking out Halfmoon Meadow. Nice area. The little stream just before Halfmoon Meadow was flowing this past weekend.

Lots of these guys flitting about in the meadow. They were much more camera shy than the other butterflies pictured above.

This is at the top, or near the top, of the climb from Halfmoon Meadow to Ten Lakes Pass.

Whatever sun we had enjoyed earlier was disappearing fast, replaced with cloudy skies. The little tarn up here (not in this shot) still had a good bit of water in it.

Some big boys looming in the distance.

GF heading down the trail towards Grant Lakes.

There's another little trickle crossing the trail on the way down to the Grant Lakes basin.

Here we are at the lower Grant Lake!

I wanted to camp at the upper lake since it was off-trail and therefore unlikely to have many, if any, other visitors. So we continued along hoping to find a good site up there quickly since an afternoon thunderstorm was building.

Looking back over lower Grant area.

This is upper Grant Lake:

I didn't get many pictures of the upper lake, or much time to explore for that matter, because lightning started striking within 1-6 miles. We decided to bail to the lower lake rather than risk getting zapped up there. So after just checking it out for a little bit, my GF and I headed back down to the lower lake to a nice and protected campsite amongst the trees at the NE corner of the lake. After getting camp set up and chilling for little bit, the storm fizzled out so I rambled around the eastern side of the lake while my GF took a nap.

The wind was something that night, but my shelter handled it without a problem, especially with the added protection from the surrounding trees. The moon was quite pretty, shining through the trees.

Day 2 comin soon.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2013 10:23PM by HikingMano.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 25, 2013 11:45PM
Day 2!

I'm not one to spend much time in a shelter when I can be out and roaming about. Sunrise waking lower Grant Lake.

Campsite. The trees gave a little extra wind protection during the night's variable-direction winds, I think.

Big ole erratic near the site.

Lots of these guys around. Found a few squashed on and under our pads, sorry little fellas.

My GF on the other hand... not so much for the early rising grinning smiley Got breakfast going for her.

Went back out to the lake while she took her time getting up.

Sun broke into the basin.

Grouse, I think. How does one tell a female from a male? My guess is this one is a female. Always hear them, first time I've seen one this close.

More views of Lower Grant in the morning sun.

Some nice rock ledges on the eastern shore of the lake, great for bathing and the like.

We left the lake and headed back up to the Ten Lakes Pass to continue to the Ten Lakes. Ubiquitous deer.

Lovely in the sun.

Heading to the descent into the Ten Lakes basin.

View SW along the meadow up there.

Little guy we met along the trail. He must live near the tarn up there in the meadows.

Whoa! Shtuff just got real!


We took a break up near the use-trail on the spur east of Colby Mountain overlooking the lower basin. Couldn't capture the scene well with the high contrast, and none of my panorama's from this vantage turned out well, sorry.

South side of basin, looking along wall bordering higher lakes.

View of and across the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

We'd be camped at the lake pictured here, this night.

Ok, I lied. My GF did manage to snap a shot with her iPhone that shows the view pretty well. Saweeet!

After soaking up the views from on high, we got down into the basin. This is near the drainage of WL8947T, looking SE.

Then we popped over to the unnamed lake NW of WL8947T. Charming cliff-backed lake, and we had it to ourselves thumbs up.

As we started the circuit to look for a good site for the night, we ran into some unsightly stuff.

'Twas but a moment's work...

Ah, now, back to enjoying the wilderness as it was meant to be enjoyed.

View from the bank nearest our campsite for the night. Good spot, with nice views even while being far enough back from the water.

We lounged around and swam a bit. Then in the late afternoon / early evening, a thunderstorm rolled in and things got a bit dicey with lightning striking within a mile. Almost decided to ditch the trekking-pole supported tarp and sit out separated and in the lightning position under more tree-coverage, but things calmed down after a bit. Didn't get video or pics that night, between finishing dinner and trying to keep our minds off the lightning...

What do most folks do, when lightning is that close? What is your threshold for getting out of the tent and dispersing under tree cover? Should we have gotten out?

Day 3 comin.

Edited to add: For some reason, there is no option to side-scroll, so I'm sorry for the clipping of the panoramas. I'll try to reupload some that are a little smaller so you'll be more likely to see the entire image.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2013 11:51PM by HikingMano.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 25, 2013 11:58PM
Here are the re-sized panoramas from the post above:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/26/2013 12:26AM by HikingMano.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 12:15AM
Great pictures! Looking forward to Day 3 smiling smiley
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 12:27AM
Glad you're enjoying them, bud! smiling smiley

Hope some of this helps you out with your trip planning. Feel free to PM me if you want something more specific thumbs up.
avatar Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 28, 2013 02:13PM
Thanks for another great report.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 28, 2013 02:18PM
You're welcome Jim! Sorry I've been delayed in getting the last couple of days up, hope to get to it soon thumbs up
avatar Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 08:21AM
A very awesome trip and thorough trip report. Thanks for posting!
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 10:21AM
Terrific stuff - thanks!
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 10:34AM
Glad you guys like it! I'll try to get day 3 up in the next couple of days.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 10:47AM
I love Upper Grant Lake. It's one of my favorite 'secret' places in that part of Yosemite. Doesn't get much use since Grant Lakes is a 1+mile spur, and lower Grant isn't so scenic and not much is written about it. Upper Grant has a long granite 'dock' jutting out into the lake with very deep water. Great for diving and general lounging on your themarest in the water. It's also very pretty, in a cirque, and you can climb the riidge to look down upon Ten Lakes. There is limited camping and shelter, but enough for one or two parties. Been there 3-4 times (but not within the past 10 years).

There's a x-country route back down to the Yosemite Creek trail from the lower Grant outlet that is a mileage shortcut vs taking the trail back up the spur and down the trail. You'll likely find a very large packer camp.Not sure if pack stock is allowed on that trail, or if it's old. But it's a huge camp.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 26, 2013 11:18AM
Ah! Have to make it back up to Upper Grant for sure. I like granite docks like that, beats walking in mud. The lower lake had a couple on the eastern shore, but the one in the Upper sounds like it's deeper off the sides.

Wanted to climb around the walls up there to get views down on Grant Lakes and Ten Lakes, but it'll have to wait. Good to know there are a least a couple of suitable campsite spots; we didn't have much time to do a circuit, with the weather. Wish we had gotten there earlier so we could have set up shop up there, but I was glad for the tree cover at the lower lake.

Thought there might have been a way down to the trail, coming out below Halfmoon Meadow. Good to know for next time, may make a trip sometime just to hang out at Upper Grant for a couple of days.
avatar Re: Ten Lakes TRtj
August 30, 2013 05:35PM
Thanks for taking the time to post the pics, looks like a great trip. I love the panorama shots.
Re: Ten Lakes TRtj
August 30, 2013 06:11PM
You're welcome thumbs up, glad you enjoy them. Working on the last two days right now, should be posting in a bit.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
August 31, 2013 09:59PM
Been taking me forever to get to finishing pic uploads from the last trip. Finally have some time to finish it up this weekend. Here is Day 3 smiling smiley

Note: The panoramas lose a bit of detail and resolution with the display limitation, sorry.

Woke up to a nice view of the lake peeking through the boulders and trees.

Of course, I can't stay abed, but my GF has no problem smiling smiley

Lake view as the morning sun lights up the basin walls.

Little area drying up near outlet.


Awake yet?

Nope. Guess it's back to the lake grinning smiley

After a while, the GF got up and we had breakfast on the slab bank, overlooking the awakening lake. Some left over Molinari from yesterday's skipped lunch for an interesting addition grinning smiley

Quite a blessing - gazing at the lake in the silent stillness of the morning... being awed as color, warmth, and motion floods back into a world now awash with light.

After breakfast, instead of doing the longer loop I had wanted, we opted to just climb up Grand Mountain from the lake to get the views from the top, then come back down and move shop to WL8947T for greater tree coverage before the afternoon/evening thunderstorm hit. This is the view of the lake as we started climbing.

From a little higher up:

zoom on camp:

a little more zoom:

Panorama of NW view from Grand Mountain, with a glimpse of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

The view NE from the top of Grand Mountain were spectacular! I think we may have gotten better views if we had continued a little further south along the ridge, but it seemed like we were on the top when we got up there. Didn't really look like there was higher ground from where we came out on top, and I didn't check the topo then, just going by eye. A higher spot seemed apparent though, when looking back up at the mountain from lakeside, when we returned to camp. One of those false summit situations I guess, with the trees in the way. Oh well, next time. It was still gorgeous.

iPhone version

The GF really enjoyed the view.

Sorry for multiple shots of the same thing, it was just awesome.

We spent a little time up there just taking in the views, then headed back down. The GF wanted to have some time to swim and lie lakeside in the sun, before moving camp. We had to stop on the way back down though to take in the views NW from the side of Grand Mountain again smiling smiley

Lots of cool quartz up there!

Ran into this "cool" chunk of marble; it's crazy how much cooler the chunk was relative to the surrounding rocks. Incredible contrast. Edited to add: Or quartz? it looked marble-like at the time, but looking at the pics it's probably not. I'm no rockhound... still learning...

Another view of the lake on our way down.

Back down! Shot with the iPhone.

The GF was eager to get some quality lake time in grinning smiley

Ah! Refreshing.

Grand Mountain.

After soaking it up for a bit, we packed up and headed back to WL8947T. Good timing too because the weather started rolling in.

Started raining gently for the late afternoon. Pretty.

View from camp.

Eventually, as evening drew on, we went from gentle rain and and enjoying the view...

To buttoning up and hunkering down as the rain intensified, lightning and thunder joined the party, and a little hail fell. I had gotten a little lazy and pitched on a slight slope to get us a little view of the lake (all the nice flat spots on this side were further up the hill and generally without views), so we had to scramble to prop up our groundsheets as we got a little more water than we had anticipated. Had a little stream run under our shelter for little bit during the storm, haha... Next time thunderstorms are in the prediction, I'll just deal with the weight and bring an inner for the bathtub floor. Less hassle with two people.

Last day coming shortly!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2013 06:45PM by HikingMano.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
September 01, 2013 03:58AM
Last day!

We got up around dawn, got some breakfast and hot cocoa going for the GF.

Sun coming out, still lots of cloud cover. The GF and I broke camp early and hit the trail to climb out of the basin before the sun hit the switchbacks.

WL8947T in the morning. Simply stunning... and quiet in the early morning since most of the folks camped at that lake were still sleeping. Way too many people for me at that lake; I wouldn't have stayed there at all, but for the better tree coverage. Cutting down the hike a little for our exit day was also a plus.

Nice morning, with the cloud cover adding dimension and texture to the sky.

iPhone shot of southern basin wall.

View of and across the GCT as we climbed the switchbacks out of the Ten Lakes basin.

A little higher up.

Panorama from the use-trail that splits off the Ten Lakes trail at the pass.

Some zooms.

Can't remember the name for this guy.

iPhone shots.

Great spot for a snack and a break to take in the views.

After enjoying the morning scenery from on high, we continued back down the trail. Here's Halfmoon Meadow in the morning. (iPhone)

We spotted this monster chicken-of-the-woods off-trail on the hike back. We usually see it as yellow shelves, so this guy really struck us for its orange vibrancy and decidedly non-shelf like appearance.

Busy busy!

After we got back to the trailhead and our vehicle, we started the drive home. It turned out the Rim Fire had grown while we were out on our trip, so 120 was closed. We picked up a hitchhiker on Tioga Rd. who'd just spent a week peak-bagging at the end of Lyell Canyon and was returning to work at Camp Towunga. We discovered at the Big Oak Flat entrance that the camp had been evacuated, so he ended up accompanying us back to the bay area. The drive out along 140 was a hot and slow one, with temps over 100*F and road painting going on. This is a shot of the growing pyrocumulus as we crossed the central valley. We thought the cloud quite impressive then, and we obviously had no idea how bad the fire would become in the following days.

So, that was this trip. All too short, as usual, with so many places left unexplored. Next time! This was my girlfriend's first backpacking trip, and she enjoyed it immensely. I'm looking forward to getting her out on more trips with me. Hope to be back up there in a couple of weeks, but we'll see how the fire situation goes.

Hope you all enjoyed the pics and vids!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2013 04:13AM by HikingMano.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
September 01, 2013 04:31AM
Ah, one last thing, I'd like to shoot a special thanks out to Chick-on for his continuing awesomeness! thumbs up smileys with beer Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Ten Lakes TR
September 01, 2013 04:16PM
The bird is Clark's Nutcracker. The butterfly is some kind of Fritillary; I am leaning towards Hydaspe, but it could be Great Basin - with only one worn individual, and no shot of the underside of the wings I think it's an impossible id, and I don't know enough about seasonal distribution etc. of the two species to know which is more likely.
Re: Ten Lakes TR
September 01, 2013 05:00PM
My birding buddy confirmed the Nutcracker for me this morning, thanks for the additional confirmation! I'm still learning my birds (and everything else), long way to go. I could not for the life of me remember it when we were out.

Thanks for the info on the butterfly. I usually try to look up species ID when I can, to help learn them for the future, but didn't have much time to do anything on top of posting pics for this trip so far.
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