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[Yosemite]

Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby mebgardner » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:59 pm

I've read about a steel and wood bridge near the Tenaya Lake inlet, near Pywiack Dome.

I read about it in this thread:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,37948,37990

...posted by a guy named "YosemiteJim", about 3/4 way down the thread page, Aug 6, 2012. He says he's laid eyes on it.

I can not find it on the 7.5 min topo maps, posted online, nor on Google Earth.

So, I'm confused. I thought this would be a good alternative to crossing the Tenaya Lake outlet, if it's waist to chest high deep in water. But, I don't read about such an alternative here on this forum, and mebbe cause I have not looked long / hard enough.

Is the bridge there? Is it a good crossing alternative, alibet a couple more miles further of trail, sure.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:48 pm

There is indeed a bridge there, it's on google earth. However -- you should ask the ranger about the ramifications of having a permit for the Sunrise trailhead and starting allllllllll the way up at the road near Pywiak instead of the trailhead on the permit. One of them will be the lack of bear lockers to stash ice chests or smelly stuff in, and leaving them in the car is verboten. Another will be the general taboo on overnight parking in places where Rangers don't like people parking overnight, tho I am unsure if those pull outs are in that category. Climbers use them all the time but climbers are not overnighting on Pywiak (illegal to camp that close to the road).

Rangers who know the depth of the crossing might have differing opinions on that matter. There are plenty of rangers around that area to check permits. Better to be sure than tossed out of the park - but they can be understanding of safety issues.

I can't see that crossing ever being more than waist deep and slow -- I would just do the crossing. Jeans are ridiculous for hiking in spring (the SAR teams call cotton "death cloth" for a reason) but nylon pants dry quickly enough.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby mebgardner » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:06 pm

Excellent! I can not find the bridge on Google Earth, may I please have the GPS coordinates for it?

When folks start talking about chest high, then I need a backup plan. This bridge is my backup.

With a little planning, I can use it and not violate any park rules.

It's likely just a few minutes by vehicle to the bridge, from the Tenaya Lake CG. I camp at TLCG, load the SUV, 'n up the road I go. I drop off the crew, and the load, 'n back I go to the TLCG. Drop off the SUV, 'n hoof it back to the bridge. Voila! Now we go across.

Bridge coordinates, please?
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:04 pm

No, if you do not start from the trailhead on your permit, you WILL ABSOLUTELY violate park rules. That's why I suggested talking to a ranger before planning to do otherwise. I would suggest calling the wilderness office and changing your permit to whatever trailhead they tell you would be appropriate for your plan, in fact, instead of risking being caught somewhere else with an invalid permit, because it is one of the immutable facts of Yosemite -- there are two things that will get you marched back to your car and fined. Not having an approved bear canister, and not having a valid permit.

There is a Tenaya Lake campground on some maps. It does not in fact exist any longer. It was removed years ago.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby Phil » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:51 pm

Yeah, a phone call or direct inquiry when you pick up your permit would be the best way to handle it. If the crossing is bad, and you aren't comfortable enough to give it a go, I doubt they would get too upset about you erring on the side of caution, but blessings are good.

Yep, it's a day-use picnic ground only now. You'll likely have to camp the first night at the backpacker's camp at Tuolumne. Not much else close by will be open yet. It'll be a perfect excuse to do some recon on the crossing at Sunrise on the way, and a good reason to swing by the permitting station to check if your alternate plan is copacetic and even necessary to begin with.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby mebgardner » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:10 pm

I am thankful for the helpful replies and information. Thanks very much.

I will check with the rangers the day before I begin, to discuss the crossing, which I will lay eyes on before talking with them.

You're all good people, well intentioned and attempting to help me not get kicked out of the park. Really, thank you.

I have a clue that the bridge is to help folk get along the north shore of Tenaya. I'll bet the bridge is there, from the parking lot, to cross the inlet.

I'll post pictures, and coordinates when I get back, so folk downstream of this thread can know where it is, if they need a backup plan.

Warm regards to all of you.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:15 pm

The bridge exists on that part of the trail because at that point in the trail, there is no safe way to cross the river. If it was not safe to cross the outlet of the lake where the trail crosses it, there would be a bridge. There are also a line of boulders that make the crossing shallower if one walks upon them. I've done both the wading and the boulder crossing.

what we are is experienced. Otherwise you wouldn't be here asking the question. You can trust that I do know people who have been hiked for three long days by a ranger out of the wilderness for breaking one of the mentioned rules. you sound like you think you know better than we do. You may in fact get away with anything you please, but that close to a road you can bet there will be Rangers more often. roll the dice as you please...
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby mebgardner » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:23 am

You're a tough audience.

I'm indicating that I *will* check with the rangers the day before, and comply with the rules and advice they give.

Yes, you're experienced, that's why I'm asking for the advice from this forum, and paying attention to the replies. You give *good* advice, and I'm thankful.

Now, all I ask in return is, please accept my gratitude, and try not to read too much into my dispassionate responses.

I have been backpacking Yosemite since '79.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:13 am

I've learned not to make assumptions either way and respond to what's written in a manner that leaves no room for assumption. Don't read too much into plain-spoken truth. It's true that the majority of folks reading here don't post, and I'd rather not be ambiguous if it helps reduce misunderstanding.

As trail crew, I know that safety is what determines where the bridges go. Getting wet is not the trail crew's problem. The crossing at the outlet of Tenaya is rather like a wading pool -- you're not going to get swept under and drowned, just wet. So the materials and time it will take putting together a bridge were spent elsewhere, where it is likely that putting a person with a pack into the water will result in a swift water recovery of a body. It makes it a much easier crossing to also not be wearing jeans, cotton t shirts, cotton socks - hypothermia is most often acquired not in winter but in summer, when people assume it will be warm enough to dry out their clothing and that the weather won't change to snow -- having been snowed on in August and July, about that same elevation, I choose clothing that actually dry instead of the cotton stuff that takes a fire or a dryer to get it completely dry.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby mebgardner » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:02 pm

Thanks, that's sage. Understood. Peace.
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Re: Bridge near Pywiack Dome?

Postby Phil » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:48 pm

AlmostThere wrote: As trail crew, I know that safety is what determines where the bridges go.


Not to mention- a good deal of politics and public comment. The rocks there were the compromise.

It's not fast water, but it is moving, albeit slowly. I find it best if people lean more to the side of caution and a realistic understanding of their comfort level and abilities. As AT says, we have no idea who is reading if they're not posting, so it's best to instill at least a fair amount of respect for water crossings, if not some degree of fear. We have to remember that toddlers drown in 5 gallon buckets, so who's to say that even an adult might not run into problems in cold, waist deep water with 50lbs lashed to their body, slip, panic, have no idea of how to recover....?

Cotton, synthetics, Gore-Tex.... whatever, I'm not into starting out a trip wet if it can be at all avoided. At Sunrise in June, I'm going to walk to the creek and see what's up before I even pull my pack out of the car. If it's deep, I'm doing that first 50 yards in my boxers, a t-shirt, and camp shoes. I'll get dressed and boot up on the other side and have a better day for it.
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