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Glen Aulin May Lake trip report

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Glen Aulin May Lake trip report

Postby dbiggs » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:36 pm

First off, thanks to all the veterans who answered my questions posed before this trip. you helped make it a memorable experience!

I arrived in Tuolumne on Thursday the 19th. The main campground was still closed (it opened on the 20th) but the backpackers campground was open to people with permits. It was nice to have the whole place to ourselves. After arriving did a warm up hike up Lembert dome, taking advantage of clear afternoon weather.

Friday headed off to Glen Aulin, leaving the car and extra supplies at the Wilderness Center parking lot. Beautiful weather, and as pleasant a hike as I could hope for. For me the first day of a back packing trip is grueling as I get into the rhythm, and the first day of the first trip of the season really wore me out.

I was in a stupor as I strode up to the bridge to Glen Aulin, until I looked up and saw a bear coming across the bridge from the opposite direction! This bear has become quite the pest, and I saw it on three separate occasions in and around camp. If I had to do it again, I don't know that I would camp in Glen Aulin. The nearby waterfall is nice, but the campground really seems to attract the mosquitoes, flys, and bears, and you also seem to get a larger than average contingent of new backpackers who do things like throw their leftovers behind the tents, leave food out, not have bear containers, etc. Depending on which direction I was going in, I would probably camp below Glen Aulin or near McGee Lake.

Day two I took a day hike down to Waterwheel falls. All the falls along the way were spectacular, and the wildflowers were also in plentiful supply.

Day three I hiked up to May Lake. The only challenge (other than walking uphill all day) was the ford at Cathedral Creek, and that was due to the swarm of mosquitoes that attacked as soon as I sat down to take off my shoes.

Camp May is still not open, and I had the backpackers camp to myself, a coyote, and a really obnoxious marmot who insisted on parking himself in front of my tent and chirping at full volume for an hour.

Day four (this morning) I proceed up Mount Hoffman, but I couldn't see anything because of the haze and smoke. It was getting real bad. I couldn't even see the lake below me, and the sun was casting an orange light. I hiked out, and headed home. If I can figure out how to post pictures I'll post one of the friendly bear and my marmot mascot.
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Postby holly » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:25 am

Sounds like a good trip thanks for the info. I will be doing a similar loop in August. Are fires allowed in the backpackers campsites at the HSC's? Also, do you recommend camping away from the HSC's to avoid crowds.

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Postby dan » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:34 am

Here's the quote:
"Wood fires are allowed in existing fire rings only, and prohibited above 9,600 feet in elevation. Use dead and down wood only."

I recommend camping away from the HSCs, although some are in beautiful locations (Vogelsang comes to mind).
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Postby dbiggs » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:18 am

I agree with Dan, if (When) I did it again, I'd stay away from the HSC backpacking camps. It is almost like being in a drive in campground. There seemed to be quite a few nice camp areas in the valley below Glen Aulin if your trip is taking you further down the Tuolumne. Pick a place that has been used before though, don't create a new campsite.
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