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Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

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

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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:48 pm

Thanks a lot AT!

I went and look on Caltopo for the suggestion you've written. I like it, yet no offense but for me it's just too much rock everywhere without much grass and real forest... I find it a bit depressing, don't you? Am I wrong with the landscaping? What I loved in the Yosemite National Park is that it was well balanced between rock & forest/grass (not just rock)... I'm sure a lot of people appreciate it but I had a vision more "into the wild" with some nature. I understand we are high and the landscape will follow the altitude, yet I feel it's just too much rock everywhere...

Then I went to your other suggestion, starting from Florence Lake, and I feel it's more balanced - at least a part of it.
I have created the following map. I had a hard time finding places to camp... please let me know if a such hike would make sense.
https://caltopo.com/m/GSCB

I'm still in the dark about what to do... I'm still exploring other options... if we have a car from Fresno (probably a compact SUV), I think we would be more flexible to find a good hiking trip... I'm just worried about wilderness permits here and there depending on the quota allowed...
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:59 pm

"Balanced?" "Just rock?"

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Pearls before swine, I'm tellin' ya.

Places to camp? There are more places to camp out there than you'll find labeled on a map. Your "problems" are not problems. Just start searching these places on Flickr and you'll figure out that it's more of the same - it's the Sierra Nevada, full of granite and pine trees and water.

Not even doing the area justice here. https://flic.kr/s/aHsmh72NDL
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:35 pm

Haha ok... well I'm more a green space with rocks & tress than absolute rock landscapes with some pines :)

I create a loop at the Mammoth Lakes area. I checked on the Inyo National Forest Website and there are still some wilderness (overnight) permits available for the specific trail I picked.
You will notice that we would be able to cut the loop for a shorter one at the 25th km (Minnow Creek) in case we are late on our 2nd-3rd day...

https://caltopo.com/m/HP0G

Do you know this area? What do you think about that loop? I guess it might be a bit busy at the beginning and at the end but maybe not that much after passing the first day.
Thanks for your input!
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:06 am

Your loss! Literally. I've only been to this area every year, and Yosemite less and less... There's definitely more trees on my trip than this one. You're trusting maps too much. Maps don't know where the forest fires have been, nor do they tell the entire story.

So you're landing in Fresno, driving over Tioga Pass (I recommend getting to the Yosemite gate as early as you possibly can, otherwise it will add hours waiting in a long line of cars to your trip and it's already a four hour drive) and picking up the permit in Mammoth, get a bear can rental there too. And then you will join the many who have done this too.

Do try to find Iva Bell Hot Springs. There are upwards of fifty individual "tubs" around the steep meadow, some with a very nice view. There will be a bunch of people there but you may never see them, the tubs are spread out far and wide.

The rocks/trees ratio is roughly the same as the trip I mapped, though definitely less forested than the Yosemite trip. A forest fire wiped out the forest between Reds Meadow and the ridge right before Fish Creek. There are lovely cedar trees that are so large they resemble sequoias along Fish Creek. The section of trail between Reds Meadow and the bottom of the canyon where the bridge crosses Fish Creek has good views but can be very hot and exposed in the late afternoon - I was very frustrated with the gnats, which will happen where there are oak trees and like the heat of midday. DEET does absolutely nothing to drive them off.

This area is very busy, and there are shuttles that will get you from Reds Meadow around to the car again. Mammoth Brewery is a nice place to stop for a pint. Schatts Bakery has great sandwiches and we always breakfast there.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:21 am

And do have a care for rattlesnakes... I've seen plenty in the Sierra, and they are everywhere, make no mistake. But they do love lower elevation canyons with water in the bottom. We saw a large one at the Fish Creek bridge and another on the switchbacks climbing up the ridge. They aren't aggressive - but stepping on them would put you at a risk of a bite.

My trip is higher elevation, so less likely to be baking hot in the afternoon. Also more likely to see wildlife that isn't trying to get your food or chew up your stuff, and less likely to see people. And it's less driving - two hours from Fresno, instead of four hours through Yosemite and fighting for parking at the Mammoth Lakes trailhead...

Yep, it's an easy trailhead as all the Mammoth ones are. That area is a real, real popular place for thru hikers to resupply and for people to get a cabin and day hike. It's nearly as busy as Yosemite.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:49 am

Thanks A LOT AT for all these info... I'm meeting my friend tonight and we'll try to go through the whole thing and make a decision very quickly...

It's a pity that I haven't found this forum and you guys as well back in February!
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:10 am

On my phone, so I'll keep this short.

Rent a car.

I have thoughts, but one of them is to stick with YNP on this trip. Let me throw some things out for consideration. More later.

I love granite.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:19 pm

I love granite too - some of the best places have lots and lots of it. The Tablelands in SEKI being one of those places.

With greenery comes bugs, and swamps, and bushwack-o-rama fun if the trail hasn't been maintained in a while. Anything below 7k is also very likely to be incredibly hot especially at 1 - 3 pm. Anything below 6k will have poison oak and oak trees with the accompanying gnats that fly in your eyes....

I love granite.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:32 pm

Thanks guys. Ideally I’d love to keep our original plan (hiking in YNP). And ideally, we don’t want to take our car everyday as we just want to be out and be 100% autonomous.

I think what we also could do is to rent a car on Monday morning in Fresno. Drive into YNP. Park there, go pick-up our permits to the Visitor Center, sleep in the valley and be up at 7am the next day to hike up Yosemite Falls before the crowd and the heat.

Also, I’m trying to figure out if we could just skeep Young Lakes (nooo!) to save one day and get less rushed the following days... at that point, I think we would be opened for shorter itinerary, especially if we can get to Clouds Rest (sleeping close to Cathedral lakes the day before and doing the hike early in the day without a part of the tourists as well).
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:03 pm

Okay, so as is obvious, car = freedom. I know that renting a car is expensive, especially when you think about it just worthlessly sitting there for the better part of 10 days. I'll explain the car/no car options shortly.

AT is by far more traveled and versed in the Sierras than I am. She's just closer and out there more. There's a strong case to be made for destinations east of Yosemite in that it's different geologically and in terms of elevations...soaring and profound would be a good way to describe it...something that you'll understand more when you've spent some time in it. What we've both largely evolved towards is more cross country to find what we're looking for...and we like granite. It's kind of a combination of backpacking and mountaineering. But, as for granite, if it's not reflecting 120 degree temps, I'll walk it for days and be happy. It's just rugged, cool, and how I personally have come to think of my type of wilderness.

Anyhow, with a few exceptions, your already planned route is good, where it fell apart is in original expectations, and that it's a lot of great smaller trips all thrown into one, which, in my opinion, not only takes the joy out of it, it's going to destroy you. You might be 33, but you haven't hiked in 15 years, certainly not at altitude, and, if you're carrying everything for the entire trip at once, I would imagine that your pack weight is going to be bordering on 40-50 lbs. Screw that! I just don't get this thing with the Falls Trail. You'll spend roughly two days doing it, and then you'll pay for it the next six or seven. It will color your performance and burn you out for more and better. In this forum, you'll see a couple threads by Tyler200. I worked with him both here, via email, and even by text and on the phone, even when he was literally on the trail. I spoke to him today, in fact. As an extra aside trip, he ended up doing the Falls Trail the last couple days of his time out. I'll quote: " It was shit ton of elevation." Forget it, it's not worth it...drive or take the bus. If you want to see it when it's worth it (and it is when it's blasting) come back again in May or June and see it at peak!! Of this entire trip, at the time of year you want to do it, it is definitely the first and foremost part I would recommend you get rid of. Which now leads to the car issue.

With a car, you have freedom; no buses, shuttles, come and go as you please...but, you only need it for part of your trip. How you do it is up to you. I wouldn't bother if it was me. However, without the car, there's going to be some relying on a marginal shuttle system with scheduling restrictions, and, there's a part of what I'm going to propose that's possibly going to require you to hitchhike with two people. That has mixed results at times. YMMV.

Here's what I think:

First, junk that Falls Trail nonsense. You know why I think this.

Secondly, today, go online and reserve a permit for two up to Young Lakes via Glen Aulin Trail on the 4th if you have a car, or the 5th if you're taking YARTS to the Valley. If you have a car, drive up to Tuolumne, park, hike. If no car, pick up your reserved permit at the Valley wilderness center, reserve a couple spots on the hikers shuttle at the visitors center, get over to the backpackers campground at North Pines, set up and dump your gear, spend the rest of the day and night in the Valley playing tourist...be sure you don't miss your shuttle in the morning.

I'm thinking Young Lakes first for a few reasons: 1) it's easily accessible by car or bus, 2) It's bite-sized and a good primer to hiking and altitude, 3) It's lovely and will get you exited rather than exhausted, 4) You can throw all but the food you need for that short time in one of the lockers at the trailhead and go in probably 10-12 lbs lighter than you would've been able to otherwise if it was mid-trip. Spend a day or two up there. Day hike. Move camps from lower to upper if you want to.

Next, come down and get a walk-up permit for Rafferty Creek. If that's not available, get Lyell Canyon. With both, your goal is to do a Vogelsang area loop and end up back at Tuolumne. With Rafferty Creek, camp the first night at Boothe Lake. With Lyell, first night at Ireland Creek. From there, head up over Vogelsang Pass and spend that next night at Bernice Lake. You'll now see the beauty of granite and get a glimpse of what the Pacific Crest is about, but with enough trees to likely find some shade for your tent, as well as not a lot of people. Whichever way you go, on the way back to Tuolumne, reverse the order of your route. Plan on three days, maybe four for this leg.

Part II to follow....
Last edited by Phil on Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Back at Tuolumne, go get another walk-up permit for Ten Lakes, either from Yosemite Creek, or White Wolf if that's all that's available. This is the one and only part of the trip that you might need a car for. If you have the car, drive there, start hiking. If not, either hitch a ride or wait for the hikers shuttle that goes back from TM to the Valley. Have them drop you wherever you need to go. If you do need to shuttle it or can't get a permit until the following day, you have two choices: 1) hit the Yosemite Creek trailhead later and book it up to the White Wolf Trail Junction (part way/2-ish miles...easy and before dark) if you have the permit for the same day, or 2) if permitted for the next day, get up to White Wolf and stay at the backpackers camp there, then start hiking in the morning. What I think you should do with Ten Lakes is do it as an in-and-out, not a full push through back to TM. You can do the cross country I suggested before up to Lower Grant Lake for a night, or you can go right to the basin itself. Lake #1. If you want more seclusion, walk counter-clockwise past lakes #3 and #4, and hike up to #5 (the count begins at the furthest to the NW (#1) and goes left to right. You will work for #5, but I can pretty much guarantee you that there will be nobody else there. Camp at the west/northwest shore. So, call Ten Lakes maybe three-four days if you want it to be. You can also do it as an overnighter if you want to.

So, there it is. It's the best I've got, and it makes sense in every regard. You've seen the best, and skipped the rest. You've also reduced your pack weight substantially at any given time, and approached your reintroduction to hiking and adjusting to altitude responsibly and incrementally, therefore giving yourselves the best chance at staying healthy and happy for the entire trip and succeeding in all of it without hitting the wall. And, with crowds, remember that these trailheads all have quotas, and while those quotas don't always prelude the presence of day hikers, they're all basically designed with preserving a quality "wilderness experience". On top of which, the day hikers will be gone by afternoon, and, you're going to avoid all the places such as the Falls Trail, the Valley, the JMT, Cathedral Lakes, Cloud's Rest, as well as almost all the other hyper-popular core places where the crowds of people really do present a problem in diminishing the experience enough to make those of us that know them well avoid them and go somewhere that they're not. Make no mistake, though, you will see other people along the trail, but you will not be thrown into the chaotic fray of the thundering herds and all that goes along with it.

I'm sure this conversation is far from over, but I think this is really the way you should do it.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:41 pm

Thanks a lot Phil! We’re getting there!

I made some big modifications, called the YNP to change my wilderness permit trailhead.

More updates coming this evening local time - I’ll send you the last updates and a good itinerary based on your comments!
One thing for sure is we won’t make it for Ten Lakes, but we’ll explore a good part of the south of TM.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:20 pm

Ok.... here it is: https://caltopo.com/m/TE08

Explanations!
- We rent a car on Monday Sept. 3rd at the Fresno Airport and drive up to TM.
- Day 1: we start our YNP trip by going to Young Lakes! I changed our entry trail to Young Lakes via Glen Aulin Trail, that was actually the only trail with still some spots available - Dog Lake trails was already full.
- Day 2: we come back to TM and try to sleep at the backpackers campground.
- Day 3 to 8: we head to Vogelsang area for 3 days and then we go up to Sunrise Mountain, do Clouds Rest and head back to the Y. Valley on our final day.

On our 8th day (Sept. 11th), we camp in the Valley (the designated area for permit holders) and take the hikers bus the next morning to head back to our car in TM (bus already reserved).
So by Sept.12th 10.15am we are back to our rental car and we head back to our hotel. We flight back home the next day, super early in the morning.

I have spoken to the representative at the Wilderness permit and he said that if we take our car (for example, after Young Lakes), our Wilderness permit becomes null & void. I've tried to find available Trailhead all around Ten Lakes and only one was available. No matter what, we would have need a third permit to hike the South part of TM but EVERY single trail was already booked (https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.htm).

I think, at the very end, we need to consider ourselves lucky. We found you guys, you have been an incredible help and we'll be able to improve drastically our trip. We'll have the opportunity to go to Young Lakes, see a good part of the Vogelsang area and then get the direction of the Valley as it would be our exit trail (and be able to actually spend a part of the day in the Valley and see it!).

Please share your comments! I feel that the vertical drop isn't crazy for each day and that we'll still be able to somehow achieve it (well I hope!). I wish we could pass the night at the Bunnell Cascade spot at the end of our 5th day but it would add to much mileage for our next busy 6th day.

Thanks again!

P.S.: I think our 3rd, 4th and 6th day may be a bit intense but duable..? Your comments are more than welcome.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:57 pm

Yeah, that'll work.

One thing you might be missing though is that only 60% of the permits for any given trailhead are reserved, the other 40% are first-come, first-served. So if you want Ten Lakes or anywhere else, go for it.

Yes, the reason I recommended the Glen Aulin trail over Dog Lake is because I looked and saw that space was still available on the full trailheads report.

And also, yes, remember the earlier talk of voiding a permit with going to the store, walking the road, etc? Well, getting in the car or on a shuttle is right up there on that list, too, big time.

When you go up to Vogelsang, keep Boothe Lake as your first night, and do try to get over to Bernice. The lower trail, Fletcher Creek, and the upper trail, Lewis Creek converge and both head down to Merced Lake. They both become the Lewis Creek Trail below the convergence at the footbridge on the way down. Lewis Creek (over Vogelsang Pass), is the route to Bernice. If you want less people, Bernice is about a mile off the main trail, so it gets less traffic than the straight HSC loop route. So, you still end up at Sunrise/CR, but you take an extra night somewhere nicer. I think you can reasonably decrease the three days to two up in that area without any problems.You have the time, and speaking of Sunrise/CR, five days isn't necessary at all. Four puts you at a leisurely pace. So, throw one day at Bernice of the three days allotted to the Vogelsang area, maybe a second up the Merced River about 2.5 miles to Washburn Lake, a third up on the Echo Creek Trail by the second footbridge (if you need a rest and a short day), or all the way up to one of the Sunrise Lakes (upper and middle are generally less crowded, then to the north side of CR (bring water), then down to either Sunrise Creek for another night, or just straight down to the Valley. Don't try to get from CR to the Valley in a single day, though. It's doable, but that's what either Sunrise Creek at the JMT x CR junction is for...or even LYV. Figure up from Echo Valley, Sunrise Lakes, CR, Sunrise Creek and out, yes, about four days. I'm sure I missed something here, so I'll go back over it, look at your route and itinerary closely, and help modify and explain as needed when we talk more about where to camp and whatnot. I'll break down your days when I'm a little more tuned.

Remember too, that area is packed. Great places to camp that we can discuss over the next couple/few days, but lots of competition if you don't know how to strategize.

Good, we're getting this pinned down nicely. Have we talked about bears and food storage yet? We need to.
Last edited by Phil on Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Thanks Phil!! I did a quick walk-through of your plan and it looks promising! I will go more in details tomorrow morning. Really helpful!

Regarding bears and safety, I’d be glad to hear about it!
I have read though all articles on YNP website, read the book « BEAR AWARE 4TH EDITION from FALCON », checked again a few websites, articles and forums about it, etc. We understand the principle of the 3 zones (dining/cooking area, stock area and sleeping area, and keep a safe distance between them). We already have our BearVaults, tested them in the field, worked with ziplocks as well to divide our stuffs in it and to limit the smell of spreading. And we’re super into the No trace concept to limit at our very best our impact in the wilderness (for the nature, the animals & homosapiens!).

We can’t wait!
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