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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 Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:01 am

Based on your map, which I've now looked at, I'm going to respond to your route and daily itinerary. I'll do it over a few posts, because I haven't had enough coffee yet.

Day-1: Yes, good.

Day-2: Yes, good.

* The only revision I would suggest is that you try to take that hike to Upper Young the evening of day-1. If you're dead set on spending the second night of your trip at the backpackers camp at TM, you're fine doing it the second morning, but I would instead get down and to the permit office earlier rather than later, and if you're up for it, get your new permit and go. If possible, get Rafferty Creek, not Lyell Canyon.I would try to skip the TM camp if you can.

Day-3: No. As I said, try for Rafferty Creek instead (see the earlier start on day-2). First night at Boothe Lake. If all you can get is Lyell Canyon, stopping short at Ireland Creek is nicer than Ireland Lake, and it will save you the climb up for the next morning, when it's cooler and you're fresher. Skip Ireland Lake altogether. It's desolate and windy, and it doesn't offer much in the way of camping. If you are able to go up and over towards Vogelsang that day , drop down from the backpackers area up there and just hit Boothe. And that 3 miles you spent in and out on the trail up to Ireland is almost your entire remaining distance to Vogelsang...use that energy well and better. It also shortens day-4 considerably.

Day-4: If you can and are able to follow my suggestion, depending on how you look at it (TM backpackers camp yes/no?--Rafferty Creek instead of Lyell Canyon yes/no?) you've gained yourself at least a day and night. With my way, Bernice Lake becomes day-3, or per your itinerary, it's still day-4. Other than that, looks good.

That's half. More later.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:31 pm

...let's continue...

So when we left off, you were about to leave Bernice Lake. We can call it either day 4 or 5, but we'll now refer to your itinerary, then mine in parentheses.

Day-5 (4): Your mileage for the day is good. Leaving Bernice, the distance down to the Merced is going to go pretty quickly. Your pace should be quick, but you have a mile along the Lewis Creek Trail that gets steep, then really steep for the next almost another mile the rest of the way down to the river. Like steep. Like pounding your knees and driving your toes into the front of your boots hard with every step steep. You now a have a choice: you can go left for about 2.5 miles, but have an overall shorter day of it and go up to Washburn Lake (and it is totally worth it), or you can keep going to where you planned in Echo Valley. There are a lot of sites tucked in there of varying quality, but you're going to need to look for good ones...and, it's a valley, so not much going on. Nice enough that they'll work and serve your purposes if you're done. Now, if you do have it in you, and in order to make a shorter and easier next day of it on your way up to Sunrise Lakes, keep going up the Echo Creek Trail. The trail starts climbing quickly and gets very steep through there, so keep that in mind. If you look at your day-6 section (purple) you'll see two footbridges. Just past the second one are good sites with water. You may even have it to yourselves. I actually really like that little valley a lot, fwiw. You now have a good site, made some extra mileage, got some of the ugier climbing behind you, and you've positioned yourselves for maybe only a half day to reach the lakes the next day. You didn't/won't work that hard to do it, and aside from that painful descent from Lewis Creek, you should be able to do it without any problems, no matter how you decide. However you decided to handle Washburn or not, and even then, if you did come from Washburn, it's still fewer miles overall of essentially flat hiking.

Day-6 (5): Cake if you do it my way the previous day, slightly less cakey if you stopped in Echo Valley. When you get up to the lakes, Upper on the opposite shore for sites, or Middle pretty much wherever you like. Just skip Lower entirely, they all tend to be crowded, but that one much more so. Also, while the lakes are nice and have good camping, if you're up for it, you can also keep heading towards CR. There's a tarn on the trail with some sites on the other side in the trees, or you can keep going and head up to the flats below CR's north side as well. There are caveats in this though. I'm getting just slightly ahead of myself continuing past Sunrise Lakes for the time being. And I'm also loving the suspense this parsing it out in increments is undoubtedly creating, so I'm going to stop here for now. Hell, I'm even kind of getting all atwitter trying to figure out what I can come up with next.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:45 pm

Haha that's so good information! Thanks Phil!
Following your comments and notes, I have updated the map with the following one: https://caltopo.com/m/J20H

Yet I have a few questions:

1. When you're talking about day 1 & 2, are you suggesting that one our day 1 we try to get a permit for Rafferty Creek trail in the morning and then hike later on during the day towards Young Lakes with our permits in hand for the next day? I was planning to head to Young Lakes on day 1, sleep there and the next day go back to TM and camp at the backpackers camp for our day 3, towards Rafferty Creek, hopefully.

2. Day 4 on the new map is SUPER short, so I think I'm missing something on how you've integrated. If we do stop on our 3rd day at Boothe Lake and leave the next morning (day 4), where should we stop? If we head toward Washburn Lake (it sounds fun!), then we're doing 20km in a day (merging day 4 & 5). I think I missed something!

3. Regarding the "2nd footbridge" for day 6 (or 5 - whatever, the one in red on the new map), are you talking about the bridge #5 (see the marker)?

We're getting there! God it's in less than 2 weeks, I'm super excited!! Thanks again.
Best - Jonathan.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Justin-T » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:03 pm

Can I just interject here by saying that, with 47 replies (before mine) this thread has received more than any other in the last 20 pages (back to 2012). I gave up after that, but as the threads seem to get fewer and fewer as I went further back it could be that this has set a new sub-forum record... 8)
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:07 pm

The forum is that quiet and we were bored? :lol:
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:28 pm

AlmostThere wrote:The forum is that quiet and we were bored? :lol:


What Jonathan hasn't realized yet is that he owes us serious amounts of maple-based products. Me and AT are going to go out into the middle of a big granite slab and eat pancakes until we either vomit or pass out.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:30 pm

Phil wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:The forum is that quiet and we were bored? :lol:


What Jonathan hasn't realized yet is that he owes us serious amounts of maple-based products. Me and AT are going to go out into the middle of a big granite slab and eat pancakes until we either vomit or pass out.


I was thinking something along the lines of fermented grain-based product in a bottle, with perhaps a side order of grass fed beef, lettuce, tomato, bleu cheese and a bun. And some seasoned potato strips deep fried and sprinkled with garlic.

Happy Burger has the biggest menu in the Sierra. Just sayin....
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:18 pm

I swear, after all this, if you don't pull this off, I'm going to come down there, find you, steal your passport, and beat your ass. :twisted:

But I digress. Kind of.

Supplemental questions first;


sh3phard wrote:1. When you're talking about day 1 & 2, are you suggesting that one our day 1 we try to get a permit for Rafferty Creek trail in the morning and then hike later on during the day towards Young Lakes with our permits in hand for the next day? I was planning to head to Young Lakes on day 1, sleep there and the next day go back to TM and camp at the backpackers camp for our day 3, towards Rafferty Creek, hopefully.


No, day-1 is all about Young Lakes. You showed a little arrow that I assumed was a day-2 hike up to Upper Young Lake. Do it on day-1 instead, and get an earlier start back down to TM, or, yes, you can get a later start on the first day and pick up the next permit that day as well, after 11am. Don't forget, you're counting on walk-up permits beyond Young Lakes. You miss that window, it's Ten Lakes or whatever's available for you. Skip the backpackers camp...why bother unless you're trashed? You're probably going to pull at least a 2.5-3 mph pace on the way down, so if you get a reasonably early start on day-2, you'll be at the permit office around 11-ish. No reason to dilly dally. Get going up toward Vogelsang.

sh3phard wrote:2. Day 4 on the new map is SUPER short, so I think I'm missing something on how you've integrated. If we do stop on our 3rd day at Boothe Lake and leave the next morning (day 4), where should we stop? If we head toward Washburn Lake (it sounds fun!), then we're doing 20km in a day (merging day 4 & 5). I think I missed something!


Depends on what you want to do. Using my schedule (skipping the TM campground on the second night) your day-3 stop point if you go up and stay at Boothe on night-2 is then Bernice. With yours, staying night-2 at TM, move everything ahead one day, ie: Boothe becomes night-3, Bernice night-4....Follow? For the fourth night, you can go to Washburn (8.5 miles from Bernice), or you can follow your plan and go to Echo Valley (just under 9 miles from Bernice), or you can get on your way up the Echo Creek Trail and make more headway toward Sunrise (call it 11 miles from Bernice). However, stay with your original plan, you don't go to Washburn (not even the option) because you don't have the time, although, if you do go up there, the new distance coming from Washburn and up to point labelled #5 is roughly in the same range (8-ish miles). That bridge serves one of two purposes; it's either extra distance if you can do it, or a fried and can't go on point. For me, I'll shorten or lengthen my day's distance based on water and where I want to camp. You also have to consider that it's not all about distance, it's about relative ease or difficulty of ascents and descents...and how you're doing with altitude. Do you really have a problem with that or a shorter day for a bit of a break and nicer campsites? And if you think this one is short, wait till you see what I have in mind after Sunrise Lakes...but you need to buy yourselves the time....it'll be worth it, I promise.

sh3phard wrote:3. Regarding the "2nd footbridge" for day 6 (or 5 - whatever, the one in red on the new map), are you talking about the bridge #5 (see the marker)?


That is #5 on your map. You'll have one small footbridge at Echo Valley, a second just above the middle of the steeps on the actual Echo Creek Trail, the #5 where it levels out up-trail, Cross it, find a site. Or, if you don't end up there because of timing, good stamina, or just pushing on up to Sunrise Lakes, skip it. Like I said, it's either a bonus distance if you can, or a bail out camp if you run out of steam. You've done a lot of climbing the past few days, so make it work for you if you need to...just so you know if/how/when to use it to your advantage.

Did you follow all that?
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:48 pm

Justin-T wrote:Can I just interject here by saying that, with 47 replies (before mine) this thread has received more than any other in the last 20 pages (back to 2012). I gave up after that, but as the threads seem to get fewer and fewer as I went further back it could be that this has set a new sub-forum record... 8)



:lol:

And to think, all he originally wanted to know is whether there was any water in Yosemite Creek.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:12 pm

Justin-T wrote:Can I just interject here by saying that, with 47 replies (before mine) this thread has received more than any other in the last 20 pages (back to 2012). I gave up after that, but as the threads seem to get fewer and fewer as I went further back it could be that this has set a new sub-forum record... 8)


:lol: :lol: I know!! That's just awesome. I love how human can be some kind, generous of their time and dedicated. Very grateful about that whole thread & help!

Phil wrote:And to think, all he originally wanted to know is whether there was any water in Yosemite Creek.


It was definitely on our plan :D 8) 8)
Awesome local maple syrup and French Champagne (if you like bubbles). Maybe not a good mix, but definitely worth it separately ;) Will be definitely in touch soon with both of you, Phil & AT!
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:16 pm

Thanks for those precision Phil. Here is the updated version: https://caltopo.com/m/J20H

FYI, I have talked to the YNP wilderness department on Monday and they said it'll be fine to go from Young Lakes to Vogelsang area with the permit we already have as my exit trail is at the Yosemite Valley and we're not planning on going on the road itself nor taking our car. He said "there is no need to ask for a new wilderness permit, yours will be enough as long as you follow those rules".

So I guess we can start our Day-1 whenever we want (the earlier the better), then start our Day-2 super early, do a quick peak at Dog Lake and then head to Rafferty Creek, have lunch somewhere along the trail and camp at Boothe Lake.

The next day, Day-3, we can either take it super easy and stay at Bernice Lake (it's a 7.3km hike - with some good vertical drop though) or try to push it and camp in the East side of Merced Lake, in the Valley (I don't know if it's a nice place to camp though!). Merging day-3 and a part of day-4 (orange line and a part of the green one) would be a 7.3km with a big ascension and then a steep downhill + 8.5km on big steep downhill.... maybe not a good choice after all :p We might take it easy on day-3 and keep the map as is!

I guess the days #6, #7 and #8 make sense?

Thanks!!
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:21 pm

sh3phard wrote:I guess the days #6, #7 and #8 make sense?


Not exactly. I just haven't gotten there yet. You might already be asleep, but I'll get the suggested itinerary for those last three days posted tonight sometime.

That's great news on the permit rollover. It saves you any hassle with guessing and uncertainty. Just make sure that the permit is written up correctly for everyone's clarity:

Entry: Young Lakes via Glen Aulin

First night: Young Lakes

Exit: Happy Isles
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:51 pm

Thanks Phil!

Phil wrote:Entry: Young Lakes via Glen Aulin
First night: Young Lakes
Exit: Happy Isles


Yes, our permit now says the following:
Entry Date: 09/04/2018
Entry Trailhead: Young Lakes via Glen Aulin Trail
Exit Date: 09/11/2018
Exit Trailhead: Happy Isles->Little Yosemite Valley
Number in Party: 2
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby Phil » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:25 pm

Here we go. We're going to pick it back up from Sunrise Lakes and assume you have three days remaining to get to the Valley.

Per your plan, you're going up and over CR, then spending the night at the CR x JMT junction at Sunrise Creek. You only need two days to realistically go from the lakes to the Valley, but all that shifting of schedules earlier in the trip got you an extra day.

With my plan, from Sunrise Lakes to where you camp that night is only about 4 miles, so you have only about 2 hours or so of hiking, total. That campsite is going to be on the north side of Cloud's Rest. The caveat I talked about earlier is that you're going to have to bring water in with you. To reach this area, you're going to pass, first a pond, then a creek..."Phil's Creek". If the creek is dry, backtrack and get your water from the pond. I doubt it will be though. You'll need your water for the rest of the trail that day, dinner and breakfast, then down to Sunrise Creek the next day. Beyond the creek, you'll reach another trail junction that goes back down to the JMT, it's not marked as such, but it's the Forsyth Trail, and you will see it on your map. Above that you begin to climb. At the top you'll find it noticeably levels out and comes into some very distinctive flats that might have a couple crude sites trailside. You'll also be able to look up-trail and see the path up to the CR summit narrowing down between some brush. When you're here, head out to your right towards the rim of Tenaya Canyon to find a site. Aside from CR itself, these sites have some of the most absolutely spectacular views across and down the canyon...and you get to camp there. The other benefit to that area is that it's only a short hike up to the CR summit, so you can go and watch the sunset that evening after dinner. If it wasn't worth it, I wouldn't tell you to only walk such a ridiculously short distance that day. Believe me, so make it work.

Now, whatever day it is, you leave your camp and head down to Sunrise Creek for the night. This is also going to be a short day. On the way over, you can go back up to the CR summit again, but if you do, I would recommend that you backtrack just slightly and take the lower trail off the summit and down instead of the one off the summit itself, which is very steep. When you get to the junction at Sunrise Creek, scout around for good sites...up, down...wherever. Self-explanatory, so no need to go on about it. Find a good site is all. But, I will take a moment on bears and food storage. Bears in this area are very good at what they do and are conditioned to people. Not only will they sneak or run in and snatch food literally when your back is turned, they'll come into camp when they do, over and over and over again throughout the night, testing your vulnerability from different directions. If all your food, scented toiletries, garbage, etc is secured properly in your bear cans, so what?, they don't get it and they're fun to watch trying. Don't leave your cans where they can be rolled off cliffs or ledges, and make very sure there are no snacks or wrappers either in you pockets or packs. It's a good place to religiously apply all you know on the subject.

Last day..........hike away and get to the Valley. Follow the JMT out. A little hard on the knees and feet, about 7 miles or so, and lots and lots of people, but it needs no further comments.
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Re: Water along Yosemite Creek Trail in September?

Postby sh3phard » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:32 pm

Thanks Phil!

From what I understand reading your notes, we actually don't sleep at Sunrise Lakes and go directly at the edge of CR?
Because our original purple line (day 6) was stopping at Sunrise Lakes: you're suggesting, instead of camping there, to keep going and camp close to the summit? Then on day 7 go down to Sunrise Creek and sleep there, then head to the valley on our 8th day?

Thank you.
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