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[Yosemite]

Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang?

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

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Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang?

Postby jaeyosemite » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:53 am

I'm considering a three day trip in late August from Elizabeth Lake to Nelson Lake on the first day, cross country to Vogelsang Lake on the second, and back out via Rafferty Creek on the third.

I looked at the topo map and it appears that you can climb from Nelson Lake over a ridge and descend to Emeric Lake without exceeding a 25% grade at any given point (steep, but doable). I'm curious if anyone out there has attempted this or has suggestions (or even a set of gps waypoints). I'm traveling with a mixed skill level group, so while we'd have time to plot a careful course, I'd prefer not to lead them over any cliffs. :-)

Thanks for your time!
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Postby bill-e-g » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:58 am

It's doable. Done it with the wife last year.
But... I wouldn't take anyone that doesn't have some experience with
xcountry travel. At one point we had to throw our packs into
a crack and crawl down thru it. The last section up to Emerick
is very steep but is dirt so easily climbed.
The granite west of Emerick is disjointed and there are alot of cracks
which can get you flustered IMO.
Last edited by bill-e-g on Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jaeyosemite » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:39 pm

Thanks for the information. That map is really helpful.

How was the hiking down Echo Creek? Do you think there's another way over that granite ridge if we continue further down the creek? We'll have a full day to get from Nelson Lake to another decent campsite on the other side of the ridge, and then a good half day to hike out.
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Postby bill-e-g » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:58 am

I just want to reiterate that I'd be very leary of taking a newbie.
If so I'd just be prepared to turn back around and head back to Nelson.
(heck, you might just want to do it as a dayhike and really do some exploring)
(actually... that would be my recommendation from the "mixed" level comment)

Anyway... the hike down Echo Creek is gorgeous. If you remove the
number from the link above... the first picture is the meadow and
Echo Creek.

As far as going further down Echo Creek. Well... I did look at that
when I came up with this idea last year... and it's really hard to
tell... there is mostly a tree line down to the confluence... but
you could get hung up right near the merging of the creek and
intermittent stream. And by then you have dropped down 400ft.
in 1/2 mile... at which point you will probably want to come
back up the way we went (i.e. follow the intermittent stream up)
(actually a little east of the stream)
Then again... you may want to just head SE from the confluence...

I put a picture here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Bernice

We did from Eliz TH to Emerick on the first day.... so I would think
you'll have plenty of time... give the dayhike idea some thought...
takes the stress off of you and makes the trip easier...
(you could dayhike down the creek and also dayhike to Reymann)
:)

Regardless... please let us know your experience.
Last edited by bill-e-g on Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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GPX file or topo map with overlay

Postby jaeyosemite » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:25 pm

I talked it over with my friends, and we've decided we're going to go for it. We're adjusting our itinerary to camp along Echo Creek on Saturday night so we have less ground to cover on Sunday to get to Emeric and points beyond. We're more than willing to turn around if the need arises, and have the dayhike option in our pocket in case the hike from Tuolumne to Nelson is longer than we anticipated and we're tired on Sunday morning.

I was wondering if you could send or post the .gpx files for your track, and perhaps send a hi-res image of the track superimposed over the topo map? Thank you!
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Postby bill-e-g » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:36 pm

Email or PM your email address or unhide your email.
I have a .gdb only.

I can put up another Map if you like from Topo! that is more detailed
than the 2 above if you really want it.
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Postby bill-e-g » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:42 am

Well? Did you go? How'd it go? What did u do?
Hopefully it went smoothly.
I think the weekend you were going we got rained on for 10+ hours.
????
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Results of trip. Fun, but not too exciting.

Postby jaeyosemite » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:59 pm

So it turned out that the trip was fraught with unexpected delays and plan changes, to the extent that our final itinerary looked nothing like our planned one.

First, our friends bailed on us, taking the trip from four people to two, but making the chances of a successful overland trek higher, since there would be less people to deal with. Then, however, I was reminded that I had to present at an academic conference at Stanford University that Saturday, which I'd completely forgotten. That shifted our trip from a three day trip to a two day trip.

When we arrived at Big Oak Flat the wilderness permit center said there were permits available for an overnight at Vogelsang, so we shifted our permit, since going from Tuolumne to Nelson to Emeric and back to Tuolumne in two days seemed difficult. In the end we had a lovely hike into Boothe Lake on Sunday, a very nice detour to Vogelsang Lake on Monday morning, and a leisurely hike out on Sunday afternoon. The weather was perfect and the squeeters nonexistent.

The final hiccup was that the forest fire that had closed 120 into the Valley on Sunday shifted directions on Monday and they closed the road from Tuolumne to San Francisco. We had to drive all the way down to Mono Lake, up 395 to 108, over the Sonoma Pass, and then back down through Sonora. It took 7 hours to get home and we arrived at 2:30 in the morning.

Other than that, it was a great trip, though the actual hiking was nothing out of the ordinary. I'll definitely be back to try the Nelson to Emeric trek, thought, especially now that I've seen some of the terrain in person.

Thanks again for your help!
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Postby bill-e-g » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:32 am

Thanks for the update.

Hope you can make your original plan someday.
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby balzaccom » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:13 pm

Hey Bill!

So looking at the map, I think we may try to go from Nelson Lake over to Reymann Lake and then down into Raffery from there. Ever been that way? THinking we might camp at Nelson, Bernice, then around to Emeric, and then back out again.

Thoughts? SUggestions?
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby bill-e-g » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:04 pm

I haven't been from Nelson to Reymann... but I've been to both Lakes...
(when I went Reymann I first traversed Johnson Peak... dropped into Reymann... then
hiked back out to Tuolummne Pass... and over to Bernice... and then later
went up Mt. Lyell..)
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Lyell

Regardless, from Nelson to Reymann is pretty trivial. From Reymann you can stay
fairly high and hook up with the trail at Tuolumne Pass. It's simple xcountry.
Actually, the entire trip up past Elizabeth -> Nelson -> Reymann -> Tuol Pass is
simple xcountry. Give it a go. I'm certain you will enjoy it...

At Bernice, if you have the time, go NE and go explore Gallison and up towards the crest.
The southern-most "gully" from Bernice East is more rocky...

Have fun
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby balzaccom » Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:43 pm

That was exactly my thought, Bill. Thanks. And yes, we do hope to explore above Bernice!
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby mqk » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:14 pm

Thanks for the posts, everyone! My fiancée and I did the cross country
hike from Nelson to Emeric and out via Rafferty Creek this (Labor
Day!) weekend, and I thought I'd share our experiences here.

First, I highly recommend this hike, especially for a busy holiday
weekend. We didn't encounter a single soul on the cross county portion
from Nelson to Emeric, and only one other couple camped at Emeric Lake
with us. And this on the Sunday before Labor Day!

Second, I agree with bill-e-g that I wouldn't take a newbie from
Nelson to Emeric. From Elizabeth to Nelson is easy, but getting down
into the valley one over from Echo Creek was a bit tricky and required
taking off our packs and lowering them at one point, just as bill-e-g
warned. And he's also spot-on about the last steep section right
before the ridge in front of Emeric. We unsuccessfully tried two
different ways up, and finally found the manageable steep dirt route
on the third try. Both of us have a number of scratches and bruises
(nothing serious) from the scrambling.

We more or less followed bill-e-g's route (linked above), although we
spent the first night at Nelson Lake. It took us most of the next day
to get from Nelson to Emeric. Instead of pushing on to Vogelsang Lake,
as we had initially planned, we decided to camp at Emeric, take it
easy, and enjoy the lake and the afternoon sun. The next day we hiked
up to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and out via Rafferty Creek.

Happy trails!

Mike
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby balzaccom » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:25 pm

In case you didn't see it, here is our report from a similar trip to your initial plan...

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1889
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Re: Can you hike cross country from Nelson Lake to Vogelsang

Postby traildancer » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:32 am

Hello Everyone - thanks for the great posts re: Nelson to Emeric to Vogelsang. A group of us are scheduled to do the trip starting July 24. Has anyone done the route this year - 2012? Any changes to the trail descriptions, landmarks for tricky crossings, etc?

Bill - would I be able to get the GPS way points from you? It would be much appreciated.

Thank you~ Irma
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