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Update on Back Country Conditions?

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

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Update on Back Country Conditions?

Postby ethanacm » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:11 pm

It's been a few weeks since the official conditions report was updated. Has anyone been in the back country near Tuoulumne Meadows Recently?
Specifically, I am wondering about the 10 lakes area and Vogelsang area.
How are the bugs?
Is smoke from the Empire fire noticeable?
How much snow/wetness is left?
Anyone's experiences would be super helpful. Thanks!
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:07 pm

Re: Update on Back Country Conditions?

Postby Justin-T » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:19 pm

We just returned from a figure 8 trip TM to Vogelsang via Rafferty, then back to Vogelsang via Lewis side including Emeric, Babcock, Bernice Lakes along the way, coming back to TM via Lyell Canyon.

The only significant snow field left on the trail was on Vogelsang Pass, where it is still at least 4 feet deep. But not an issue with no special equipment needed. A few areas slightly squidgy mud but not anything like a factor.

Many stream crossings (5-10, some were crossed by jumping bank to bank by taller/younger party members!) were more than boot depth so we went over carefully barefoot with poles; the only one that had me a little worried was Florence Creek, where the only option was wading through some fairly rapid and deepish (high calf on short members of the party) water for one part. The levels are falling quickly though, so should not be a problem for the rest of the season unless it's after a heavy downpour.

When we had westerly wind there was a definite smokiness in the air and long distance views were not as sharp as normal, but this wasn't a major factor.

Mosquito levels I am discovering is HIGHLY subjective! Rangers warned us on the first day, just out from TM, in a way that suggested it was going to be much worse than it was. We are from Massachusetts and are used to having mosquitoes fly in every evening, so we weren't bothered by the numbers we saw. Used one spray of DEET on some days, had head nets but never used them. Probably were worst at Vogelsang HSC in the evening, but the odd area elsewhere that was meadow/marshy would also have them flying for you even at midday in several places. But again, they did not affect our enjoyment, it was certainly NOT clouds of mosquitoes with multiple landing on exposed skin at the same time. This should be improving every day, so as long as you have some DEET I would not worry at all for Vogelsang area. BUT, I know that some people recoil at the thought of even one bite, so others might react differently to the same level.

Flowers were SPECTACULAR, trails generally much less crowded than the last two years, most likely because the HSCs are all closed. But maybe others are also staying away because they are worried about the conditions. Nobody else at Emeric or Bernice, one lone backpacker at Babcock. Lyell Canyon busiest section we saw, but that's to be expected.

In general I'd say conditions look fantastic for the rest of the season!
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