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Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

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Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby smokeycanoe » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:08 pm

Anyone familiar with Rafferty Creek south out of Tuolumne and can recommend heading along Fletcher vs Lewis Creek? From the topo, seems like Lewis is a pretty narrow canyon and would therefore have less in the way of nice views?

Finally, anyone been up there this year? How bad is the snow?
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby smokeycanoe » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:42 pm

...and the mosquitoes?
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby markskor » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:40 pm

Mosquitoes are gonna be about the same both trails.

Have done both and prefer Lewis if only for that section coming over Vogelsang pass...dynamic area. This Lewis trail may be ~500 feet higher but the HSC area is worth a layover day by itself... gives access to Fletcher, Townsley, Evelyn, Hanging Basket, the HSC, and eventually over the pass to Bernice Lake. Do you fish? Lots of fun catching 10-inch cookie cutter Brookies at Bernice.

Fletcher is mostly a more open trail...nice but. BTW, there is no camping at Boothe... if intending to visit Emeric, best to stay on trail, (not follow the junction on the Emeric Creek trail that last 1/2 mile) and access Emeric from the south end/end of the valley/ around the big rock. The creek trail that goes along/into the lake proper is a 1/4 mile talus mine field.
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby smokeycanoe » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:02 pm

Huh, didn't realize there was no camping at Boothe. Where would I have found that? (I thought 200ft from water & trail were only requirements?)

A bit concerned about going all the way up to the HSC given our trip is start of July and snow is likely to be a problem already...
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:26 pm

oops, yes, Lewis Creek trail is considerably narrower and more of slot... Lewis Creek is also a stiffer climb up the pass, and it does have a lot of great views off to the Crest to the east. Either is nice in it's own right.

Camping along the Fletcher trail has more likely camping along the trail, at Boothe Lake, Emeric Lake, and Babcock Lake. Early season, though, Fletcher Creek can be problematic, if not impossible to ford.

Lewis Creek has limited trailside site below the falls, and Bernice Lake is a fantastic side trip with camping.

Both trails hook up before the really big descent down to the river, and there are also quite a few sites in that area and below if you want to wander off the trail and seek them out. That's usually the second day/night for most people. I have no preference, one over the other. We usually just kind of decide what we feel like when we're standing at Tuolumne Pass below Vogelsang.

If you're asking about snow, I guess you're planning an earlier trip than a later one. How much snow? Ha...many, many feet for quite some time...better snowshoeing conditions than hiking for a bit yet. After that, and when the lakes are fully thawed, yep, massive amounts of mosquitoes. For the perfect trip up that way, without all the stuff, and still plenty of easy water sources (just more people), later in July or early August is when you should really think about it.

And besides, Tioga Rd is still going to take some time to open.
Last edited by Phil on Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:28 pm

Boothe used to be no camping, but they carved it out of the 1-mile no-camping radius for the HSC, unless they changed it for this year. Check out the appendix of Superintendent's compendium.

Early July, you'll be postholing it.
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:47 pm

There is a map of the no camping zone around the HSC in the Superintendent's Compendium, a most useful publication in PDF form on the Yosemite NPS website.

Late July is going to be this year's late June....
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Re: Rafferty Creek to Merced Lake: Fletcher v Lewis

Postby bbmq » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:25 pm

Boothe Lake is open to camping this year since the High Sierra Camps won't be opening.
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