Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21 | High Sierra Topix  

Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

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Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby venturefar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:41 am

Day one: Kennedy Meadows > Emigrant Meadow Lake

Upon coming over brown bear pass there is no snow on the trail at the top and most of the snow is gone from the basin below. Surprisingly the mosquitoes were not too bad for this time of year.

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Day Two: Emigrant Meadow Lake > Kerrick Canyon

After leaving EML I headed toward Bond pass and the PCT. Grizzly Meadow was beautiful but it was also home to typical June in the Emigrant hordes of mosquitoes.

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In summit meadow I saw my first PCT hiker of the trip. I caught her on the way up Bond Pass. When I got close she seemed to be in the zone. I said "how's it going" as to announce my presence and not startle her. She turned around and very excitedly said "a person!" Do you know where we are?" I said yes. She told me her trail name was Radish and began to tell the story of her last couple days. She had gotten separated from the group of hikers she was hiking with and fallen behind them. She didn't have a map. Radish told me that in order to catch up to them she decided to hike until midnight the night before. She was telling me this on our way down Bond Pass. When we reached the bottom we discovered the cause of her confusion. (besides hiking in the dark without a map) At the bottom we hit an unsigned trail junction. In my mind it had to be the junction of the trail down from bond pass and the PCT. It was the only thing it could be. Radish wasn't so sure. She was adamant that she had passed a signed Bond Pass trail/PCT junction the night before. I hypothesized that perhaps that because Kennedy Meadows is a PCT resupply point possibly there are two junctions from the Bond Pass trail that hikers use as sort of a shortcut depending on which way they were headed. After reassuring her that we were on the PCT we parted ways. Not a hundred yards south on the PCT I passed the signed trail junction to Bond Pass.

I fished Falls Creek at various points along the way. The fish were small but beautifully colored rainbows. I crossed passed with a dozen or so northbound PCTers some wearing head nets and all telling me it was super buggy pretty much all the way to Tuolumne.

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I reached Tilden Lake my intended destination for the day before noon. It was beautiful but buggy as advertised and It was still early in the day. After eating lunch and wetting a line unsuccessfully for a half hour I hit the trail.

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I camped in Kerrick Canyon which was still buggy but better than what i had experienced most of the day.

Day Three: Kerrick Canyon > Matterhorn Canyon

This section of the PCT has a lot of up and down. I took a break at the inlet to Benson Lake. I could see come nice fish from the trail crossing. I managed to land a half dozen in about 45 minutes including this speckled beauty that reminded me of fish we caught in a lake off the JMT last summer

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After lunch I headed over Benson Pass. One PCTer told me that he thought it was the hardest thing for 900 miles. Its a slog but not awful.

Benson Lake
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Smedberg Lake

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Almost to the top

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Top of Benson Pass

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Looking down on Matterhorn Canyon

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I camped in Matterhorn Canyon with 6 PCT hikers. It was a great night around camp. We passed around a bottle and I heard some hilarious tales from the trail. One of the guys apparently would eat anything. Even the other PCTers were grossed out by this guys dinner. Peanut butter and peanuts topped with tuna and wrapped in a tortilla. Mmmmm. The deer n Matterhorn canyon were not bothered at all by our presence. They would look right at us walk closer and then eat right in front of us. Yosemite deer definitely know no one is hunting, but these deer were way too comfortable. Like valley deer.

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Day Four: Matterhorn Canyon > Tuolumne Meadows

I was treated to a beautiful sunrise in Matterhorn Canyon.

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The miles went pretty quick. After a small climb out of Materhorn Canyon the trail is pretty cruisey going through some gorgeous meadows down to Glen Aulin.

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I had never been anywhere on this stretch but Glen Aulin was one place I really wanted to see as it was one of my Dad's favorite places in Yosemite. He always told me how he loved the Tuolumne River through here.

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After a brief snack I headed the rest of the way to Tuolumne Meadows.

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In Tuolumne I enjoyed one of my favorite beverages then caught the hiker bus back to the valley and took YARTS back home to Merced. 5 blocks from home. I definitely enjoy section hiking the sierra sections of the PCT. I'm adding a Sonora Pass to Geln Alpine trek to the bucket list.



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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby DriveFly44 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:11 am

Awesome TR Derek. I was anxiously awaiting your report. Really cool photos and stories about your memories of your Dad and the PCT folks. You are on a roll this summer.......now get back out there!!!


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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:12 am

Nice TR!

Nice shot of Wildcat on your way towards the Glen.

Lots of great memories there.

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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:16 am

Thanks Derek for the great TR and pictures! Surprised that Tilden was not a mosquito
hellhole, as the Smedberg Lake area. Were their a lot of people at Smedberg?
Any wildflowers on the trip, like in the Emigrant section? What about the Seavey
Pass to Smedberg section which can have beautiful wildflower displays some years?
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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby venturefar » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:11 pm

maverick wrote:Thanks Derek for the great TR and pictures! Surprised that Tilden was not a mosquito
hellhole, as the Smedberg Lake area. Were their a lot of people at Smedberg?
Any wildflowers on the trip, like in the Emigrant section? What about the Seavey
Pass to Smedberg section which can have beautiful wildflower displays some years?


Tilden was buggy but slightly less so than other places. The worst spot I encountered was the Stubblefield/Thompson Canyon area.

I only saw one guy at Smedburg. A PCTer passing through.

As far as wildflowers go there were Paintbrush and Shooting Stars blooming. I don't recall where but the coolest flower I saw was what appeared to be a deep purple variety of Pentstemon rather than the more common magenta ones.
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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby texan » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:15 pm

Thanks for the TR and pics. I have never seen Brown Bear Pass with that little snow this time of year. I hope we get some good snow this year.

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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby justm » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:55 pm

Thanks Derek for that TR. That's a trip I've been wanting to do for some time. I was surprised you got some solitude on the PCT ! I love those speckled trout !
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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby k9mark » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:47 am

SWEET!
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Re: Northern Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows 6/18-6/21

Postby b_k » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:06 pm

Thanks so much for posting this. I'm section hiking that part of the PCT next week & I've been wondering how awful the mosquitos would be. I definitely won't skimp on the DEET now.
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