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TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

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TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby pakoR » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:07 pm

Hello all. I went up to Rae Lakes from Onion Valley over the 4th of July weekend. It was my first time out there, and I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone looking for wonderful landscapes. We saw maybe 5 other people around the the Lakes that weekend, and traffic along the trail was sporadic.

The original plan was to take 4 days / 3 nights with camping at Charlotte Lake, Rae Lakes, and Kearsarge Lakes. But once over Kearsarge Pass, we just continued on over Glen Pass to the lakes.

Day 1 (Friday): 10 miles, from the Kearsarge Pass TH to Rae Lakes
Day 2 (Saturday): 5 miles, day hike to Sixty Lakes Basin area
Day 3 (Sunday): 10 miles, out to Kearsarge Pass TH

On Friday and Saturday, it was blue skies, sunny, temps in the mid 70s and dry. Night temps probably dipped into the mid-40s. The air pressure began to drop around 3am on Sunday morning, and by 6am, the skies were a dark grey. At 8am, it began to drizzle as a weather system was moving in from the north. We left Rae Lakes as it began to rain, and by the time we reached Glen Pass, the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing up. The clear air and cloud cover created amazing lighting for photographs.

Below are some photos I took. The entire set is here:

Sunrise from Grays Meadow Campground
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Hiking up to Kearsarge Pass
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Rae Lakes, Black Mountain, Painted Lady
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Milky Way over Painted Lady
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Mount Clarence King
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Rae Lakes
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Party on Glen Pass
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no-name lakes north of and below Glen Pass
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no-name lake south of Glen Pass
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Heart Lake
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Almost back at the TH
Image

fco



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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:58 pm

Thanks Pako for the TR and pretty pictures. Were there a lot of JMTers and Rae
Lake Loopers at Rae Lakes?
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby ofuros » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:33 pm

Lovely landscape pics, thanks for sharing.
Out 'n about....looking for trout.
https://ofuros.exposure.co/
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby The hermit » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:10 pm

I think rae lakes are a bit more than 10 miles from onion valley. So kudos to you for making it on day one. Plus beautiful pictures!
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Postby mello » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:18 pm

Thanks for the report. I love the color in your photos. Did you feel rushed with only 3 days?
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby Hobbes » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:35 am

The hermit wrote:I think rae lakes are a bit more than 10 miles from onion valley. So kudos to you for making it on day one. Plus beautiful pictures!


Yes it is. According to precise GPS readings taken on the PCT & spur trails (eg Onion), it's exactly 22% further than 10 miles: 12.2 miles. So kudos to the OP.

For those interested in accessing precise PCT/JMT & spur trail measurements, including the main Whitney trail, Onion, Bishop, Mammoth, Yosemite valley and others, here's a link to Halfmile's mapping applications:

http://www.pctmap.net/google/

BTW, he's hiking the PCT again this year; here's his blog:

http://lon.net/2014/08/03/day-122/
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TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby Bluewater » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:38 am

Great clarity in your photos. It looks like you had perfect weather the whole time. BTW, thanks Hobbes for the reminder about Halfmile's site.
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby Mradford » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:55 am

Nice! Loving the photos. Great post.
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby seanr » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:31 pm

Interesting, on a Tuesday hike, early to mid afternoon, in mid to late July, I encountered several dozen (if not more than one hundred) folks just in the couple-few miles from Rae Lakes (*I was* coming from Dragon Lake side trail somewhat near the Ranger station) to the stark tarn area just south of Glen Pass. I also saw a few people in the Kearsarge Pass area that day, but nobody anywhere else on an O.V.-Golden Trout Lake-Gould-Dragon Lake-Glen Pass-K. Pass loop. Maybe early July preceded the JMT/PCT/Rae Lakes Loop rush hour in that area I experienced. I also often wonder how crowded 4th of July really is in the backcountry. I always suspect it will be busy, but always give hiking a go anyway and actually end up seeing few people. Maybe some folks can't stand to miss fireworks and other social festivities. Others probably plan permits later than is most likely to encounter significant lingering snow.

Anyway, yeah, the Onion Valley packer told me Rae Lakes was about twelve miles via K. Pass and Glen Pass after I got back from my hike, so y'all were moving along pretty fast. Nice images; I need to get some up myself before I head out again.

*Edit for clarity*
Last edited by seanr on Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby richlong8 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:50 pm

You took some nice shots some beautiful wilderness! Rae Lakes in one day over Kearsage and Glen Passes - you have stamina, or maybe you are a climber. Are you saying that a large group of people were coming from Dragon Lake?
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby seanr » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:21 pm

richlong8 wrote:Are you saying that a large group of people were coming from Dragon Lake?


Oh, I'll edit that remark in my post to be more clear. I was coming from Dragon Lake and started to see lots of people as I joined the JMT at Rae Lakes (the junction is a tad south of the Ranger station). Crowds dissipated for me a bit south of Glen Pass, but I''ll add that I had seen a lot of people in Vidette Meadow along the JMT a couple of days prior. Aside from a few people near Golden Trout Lake on a Saturday, the other people I saw on three hikes from Onion Valley included lots at the lakes west of K. Pass, several near K. Pass itself, a few in Kearsarge Basin, and the crowds along the JMT. I saw nobody in Robinson Lake-University Pass/Peak-Center Basin area on a Sunday and nobody in the GTL-Gould-Dragon Lake area on the Tuesday mentioned above. The JMT crowds were a bit of a shock to my system, but I exchanged lots of friendly banter as I made way along the freeway. Yeah, I've built up some stamina and do some very technically easy scrambles (class 2-3/no ropes/equipment). My favorite times though were taking a break at Dragon Lake and at an unnamed lake in Center Basin, so I'll probably get back into some backpacking with my young kids pretty soon. *Edit: many of you know why I saw few people, but those considering the routes I mentioned should understand they are steep, rugged, unmaintained, washed out in places, x-country with route-finding decisions in places, and contain significant glacial moraine debris (huge boulders and talus). I will report with images sometime this month.

Anyway,
It sounds like the OP has some decent stamina as well and got to see Rae Lakes minus the village feeling.
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Re: TR: Onion Valley to Rae Lakes (7/4-6 2014)

Postby davidsheridan » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:15 pm

I love the picture of the Milky Way. I love watching it cross the sky on a clear night. That is something I have only been able to witness when backpacking in a remote area. I wish everyone could have that experience. It is sad to think that most people on earth will never witness that because they live in cities. Maybe that is one reason why our world is so f*d up?
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