I really appreciate all of the advice I’ve received through HST over the past few years and I’m making a concerted effort to post a TR or two. We recently spent a couple of long weekends in the Sierra to prepare for a longer trip at the end of July.
Day One: Tuolumne Wilderness Permit station to Babcock Lake via Rafferty Creek and Emeric Creek Trails 11 miles
Day Two: Babcock Lake to Sunrise backpacker camp up the Echo Creek Trail 13 miles
Day Three: Sunrise backpacker camp to Tenaya Lake/Sunrise Trailhead 5 miles
Day One: Left San Francisco at 6am and made it to the Wilderness Permit station in Yosemite around 11am. Picked up our trail permit (they were having some technical difficulties) and started on the trail about noon. The Rafferty Creek trail isn’t the most scenic, but it was the last that had a permit available (when I applied in January!) and once you reach the long meadow at the top of the pass it was really quite lovely. I did hear from people that we passed on the trail that it snowed at Vogelsang on Thursday.
The clouds were getting a little more threatening but we decided to pass Vogelsang. The Emeric Creek trail was really enjoyable. Flowers and mushrooms both in force. Boothe Lake was nice and seemed like a great place to camp.
We passed a solo hiker that recommended Babcock Lake. Kept hiking and the rain started coming down as we reached Emeric Lake (approximately 5pm). We suited up in our rain gear and kept on moving the last 2.3 miles. Loved the neverending cataracts.
We reached the trail for Babcock just as the rain let up. Babcock was beautiful in the fog. We set up camp and had dinner as the sun was going down. We were the only ones at the lake. Not a single mosquito (thank you rain).
Day Two: Woke up to sun Saturday morning.
Had a lazy morning around camp as we dried our rain gear and boots from the day before. Headed down the trail. More great cataracts. We reached Merced Lake for lunch but didn’t stop long as the clouds were heading in. We started the long trek up to Sunrise with rain on our heels.
Ran into one large ranger led group but didn’t see anyone else the rest of the day. The trail leads through a burn area that is interesting but exposed. I enjoyed the trail and the views were magnificent but you have to WORK to get them! Rain started around 5pm accompanied by thunder/lightning. We suited up and hunkered down until the thunder/lightning moved on and then trudged the rest of the way to the JMT junction in decent rain. Managed to get set up at Sunrise just before the last downpour of the night. Great timing!
Day Three: Another sunny morning to dry out the rain gear and the fly before heading out of camp. We hit the trail to Sunrise Lakes at 8am. Beautiful lakes. Saw one tent at the first of the three.
We were alone on the trail until we reached the Forsyth Trail junction. We slowly hiked our way down to Tenaya Lake as many, many dayhikers headed up to Clouds Rest. Made it to the Sunrise Trailhead a couple hours later just in time for the shuttle back to the Wilderness Permit Station.
Overall a good warm up weekend for trips to come!
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Nice TR and photos. Thanks for taking the time to post. We did basically the same route in reverse a few years ago and really enjoyed it.
The Other Tom
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Great report with great photos. Thank you for paying it forward. Wish more would do the same. We do appreciate it.
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