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TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

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TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby MRrogers » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:48 am

This is my 2nd TR and this is one has probably been posted by others a few times but since this hike appears to be an oldie but a goody, here it goes.
We stopped for a McGee Creek day hike on our way from the Bay Area to Onion Valley. I really had a difficult time classifying this as a legitimate day hike due to the limited elevation gain and mileage, but my hiking buddies seemed to disagree. Anyway, we hiked about 7.5 miles RT and gained about 1800 ft. We turned around at the creek's second log crossing. This is a beautiful area with many imposing peaks in the distance and many wildflowers along the trail.
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We spent the night at the Onion Valley CG. This is a really nice CG with small but quaint campsites with fire pits. Loaded up on tri tip for dinner and enjoyed the night skies.
Day 1: Onion Valley CG to Charlotte Lake. 11 miles and 3000 ft elevation gain.
We passed several beautiful lakes and wild flowers along the trail to Kearsarge Pass.
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The last slog up the pass was tough, but partly cloudy skies helped keep the heat down. The view from the pass towards Kings Canyon was awesome.
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The peaks beyond the Kearsarge Pinnacles were inspiring.
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We kept pushing, which means, taking a lot of breaks for water and dunking shirts and hats in the streams to keep cool, towards Charlotte Lake.
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We spent the afternoon at the lake relaxing.
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Caught a few fish, had dinner, enjoyed Eveready’s nightly reading of John Muir short stories, gazed at the night skies and tried to sleep.
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Day 2: Charlotte Lake to Rae Lakes. 7 miles and 2000 ft elevation gain.
Got on the trail early to beat the heat, but we were lucky again to have partly cloudy skies the entire day. The anticipation builds on the way to Glen Pass because you don’t get a glimpse of the pass until the last mile. Charlotte Dome is seen along the way.
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Finally you turn a corner at a lower lake and enter what seems like an amphitheater and then finally the pass is within your sites.
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Slow and steady, with short breaks and before you know it you have made it to the top of Glen Pass.
The view to the North is awesome with the Sixty Lakes basin to the left and Rae Lakes straight ahead.
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After a short rest, we descended down Glen Pass, which is steep at times, but the anticipation of Rae Lakes keeps your feet moving.
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First view of the Painted Lady
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Log crossing between upper and middle lakes
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We finally made it the North end of the middle lake and set up camp. Again, our afternoon consisted of swimming, relaxing and soaking up the afternoon sun.
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We found rocks out in the middle of the lake that you can actually stand on.
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The evening consisted of fishing, dinner, our nightly reading and the night skies.
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Link to night sky time lapse on Youtube
https://youtu.be/Y8l36ospwaE

Day 3: Rae Lakes to Kearsarge Lakes. 12 miles and 2300 ft elevation gain.
The morning was calm and clear.
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We did a morning hike down to the outlet of Arrowhead Lake. This is a beautiful area.
Fin dome reflected in Lower Rae Lake
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Outlet of Arrowhead Lake
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The hike out of Rae Lakes to Glen Pass was also beautiful and we enjoyed many gorgeous sites.
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We made it over the pass again under partly cloudy skies and made good time coming down the other side to the overlook of Vidette Meadow. What a gorgeous site!
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It was a long day of hiking but we finally made it to Kearsarge Lakes. The view from the campsite under the pinnacles was first class.
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Took a quick dip in the icy lake and again relaxed the remainder of the afternoon.
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The sunset wasn’t bad either.
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We ended our day with dinner, a final night’s reading of John Muir short stories and of course, the Milky Way.
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Day 4: Hike out from Kearsarge lakes to Onion Valley CG. 6.5 miles and 1100 elevation gain.
We enjoyed the morning views of the lakes and pinnacles and then we made it over Kearsarge Pass quite easily in the morning.
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We hiked as fast as possible down to the car due to the dangling carrot of burgers and beers in Bishop.
The image below sums up the trip.
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This was the first backpacking trip for Parka and Eveready and something tells me it won’t be their last. Thanks guys(Grizzly, Eveready and Parka) for a great time and hope all HST viewers enjoyed the report. I’ll post again next summer! “Day Hike”
By the way, the mosquitos were a 0 out of 5. Not sure why, but enjoyed every minute of it. Never applied the DEET. Anyone out there know why not many mosquitos?



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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:51 am

Thank you for the enjoyable TR and great pictures, and don't worry we never tired of reading any TR's, everyone has their own individual writing and presentation style so it never gets old, plus who can get tired of seeing anything from the Sierra on a Sierra Forum. :)
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby tie » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:25 pm

Great trip report! Especially liked the Charlotte Dome closeup and the night photos. The dwindling supply of Blue Moon kept me in suspense. Glad you made it out of there okay.
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby Love the Sierra » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:42 am

Magnificent scenery! Too bad I will never see it...no dogs allowed and I won't leave them behind :(
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby Bkoenig » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:30 am

Thanks for the trip report, photos, and especially the mileage and elevation stats, which are nearly double the initial rough estimates done by a friend. Planning our first trip out of Onion Valley mid September, which will match yours except for our side trip to 60 Lakes Basin rather than Arrowhead Lake. Our last trip of the season (maybe), can't wait!
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby MRrogers » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:49 am

Bkoenig, the actual elevations and mileage came from one of our hiker's tracking devices. We were surprised how much difference there is between mileages on maps versus our tracking devices but it always seemed like the device was more accurate based on our fatigue and total hiking time. Our theory is that the map mileages may not accurately account for switchbacks.
We had intended to go to sixty lakes basin but we found that we were too tired, would rather spend time relaxing more at Rae lakes and found that the trail from Rae lakes to the basin would require more elevation gain. Hope you enjoy your trip.
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby SSSdave » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:44 am

Just posted this thread on GPS distance inaccuracies and how one might improve on raw readings.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=14969&p=111647#p111647
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby Pulpit » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:57 am

Great TR and photos, thanks for sharing. I'm impressed with the amount of beer you carried along!!
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby cefire » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:51 pm

Nice trip, thanks for posting :)
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby justm » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:11 pm

Those are stunning photos !!! Great trip, thanks for sharing, .. ha ha, heavy beers to pack in ?
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby bandguy5686 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:10 am

Cool trip...did a version of this last year and got snowed on!! Enjoyed the photos-Beer me!!
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Re: TR: Rae Lakes, 7/30 - 8/3/16

Postby Bkoenig » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:46 pm

Well, whatever the numbers are, we will also go by how we feel. Being later in the season things will look a bit different up close, but that grandeur is a constant. MRogers thanks again! SSSDAVE, thanks for the info on gps use. My husband's gps and my Earthmate and Alpine Quest apps never seem to agree. I now have a better understanding of why.
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