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Campsites in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne?

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Campsites in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne?

Postby Lightning Dog » Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:43 pm

Permit in hand, I am looking for campsite advice for the White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows trek which 5 of us will be doing at the end of June. We're old so we travel light but we're making room for the fishing gear this time. We leave LA very, very early on a Friday, drop one car at Tuolumne and head for White Wolf. Given the drive time, we plan to camp at Hardin Lake Friday night. Then on Saturday treck down to Pate Valley. We need to hit Tuolumne Tuesday afternoon for the drive home so that gives us two more nights to camp along the river and fish. Any suggestions?



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Postby cherron » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:51 pm

Hi, Lightning Dog

What a fun trip! You shouldn't have any problem making your time frame. It is about a 30 mile trip. The campsites are well defined along the route, all of which follow the river.

Keep in mind, sometimes the road to TM isn't plowed in June. One year, we couldn't make the hike safely because of high water flows early on in the season. Some parts of the trail can become covered with water when the season is early and some of the creek crossings can be hard to cross.

Bears are usually a concern around Glen Aulin. We we able to avoid camping in Glen Aulin by hiking maybe a mile past GA towards TM and camping away from the trail. We used bear canisters, also.

I have done the trip in 4-5 days on several occaisions, and as an overnight trip. I am no spring chicken, either. I like starting at White Wolf and working your way up ending in spectacular TM.

I think Yosemite operates a shuttle in the summer, but not sure if it is operating that early on in the season...probably depends on if the road is plowed or not.

Enjoy!!
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Postby Lightning Dog » Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:06 pm

Hi cherron,

Thanks for the post. We are starting our trip on June 22nd so the roads "should" be open. We decided to start our hike in White Wolf so that we would be hiking most of the trip uphill. We did Rae Lakes Loop clockwise last September and hated the last day of downhill from Bubbs Creek. The older you get, the more you hate the downhills. We'll get rid of the downhill day first this time.

We're going to avoid Glen Aulin bears by hiking all the way out from Waterwheel the last day. Still, we already have our #2$*& bear cans. The only good thing about a bear can is that it makes an ok stool to sit on.

From reading all the different trip logs I can find it seems that everybody camps at Pate and above Waterwheel and so will we. What I'm really looking for is the campsite for the night between the two. From the topo it looks like there is a nice area below Return Creek. But that would make the hiking really uneven (10 miles one day and 1-1/2 the next). What I'd really like is a spot about 1/2 way between Waterwheel and Pate, either above or below Muir Gorge with a couple of big holes with fish in them. That way we could hike roughly even milage each day, set up camp, fish, explore, fish some more. Any suggestions?
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Postby markskor » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:31 pm

Dog,
Cherron,
Couple of thoughts:
First, Harden Lake is (at best) a shallow bog...lots of downed trees...in June; this could be a real skeeter-fest...perhaps consider another place to overnight first night.
Second, although plenty scenic, there is really nothing great (fishing wise), except the occasional "impossible-to-reach-pool" between Pate and the three falls...swift downhill, steep cliffs, continuous whitewater... cascades mostly. However, I have spent many a productive layover day in the pools located just below Waterwheel, and there are ample opportunities that mile below the last falls, camp near footbridge… see:
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37. ... &layer=DRG
…to occupy many a fly-fishing day. That stretch below Le Conte, depending on water levels, can be magic too. Looks like it might turn out to be two days hiking in…and a few days just fishing…great trip.
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Postby Ozark Flip » Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:13 pm

You are the first one I know of that would rather hike uphill. :retard:

I would not be so positive about missing the bears just because you hike out from WW Falls. I work for Hetch Hetchy and hike Yosemite alot. IMHO, all the bears from HH to GA are the boldest of all the Yosemite bears and they are not afraid of you.

There is a great campsite that is in the middle of the river on top of a huge boulder. Nobody ever camps there because it doesn't look like you would even attempt to climb this thing. You cannot access this site during high snowmelt runoff. It is THE premium campsite along the entire GCOTTR trail. It is downstream of WW Falls...send an IM if interested.

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Postby Lightning Dog » Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:16 pm

Ozark Flip, the spot sounds cool if we can get to it. Downhill hurts my knees. That doesn't mean that I love to climb cliffs either.
Markskor, would you suggest making for Morrison Creek on the first night rather than Harden Lake? It's not that much farther. We only were stopping at Harden because of our long drive from LA and when I think we can reach the trailhead.
I appreciate all the great info provided from everybody and look forward to contributing when and where I can. I particularly am thankful regarding fishing advice. Only one of us is an experienced angler. The rest of us are novices taking a class through the San Fernando Valley Fly Fishing Club. But it seems like such a great way to add to a backpack trip. A the very least it is a good excuse to go on a backpacking trip.
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Postby Mike McGuire » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:05 pm

Ozark Flip wrote:... There is a great campsite that is in the middle of the river on top of a huge boulder. Nobody ever camps there because it doesn't look like you would even attempt to climb this thing....
Flip


Uh isn't there a "100 feet from water" campsite requirement?

Mike
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Postby AldeFarte » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:12 pm

Well, Flip. I am another that would rather walk uphill all day on a steady grind ,or any other uphill than a downhill such as Kennedy pass to Cedar Grove ,or a couple hours from Granite Basin to the river like we did last summer. It is a killer on my knees these days. I can still do it ,but I don't dig that stuff. jls
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Postby el cuervo » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:12 am

          Flip wrote

I work for Hetch Hetchy and hike Yosemite alot. IMHO, all the bears from HH to GA are the boldest of all the Yosemite bears and they are not afraid of you.

There is a great campsite that is in the middle of the river on top of a huge boulder. Nobody ever camps there because it doesn't look like you would even attempt to climb this thing...



What Mike said above, camp at least 100' away from any water source.
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Postby Lightning Dog » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:17 am

Thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious everyone, "100 feet from water" it is. The spot still sounds like a great view and neat place to explore. I look forward to climbing the boulder and taking pictures.
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Postby Ozark Flip » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:32 am

I was kidding about the uphill hiking. My wife cannot hike with me because of her knees and it is the downhill that kills her.....uphill she does okay. It was the way it was worded that sounded funny to me. :D

Reqarding the 100' requirement, yes there are camping, campfire, and general trail rules that every ethical hiker should know. However, if you have ever hiked this trail, you know there are many campsites either RIGHT on the water or at the edge of streamside cliffs/banks. I always see people camping right next to the fall at LeConte & Cathedral and witness people camping in these spots every time I hike the trail (during normal/low flows). WAY more people camp within a mile of GA than actually at GA. The rangers must not be concerned because these campers simply cannot be sneeky about this, it is too obivious. It is the LYV area where you are really harrassed by rangers. Just my observance. :)

Personally, I find camping in some of these sites way too noisy because of the river/falls. You cannot hear anything but water.
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Postby Ozark Flip » Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:36 am

Lighting Dog,

I responded to your IM. Hope you enjoy if you can reach it (will depend on the river level). It only looks narly, it doesn't take much effort to reach. If you are uncomfortable camping there, it is still an excellent place for a lunch break.

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