Day 1 - We went to McCabe Lakes via Young Lakes. Not too hard of a day. Roosevelt Lake was beautiful and going up to Don't Be A Smart Pass gave us a very beautiful view of the lake as we leave it. Don't Be A Smart Pass is a pretty easy pass to hike up, unless you're not too acclimated, which I concluded I was not as I used to be.
Day 2 - We left Upper McCabe Lake and followed the drainage down until we met up with the trail and then split off again when we got to Spiller Creek. For some reason, it felt very sloggish to me although the terrain wasn't too bad and it was only a gradual uphill. Once we got to the base of Matterhorn Pass, the real fun started! It was a fun approach to the pass. In my opinion, the pass from the east is mostly Class 2 with a few Class 3 moves near the top. It's a worthy pass to attempt if you're comfortable. My friend was definitely not comfortable as you may tell in the video below, but she did great. After Matterhorn Pass, we got back on the trail as we went back up to Burro Pass. It seems to me that the actual trail is a little more west than what it shows on the map. Slightly deceiving if you're looking for it while the map shows you've passed it. We stayed at the lake just northwest of Burro Pass for the night (WL10302).
Day 3 - We followed the trail that took us out of Yosemite and into Hoover Wilderness at Mule Pass. But that didn't last long because after a few miles because we were back in Yosemite as we came back in via Rock Island Pass. There were a lot rocks south of Mule Pass that looked like it would be fun to climb and/or boulder. I wonder if these are actual established climbing areas. I would love to go back to that area and boulder around. We got to Rock Island Lake by 2 pm since it was a short day. Probably my most favorite lake in all of Sierra Nevada!!! It's nestled in a beautiful open valley.
Day 4 - This was a long day. We were originally planning on hiking to Rodgers Lake and camp there - 10-11 miles from Rock Island Lake - but we decided to hike deeper so that we can shorten our last day so we can get home early. This meant we ended up hiking about 18.5 miles to a lake sitting above the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (GCTR) at WL6687. Anyway, before that, I was starting to run low on water because all the creeks that were on the map were actually super dry! It was the thirstiest I've ever been on a trip in the Sierra Nevada. Also, this was the day when we started to notice that there was heavy smoke in the sky. Some ash was falling and everything was slowly layering in the ash. Every time we touched something, our hands turned black.
Day 5 - We cranked out 17 miles on this day to get to Glen Aulin. GCTR was beautiful, but the water was low, so waterfalls weren't as lush, but I was happy to see water all around after being thirsty the day before. Unfortunately because of the low water, I didn't get the name of Waterwheel Falls until AFTER we got home and I looked up what it was supposed to look like. I'll have to come back another year when there is more running water.
Day 6 - Well, this day was a short day of about 6 and a half miles. Nothing much to it but hiking back to the car and getting home. Motivation is high whenever it's the last day!
Going up Don't Be A Smart Pass with Roosevelt Lake behind.
Upper McCabe Lake.
Hiking down the drainage from Upper McCabe Lake.
Hiking up Matterhorn Pass.
Final approach to Matterhorn Pass.
Looking towards Rock Island Lake.
Appraoching Rock Island Lake.
Canyon after leaving Rock Island Lake.
Camping near the lake sitting above the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (GCTR) at WL6687