Rae Lakes Loop July 23-29
Day 1--picked up permit @ 7:30 on trail @ 7:50. 2 miles easy then fairly easy to mist falls. It got tougher after that with lots of big steps. Hit middle Paradise about noon, ate lunch and headed out to upper. I managed to get my pack off-balance and hurt my back a bit. We made camp a little after three, beat. We took a dip ate, and played some cards. Then we crashed. There was a light rain most of the night, but around 3:30AM, when nature called, I saw more stars than you can imagine.
Day 2--Woke up early but didn't get myself together very well. I think I was worried about my back. As it turned out I had nothing to worry about as it gave me no problems. What an awesome day it was. This canyon is every bit as magnificent as Yosemite but without all the people. Climbed about 4 miles to a beautiful meadow between two great walls of granite (Castle Domes Meadow), then another two or so to tonightâ€™s camp. It was a beautiful day near cloudless until we reached camp, then some clouds came through but just enough to make a pretty sky at sunset. Killed the zipper to the tent...hope it doesn't rain tonight.
Photos for days 1 & 2
Day 3--No rain last night and not too cold. Good thing because the fly zipper was the one that messed up last night. I got it working this morning a bit. We hit the trail at 7:40 with a bit more than 2000ft. to gain. Day broke with perfect blue sky. We climbed most of the elevation in the first 3.7 miles through some of the most spectacular scenery (I took more than 100 pictures). The word for todayâ€™s hike would have to be flowers. We got to camp about 1:30 set up the tents in a light rain, ate lunch, thought about getting water but then the sky opened up (I heard the thunder at the same time a saw the lightening) and we all bail for the tents. We were there for three hours, but Cindy and John came over as it let up a little and we played cards for the last hour in my tent. Finally stopped about 4:30 and we went out at 20 till. By sunset we had mostly clear skies and an awesome sunset. Looking forward to more cobalt skies tomorrow.
Photos for Day 3
Day 4-Rae Lakes to Junction Meadows was our original plan, but there have been reports of a very active bear there so we will be going on to Charlotte creek. That will add 2 miles to today, but cut the last day that much shorter. Left camp at 8:00 to start the climb to Glen Pass and reached it at 10:30 1440' in 2 miles ending at 11,978. That was the hardest climb of my life but the views were worth it. This will be the last of the up for this trip. Now we will spend the next 8 miles descending. The first section to Bullfrog is pretty steep but then it becomes a more gentle decent. Had lunch at Vidette meadows. It would have been easy to stop there, but after some food, rest, and cooling our feet down in the stream we were ready to move on. Followed Bubbs 2.9 miles to Junction Meadows where we said goodbye to some of the people we had been on the trial wit all week. Then we took off for our last nightâ€™s camp at Charlotte creak. Finally hit camp just before 6 and promptly went for a swim. This was the only place we had any issues with skeeters but it was only for an hour or so and deet took care of them.
Day 5-Woke up this morning with the sad realization that it would my last in the back-country possibly until spring, as my classes start on Monday. Hit the trail about 8:00 and had an easy and relatively uneventful hike out to Roads End. The only excitement this day was the Rattle Snake I nearly stepped on. We ate lunch at Cedar Grove and headed on home.
Photos from days 4 and 5
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The rattle snake you saw must have been the same one I saw, on the exposed switchbacks below Sphinx Junction? I saw two, one small one in that section and higher up in some brush about 4' from me with 8-10 buttons. I guess I better not tell you how much time it took me to go over Glen Pass, I didn't think it was that bad. Coming out of Sixty Lakes Basin was harder I thought. Bugs weren't bad were they? I never put any DEET on.
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