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TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

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TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:40 pm

I hit the trail at 2:00 Friday May 22. Knowing it would be a hot grind up to the top of Chilualna Falls I took a little time enjoying the lower falls.
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Then it was off and up!
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It was hot but the views made the effort worthwhile.
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I stopped in the shade for a few monents and this guy came right up to me. He must be used to getting handouts.
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About half-way up you get your first and basically only view of the big portion of Chilualna falls.
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And from there it is just a long series of swithchbacks to the top, where I finally made camp at 6:00. Not a bad day 6.1 miles and 2300 ft gained in 4 hours. It was 90 at Wawona and mid 60s at camp which was just below the stream crossing.
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The plan for the next day was to cross the stream and head for Crescent Lake, but to be honest there was a little more water in the creek than I was comfortable crossing by myself. So I decided to head towards Deer Camp and possibly head to Chilualna Lakes for the night.

Saw the first snow of the trip at about 7200ft. just above the second stream crossing.
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Then got a great 360 degree view from the top of a small dome. You can see a video here.

Between there and the junction to Chilualna Lakes the snow became a lot more consistent. This shot is looking back at my own footprints. Other than mine there was one other set of prints that where only occasionally visable.
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Took lunch at the stream just before the junction. The meadow there was just begining to come back to life.
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I decided that because of the snow, the fact that I was actually not where I said I would be, and knowing that I had to be back at the trailhead by about 2:00 the next afternoon, I headed on back to the previous nights campsite. along the way came across this snowflower.
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I was going to try to find another, better campsite. but ended up right back where I had been the night before. It really wasn't that bad as even on Memorial Day weekend I had no company where I was.
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I spent the rest of the day taking pictures and viedos and just hanging out. Apparently, I was not the only one enjoying my campsite as I discovered this guy liked it too. He was in my tent when I went to put my pad down in it.
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The next moring I was able to take my time heading back to the trailhead. Taking plenty of pictures and video on the way down. One of them was this rainbow, shot from the top of the biggest of the upper falls.

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You can see the rest of the trip here.

I had a great trip, though I was probably way too cautious. After I returned to camp on Saturday a group came by and crossed the stream. It turns out that it was only knee deep and not the mid-thigh that I thought it would be. I am sure that I could have easily crossed it.

I had no problems sleeping without the company of others. The only thing that I would change would be to make sure that I don't get to camp by 2:00. Those six hours waiting for sunset were a bit long and boring. All in all, a great trip, and I will not hesitate to do it again.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby ericZ » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:04 am

nice. thank you for the photos.

eric
fresno, ca.
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:14 pm

Thanks for posting the pic's, nice rainbow, and flowers.
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby MooseTracks » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:26 pm

Very nice!
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby calipidder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:10 pm

Nice! So many shots look familiar - we headed up there this past weekend to get our 'sierra fix' without having to deal with some of the high country mud/snow muckiness.

I'm really glad we weren't planning on crossing the creek - we met several guys who were out and trying to cross and make a trek through to Tuolumne. Don't know if they ever found a spot to get across.

Had some stormy weather - there's nothing like an afternoon nap to the sound of the pattering rain and thunder. Mmm...

My Photos
Behind our campsite:

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Storms brewing over Wawona Dome on the hike in:

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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby fedak » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:32 pm

That crossing does get more than a bit dicey early season. (And theres another crossing further on, but that one has/had a log bridge)

I braved it once it in my younger stupider days:
http://www.fedak.net/albums/ChilnualnaLake.html

I'm not sure I'm ever going to be in the mood to haul a pack up that hill again tho :)
Not when you can hike in from Glacier Point road...
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby MountainMinstrel » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:34 pm

Calipidder, It looks like you were fishing in that one shot. Did you catch anything? It is pretty amazing how much difference a week or two has on the wild flowers.

Thanks to both you and Fedak for making me not feel like such a wimp for not crossing the stream. Next year I plan to go a few weeks later and possibly do the loop of the lakes.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby fedak » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:45 pm

If you do it later in the season, Crescent Lake has blueberries:

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http://www.fedak.net/photos/BuenaVista/ ... ndard.html
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Re: TR first solo backpack (Chilualna falls to Crescent Lake)

Postby calipidder » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:54 am

@MountainMinstrel - I didn't bring my fishing gear this time but my husband did (he's the one in the photo). Unfortunately he didn't catch anything - after the storm the water was way too churned up and opaque for the fish to see anything. He tried again in the morning and got a nibble but no real bites. Not sure what he was fishing with, but my guess would be Z-rays.
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