Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

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Vidalia
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by Vidalia » Mon May 03, 2010 8:10 am

On the hike from (or near) Vogelsang to Merced Lake area would you recommend taking the Fletcher Creek route or the Lewis Creek route? Both seem to have their pros and cons.








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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by The Other Tom » Mon May 03, 2010 5:58 pm

Vidalia wrote:On the hike from (or near) Vogelsang to Merced Lake area would you recommend taking the Fletcher Creek route or the Lewis Creek route? Both seem to have their pros and cons.
The view from Vogelsang pass looking down the Lewis creek drainage is to die for. One of the best in the Sierra in my opinion. So, I would hike up to the pass on your "off" day, take in the view, and the next day hike down the Fletcher creek trail. The Lewis creek trail is steep and hard on the knees.

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by markskor » Mon May 03, 2010 7:45 pm

Vidalia wrote:On the hike from (or near) Vogelsang to Merced Lake area would you recommend taking the Fletcher Creek route or the Lewis Creek route? Both seem to have their pros and cons.
Guess it depends on how you are feeling that day-

Up?... the route over Vogelsang Pass is the harder of the two, maybe a mile or so longer, and gains another ~ 700 ft in elevation. This trip offers first a chance to bag Vogelsang Peak...BTW, easy and a nice view of Half Dome from the top...Maybe a 1-hour side-trip, up and back...(leave the packs just before the pass.) The pass itself is amazing... Agree yes, maybe a bit steep down until Bernice - (Fishing?...I usually take this route in order to catch the evening rise/spend the night), and next day then followed by a few rather easy downhill miles... intermittent canyons of shaded forest and lush, big chunk granite…prime country leading to the two trails again rejoining.

Or Down?... Meander through the slab- maze that is Boothe...proceed/staying on the main trail, through the greenest of all green meadows, avoiding Emeric's talus field trail until the end... just atop the waterslide, cross over...good place to have lunch, that knob guarding over the exit of Emeric.

FYI, There are a few Sierra places that I can always shut my eyes anytime and be there instantly. Here is one of those – this trail passes through miles of the most amazing Manzanita forest as you make your way down the gorge. Depending on conditions, but especially in the springtime, the scrub forest here takes on an almost "Alice in Wonderland" aura, a patina...a labyrinth of 10-foot high purple pretzels... strong, like the sinews on a greyhound...winding down and through burnt orange twisted spines, menacing and impenetrable arteries of wood...
All topped by that oriental electric-green leaf...cool little red berries too…
Just fricking amazing!

Anyway, the worst of what both these two trails share comes all too soon enough. Just ahead are your trail dues – time to pay up again…Miles (2,000 feet) of the most disgusting, too-small-cobblestoned, mule-dusted, trail-biscuit-ed, short and steep, knee-wrenching, ill-conceived switchbacks ever devised… (Oh…that never seem to end)…heading down to the Merced below.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by Vidalia » Wed May 05, 2010 7:11 am

markskor wrote:Anyway, the worst of what both these two trails share comes all too soon enough. Just ahead are your trail dues – time to pay up again…Miles (2,000 feet) of the most disgusting, too-small-cobblestoned, mule-dusted, trail-biscuit-ed, short and steep, knee-wrenching, ill-conceived switchbacks ever devised… (Oh…that never seem to end)…heading down to the Merced below.
So, um, marskor.... what exactly don't you like about this part of the trail??

Thanks for the info, we're getting into our prep mode and have started ramping up the exercise so we can enjoy the walk. From the photos and descriptions I have read this area reminds me of a hike in the Wind River Range (Wyoming) a couple years back. In fact there is a place we hiked called the Titcomb Basin that is considered the "Yosemite of the Rockies". Quite a beautiful area and one that I will go back to one day.

Looking at the maps over the weekend we are leaning towards making first camp at/near Ireland Lake and then heading directly up and over to Vogelsang area. Have any suggestions for campsites at Ireland? We'll probably camp at Townsley or Fletcher Lakes after Ireland Lake. Any opinions?

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by The Other Tom » Wed May 05, 2010 11:56 am

[quote="Vidalia]
Looking at the maps over the weekend we are leaning towards making first camp at/near Ireland Lake and then heading directly up and over to Vogelsang area. Have any suggestions for campsites at Ireland? We'll probably camp at Townsley or Fletcher Lakes after Ireland Lake. Any opinions?[/quote]
Of the two, Fletcher is a flatter area with a lot of well worn camp sites. I don't remember that meany sites at Townsley. Both are beautiful areas.

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by adam » Wed May 05, 2010 12:09 pm

wouldn't the Ireland-->townsley/fletcher day be extremely short and basically downhill?

I don't want to speak with too much authority, because it's been a long time since I was there, but with that caveat, here I go....

If it were me, I'd either take it easy the first day and camp in lyell canyon, saving the push for day 2. (Lyell canyon is an ideal day 1 in that sense-- lets you get your legs without having to really work hard.) Or, if I were going to push up high on Day 1, I'd just bite the bullet and get all the way to the vogelsang area, and spend day two as a pack-less layover exploring lakes or climbing peaks. I don't *think* it would be much more effort to go to vogelsang than ireland-- and the last little bit extra would be dowhill through the meadows in the afternoon light, which would probably inspire you with a second wind!

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by rlown » Wed May 05, 2010 12:38 pm

I'd agree with Adam in that Ireland to Fletcher is a short day, unless you spend the day there exploring. Markskor covered some good advice earlier in the thread, so i won't repeat that.

If you camp at Ireland, the outlet area is the nicest. But heck, you can get there, drop pack, and look around and pick any spot. If you stay at Ireland, you can either "pop" over the ridge and head down to Townsley off trail, or go back down the trail and over past Evelyn into Fletcher, and Vogelsang.

You still didn't indicate that you fish, so I can't comment on your camp decisions.. yet.

Here is a pic from Townsley looking up towards Hanging Basket on the right above that lip, and Ireland would be left out of the pic over a little 11k "hill", but it's doable.
Townsley '08.jpg
Here's a pic looking from the lip of Hanging basket down towards Fletcher
Townsley from HB '08.jpg
I generally go up there to fish. I usually go up Rafferty to Evelyn, then over the rise to Townsley to set up a camp for a day or two, and then fish there and Hanging Basket. There are a few established campsites at the West end of Townsley, but since the fishing is better on the East side, we camped behind a big boulder where the slab rock is in the middle of the photo across the shore. We did this as well because we drop back over to Evelyn to finish out the fishing, and there are fewer people. Even if you don't fish, there is lots to see in the whole area.

Russ
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by vic0825 » Sun May 09, 2010 7:06 pm

I have a question! Pardon my ignorance -- my first overnight backpack, so I'm not sure quite what I am doing. We are going to go toward Glen Aulin (we have a wilderness permit for 2 nights in August. I really wanted to go to Vogelsang (Rafferty Creek) and return thru Lyell Canyon. There were no permits avail for that trailhead. Would you suggest we wait in line on the morning we would like to do this hike for a wilderness permit? Is it tough to get a wilderness permit at the last minute? Can we take another trailhead and still get to Vogelsang? Any suggestions? I am new at all this, so I'm not sure what to do. :confused:

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by rlown » Sun May 09, 2010 7:41 pm

getting a first-come, first served permit isn't that hard. But.. You have to be first in-line. For the Rafferty Creek trail head, there are 12 reserved, 8 first-come rezzies.

Looks like August for that trailhead is pretty much booked: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You'd need to be there waiting on the porch at the wilderness center really, REALLY early.

You can reverse your trip and go through Lyell and back down Rafferty. Same smell, really. You can still visit Vogelsang. Lyell has a higher quota for first come, first serve permits.

And, it never hurts to call the permit office often to see if any spots open up for reservations.

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Post by Vidalia » Mon May 10, 2010 7:21 am

Adam, Russ, et al,

We are hoping to be acclimated and get an early start from Tuolumne Meadows since we will be staying in the backpackers campsite the night before. We planned on seeing how we did on the hike in and might stay in Lyell Canyon the first night and then head to Vogelsang the second night. If we felt strong at the end of the first day we were going to either head to Ireland Lake for night one or maybe even push to Vogelsang as suggested. Since you never know how the elevation will affect people we wanted to have a couple of reasonable fall back ideas before we arrived. Although the elevation usually doesn’t get to me you can never be 100% sure. Lyell Canyon looked to be a very nice walk and we might just make it an easy stroll and save the hike to Vogelsang till the second day. If we were to push to Vogelsang the first day we would still need to enter via the Lyell Canyon trail as it is the one on the permit. If we arrive at the trail from Lyell to Ireland Lake/Vogelsang with plenty of gas and feeling strong which way would you suggest we go, the primary trail up past Evelyn Lake and through the pass or to Ireland then overland and drop down to Townsley or Fletcher lakes?

One other thing. What is your opinion of trying to change our permit when we show up to enter via Rafferty Creek and heading directly to the Vogelsang area? We will be driving in to Yosemite Valley the day before our permit starts, dropping our car and taking the YARTS bus to Tuolumne (Saturday 9/11), our permit starts 9/12. This route was already closed out when we applied for our permit but I understand 40% of the allotment is held for walk-ups.

We show Ireland Lake as our first night campsite. How rigid is that issue? From what I have read it seems as long as you enter the trailhead on the permit and hike the mandatory distance from the trailhead you have almost complete freedom to walk and camp where you care to. (Except of course specific areas that have additional requirements/restrictions)

And yes Russ, we plan on fishing. One of my companions is a die-hard fisherperson and he is all over this! He plans on fishing when he can along the way. (he has promised us trout for breakfast at least once during the hike!)

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