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Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

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Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:12 pm

When last I posted Kathy and I were headed down Lewis Creek toward Merced Lake HSC.

Unfortunately from the time we started to drink out of the bottle until we reached the Merced Lake Ranger Station there was no easily accessible water. I never thought much about the trail and didn’t realize it was particularly nasty until later in the fall when markskor and a couple others whined :-({|= about the horrible cobblestone trail.
Down the Lewis Creek Switchbacks.jpg
Down the Lewis Creek Switchbacks
First view of merced Lake.jpg
First view of Merced Lake
Of course I was carrying a really light pack and for the remainder of the trip you couldn’t see Kathy’s feet for all the duct tape she had wrapped around them.
Ranger Station.jpg
Ranger Station. My uncle was station here for one season in the 60's
Water.jpg
Water!
I guess, too, I was enthralled with the views of the Clark Range and the basin that holds a special lake.

On arrival at Merced lake we met our new cabin mates, another couple from Oregon that we had actually met at Vogelsang. They were in their mid 70s and delightful cabin mates. The showers were operational but were a mere trickle but warm water never felt quite so good. Dinner was great, again. And again after 12 miles of hiking I did not sleep particularly well. The camp was actually over booked but it didn’t seem so except at dinner.

I spent the next day fishing Merced Lake instead of Washburn as I had planned because I decided I needed a break before the 14 mile day even if it was all downhill.
Merced Lake from near inlet.jpg
Merced Lake from near inlet
Fishing the e. and w. shoreline I found it was too shallow to effectively use a z-ray so I changed to a fly and bubble and began to bring in feisty 11” browns. All in all a lazy day.

The next morning we stuffed ourselves in preparation for our hike to the valley.
Bridge over Merced.jpg
Bridge over the Merced
First of 3 pack trains.jpg
First of three pack trains
Digital tele halfdome and hikers.jpg
Digital tele of halfdome and hikers
The hike to the valley was mostly pleasant (except for the tp along the trail between little Yosemite and Nevada Fall) and the trails not crowded until we reached the top of Nevada Fall. The people here were speaking many languages and clearly most were not experienced hikers. I had never hiked this section of the John Muir trail before and was surprised by the hanging rock gardens as we treaded down the blasted out trail with hundreds of companions.
John Muir Highway.jpg
John Muir Highway
Nevada Fall.jpg
Nevada Fall
At Happy Isles we bought frozen juice bars while waiting for the shuttle. The padded seats of the shuttle were the height of luxury for us. The car was fine and I surprised Kathy with a night in the Awahnee. For some reason we lucked out and were upgraded to a balcony room. Was it strange! Walking into that place all dirty and smelly. And after carrying our packs for over 30 miles and then as we were carrying our bags in to watch young people driving up in cars that cost more than our house hand a 20 bill to the attendant and have the attendant carry the bags for them. Not really my kind of people

I had made reservations for dinner at 7 but we were early and hungry. So we went down to the bar, ordered the same beer we ordered at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge and it was $3 more. Jeez it was like ordering a beer at a major league baseball game! We walked the grounds and sipped our beers trying to stay clear of the sometimes overwhelming smell of perfume and cologne. When seated for dinner our waiter tried to impress us with a syrupy accent. Kathy had a good piece of prime rib and I had lamb prepared in a way that I forgot I did not like so dinner was kind of a dud for me. The bed was comfortable though.

During the entire trip we were expecting a call that our younger daughter had had her baby. Even had arranged to have the news forwarded to the High Sierra camps. Since that had not happened we decided to return to Bend up the east side so that if we got the call we could more easily divert to Boise. So up early we left without breakfast but stopped at Tioga Pass resort and ate around 9:30. We learned from the waitress that the resort is up for sale and the owner did not maintain his e-mail account and that was the reason why my inquiries about reservations were not answered earlier in the summer (things actually worked out better staying at Tuolume Meadows). Another stop at Walker Burger for my last coffee shake of the year and we continued north, stopping at Lakeview, Oregon for the night. I only mention this for one reason. We had a better dinner with better wine at a little dinner house for less than a third of what we paid at the Awahnee.

To answer your questions: Will we do the HSC thing again. Yes. It is nice having really big meals with real food. We really enjoyed the people, too. Will probably plan an early season trip to Glen Aulin sometime early in the season on a trip to view Waterwheel Falls. Remember it is also possible to arrange to have meals without staying at the HSC, too.

Will we stay at the Awahnee again? Probably not. It is a beautiful building, But way to pretentious for common folk like Kathy and I. We are likely to hit a Sunday brunch, which we have done several times in the past, again in the future But over night, once is enough.

Lesson learned. For $5 a lb you can have food or gear packed from Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang. For $10 a lb you can have food or gear packed from the Valley to Merced Lake. I see both of those as options for backcountry resupply and see a three week trip in my future and a complete Yosemite slam—brookie, Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown, and Golden in one trip!

Happy Trails and happy trip planning (It is that time of the year)!

Mike
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:29 pm

Thanks for the great report and photos. I've never hiked that part of the Sierra Nevada before, so it's a real treat to read your report.
Last edited by Carne_DelMuerto on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby gary c. » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:40 pm

OR, wonderful set or reports and pictures. I really enjoyed it, especially since it covered most of the Yosemite area that I have been to and it really brought back some memories. By your picture it gives me the impression that the new permit system for Half Dome is working. There sure seemed to be a lot less people than when I was there.
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:11 pm

Gary

The photo was taken about noon on Labor Day and I would assume that most people were on their way down. There was hardly anyone in the little yosemite campground.

Mike
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:22 pm

Thanks for posting, Mike. I've made that trip a few times myself. Most times I camp in the back packers campground as opposed to the tents, but either way is good. I can't wait to get back to the Sierra.
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:55 pm

Nice report Mike...
Regarding the slam, I thought 4 species was a slam, but 5...hard to do as there are only a few lakes in Yosemite holding Goldens.

I have done the 4-slam a few times in the Voglesang area - helped out by the one lake holding Cuts.
Have to hot-foot it up off trail to get to the Goldens though...and we both know where is that lake is, where they are hiding...not easy to get to if I recall.
Mark
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:57 pm

Mark

But I was so close and could almost see the lake!

Mike
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby rlown » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:10 pm

4 miles uphill isn't close..
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:38 am

Russ

That is a lot closer than it is from Bend, Oregon! :(

Mike
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby Ozark Flip » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:15 pm

Mike,

Thanks for the enjoyable reading. I have done a few hikes in the Vogelsang area so like many others here, it brings back many memories, less the HSC thingy, I always marched right on by those. It is good to hear the real HSC scoop from those like Mark and yourself (I heard somewhere that you can peel potatoes and trade mathematics for HSC amenities….). Sorry your Awhanee dinner didn’t taste so good, I’ll bet it sure was pretty to look at. My brother-in-law takes his high maintenance wife there each year, I have yet to take a look inside.

Regarding the Yosemite Grand Slam, it could be done but would also take some luck. Some of those lakes (Rlown’s CT lake and the “Markskor cannot catch a fish lake”) can be beyond finicky. Don’t worry Mark, I have done horrible there too, considering the amount of time spent there. Great campsites nearby. I think the glow properties are killer and becoming more popular.

Thanks again for the great TR. Hope to see you in late April when I’m catching Oregon Atlantics on the fly rod.

Flip
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby oldranger » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:52 pm

Flip

So you are bringing a snowmobile? Chances are I'll be in CA doing some low elevation hikes and fishing.

Mike
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Re: Agnew Meadows to Yosemite Valley, The END!

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:11 pm

It was a real treat to see the section of the trail with the short rock wall on the right (downhill) side of the trail. The only time I was on this trail was in May of 1967 or 8 and the trail had a great deal of water falling on it. I actually took some super 8 movie film of it. It was like walking (running) in a waterfall. I'll never forget it.
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