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California Odyssey 3 Leavitt Meadow to Hetch Hetchy, Part 2

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California Odyssey 3 Leavitt Meadow to Hetch Hetchy, Part 2

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:39 am

Last episode left me looking down on Mary Lake on Sept 12.

On this day camp was established, water filtered, and gear covered before but just barely before the storm struck. On this day camp was established, water filtered, and gear covered before but just barely before the storm struck.
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Camp before Deluge
Several hours of napping alternated with reading and finally the rain stopped and I quickly prepared another marvelous freezedried dinner, complete with iceless daiquiri.

After breakfast on Tuesday I rushed up to Mary Lake fully expecting goldens suicidally attacking my offerings. I thru out everything in my arsenal but to no avail. A couple of halfhearted follows is all I could entice. I worked my way up the e. shoreline, took a couple of pics as the clouds rolling in enhanced the scenery if not the fishing.
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Mary Lake
About the time I approached the willow thickets on the w. shore it began to rain, ultimately so hard the other side of the lake was barely visible. Abandoning all thoughts of fishing I broke down my rod, packed it away and began to thrash my way through the jungle of 6 ft high willow. By the time I made camp I remembered why I never hike in the rain in long pants—mine were now dripping wet from mid thigh down! Diving into the tent I managed to suspend my pants in a way that they could dry and not drip on me at the same time. I don’t know when it stopped raining but I did without a real dinner that night. To avoid getting any more clothes wet when nature called I waited until a break in the rain an then took my clothes off and did what had to be done in the buff and then used a pack towel to dry off. Next day as I hiked down to Tilden Lake I must have looked like a really old boy scout with socks, long pants, and pack towels hanging from the outside of my pack.

Following the remnants of an old trail it was easy getting down to Tilden.
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Creek and Meadow above Tilden
By the looks of the shoreline I thought the most desirable campsites would be on the e side of the lake (also less traffic as there is a trail on the west side). Today the rain would come earlier and again I set up camp in a rush to avoid the rain. Finding a flat spot with good drainage was really difficult and I finally chose a rock that seemed relatively flat but would have no water flowing over it.
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100% rock pitch
While dry the rock, even with my ever so comfy downmat, was not comfortable and while I had planned on staying here for two nights the next day I moved camp down lake less than ½ mile. I finally managed to catch a couple of 9” rainbows after the rain stopped. Maybe due to the discomfort of this camp, maybe due to the stupid book I was stuck reading about this time a weird revelation came over me, an idea that is completely counter to any thought I have ever had and quite the reverse of my general feeling in the backcountry—I came up with the idea that my wife did not love me! This thought haunted me for the remainder of the trip and ultimately caused me to alter the trip in two ways. At any rate my spirit was shaken, my confidence broken, and the joy of a trip in the Sierra lost.
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Tilden Sunset after the Storm


Thursday, after moving camp, the entire day was spent fishing—with but one 9” rb landed. The weather, my spirit? What was to blame? The weather threatened all the gray day but not a drop fell. Early in the day I spotted two people out in the lake, one in a raft the other a float tube. Soon another person appeared then all three walked toward the outlet and out of sight. After another fishless dinner I took my trash up the hill to a fire ring. This was a special fire ring because within about 30 feet of the fire ring were 3 gigantic piles of bear poop!
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Ursine Awareness!
I gathered a bunch of dry twigs and tore off the read pages of the crummy book—I’m not in favor of book burning but I actually had a feeling of satisfaction in watching those lame words going up in flames. I managed to get rid of a goodly volume of trash and returned the next morning to pick all the micro pieces of foil out of the ashes (one thing I am anal about since being a backcountry ranger and is why I get annoyed when any one rationalizes it is ok to leave something in the backcountry.)

Friday was the day to walk down canyon to Wilma Lake.
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Saurian Crest, Tilden
Once to the outlet of the lake I would be retracing (in reverse) a hike I took 31 years earlier. At Wilma I camped at the same site as 31 years earlier. I also encountered the two people I had seen on Tilden the previous day. Turns out they were NPS techs doing research funded by the good people of SF Water Dept. They were gillnetting trout to get tissue samples to see to what degree trout were taking on heavy metals. They said it is possible that advisories could be put out concerning eating fish out of some Yosemite Lakes. Finally I was able to catch a fish suitable for dinner—a nice 13” rainbow, just like the ones I caught in 1980! No rain two days in a row!
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Wilma Lake from PCT near outlet


to be continued

mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!



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oldranger
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Re: California Odyssey 3 Leavitt Meadow to Hetch Hetchy, Part 2

Postby lambertiana » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:21 pm

The picture you got of the clouds reflecting on Mary Lake is a much better reward than catching a few fish would be. That's a nice shot!
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Re: California Odyssey 3 Leavitt Meadow to Hetch Hetchy, Part 2

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:07 pm

Sugarpine

All luck! Didn't realize what I had til I got home.

mike
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