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Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

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Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby The Other Tom » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:20 am

I have two rules regarding hiking in the Sierra:
Rule 1: It’s all good in the Sierra
Rule 2: See rule 1

Being from the east coast, it’s difficult for my son and me to get to the Sierra every year. I envy you guys that live “nearby” and can go often. This was one of those years we were able to make a trip, albeit a short one. Our general plan was to spend a few days at TM to acclimate, then hike up the JMT to the Lyle glacier and spend a night or two in that area. However, we did not have a permit nor a place to stay the first night.

We arrived in Reno on Saturday, Aug. 4 around noon and drove to TM hoping to get a tent cabin at the Lodge. No go as they were all full. Plan B was to camp at May Lake (we had a permit for May Lake), but it was raining; we were tired from traveling all day and didn’t want to hike/set up camp in the rain. So we went with plan C….get a motel room in Mammoth.

We got up Sunday morning and made the trek to Rainbow falls. We had been to Devil’s Postpile and Agnew Meadow before, but not Rainbow falls. My son got a good pic of the falls.

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We hiked back to Red’s Meadow and had an ice cream. Hey, rule 1 !

We had reservations at the lodge for Sunday and Monday, so we were set for the next two nights. Stopping by the wilderness office in TM, we noticed that all trailheads were full for Sunday and Monday. The line for next day permits formed outside at about 7AM (or earlier) but they didn’t let you in until 11. Since our time was short, we didn’t want to use it standing in line. If push came to shove, we would utilize one of the campgrounds in TM and do day hikes. Although we’ve done most, if not all, of the day hikes before, see rule 1. So we spent the rest of the day checking out the available campgrounds (TM backpacker, Porcupine flat, etc).
The next day we hiked up the slope of Mt. Dana looking for wildflowers, especially lupine. We had seen some good stands of lupine in past years and wanted to get a few photos this year. Alas, with the dry conditions, the lupine were few and far between. However, see rule 1.

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That afternoon we stopped by the wilderness office “just to check”, looked at the board, and Rafferty creek was wide open. Whoopee! A permit. Not the one we wanted but see rule 1. The plan was to hike up Rafferty creek to Vogelsang, cut across to Evelyn Lake and down the Ireland creek trail to the JMT, then up to the Lyle glacier. At least that’s what the ranger told us to do. Although it probably would have been ok to just follow the JMT all the way, we didn’t want to risk violating the rules, so up Rafferty creek we went, starting the next day.

Sand filled mule trail up to Vogelsang
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The trip up Rafferty creek (which was bone dry, by the way) was more than I had remembered. It was hotter than normal and I was exhausted when we got to Vogelsang BP campground. In retrospect I probably should have used Markskor’s technique and mule shipped my pack to Vogelsang. We were both a little nauseated after our hike up and my son’s ankle was bothering him a little, so we decided to layover the next day to recuperate. That meant Lyle glacier was out of reach, but see rule 1. My son took a few star pictures that night.

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The next day, our zero day, we day hiked up to Vogelsang pass. The view from the pass is one of the best in the Sierra, in my opinion. Someday I want to hike down to Bernice and explore the lakes in that area.

Yours truly crossing Fletcher creek
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We both felt much better that evening. That night, my son took more star pics.

Storm’s a brewin’…no rain for us, though
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Look closely and you can see me gazing at the stars
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The next day, Thursday, we packed up and headed past Evelyn and the next unnamed lake, then up to a pass and down the Ireland creek trail. I had never been this way before and the view from the pass was outstanding. (see rule 1). I believe this is the Cathedral range (please correct me if I’m wrong). We reached the JMT and set up camp for the evening. There were a few campers who camped illegally on the river but we used a legal site, away from the trail and the river. I wanted to make life tough for the illegal campers….maybe more on that in another thread.

View from the pass
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Near our campsite in Lyle Canyon
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Friday we broke camp and headed back to TM via the JMT. Along the trail we saw a jack rabbit. It’s the first time I’ve seen one and it’s much larger than I imagined (rule 1 again). We have rabbits (bunnies) back east but nothing like that.

Reflection of sunrise on Lyle Fork
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Leaving the Sierra behind, we exited Yosemite via 120, but we had one more thing to look forward to…. stopping at Nicely’s for breakfast. What a great way to end a trip.

Note: All photos courtesy of my son, aka Clemson Hiker



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The Other Tom
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby gary c. » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:23 am

Very nice report and pictures. It sounds like persistance paid off for your group in getting your permit.
Last edited by gary c. on Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby oldranger » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:58 am

Great trip! Hanging around TM is always good. Rule 1 rules!

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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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby windknot » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:56 am

Thanks for the report! Way to make the most of your trip out here; certainly puts my complaining about a 6-hour drive to an east side trailhead in perspective.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby Mradford » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:09 am

Nice report. Your son did a great job documenting your trip! thanks for posting.
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:22 am

WOW! Great shots there, Clemson! Thanks for sharing. :)
"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man." --Jeff Lebowski

Some pics of native salmonids: http://flyguydave.wordpress.com/
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby justm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:17 pm

Great pics, love those night pics with the stars. Thanks for sharing !
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby jessegooddog » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:39 am

Beautiful photos and great trip report. Sorry about the heat wave we are having here, seems like a hotter summer than normal. Next time you are driving back to Reno, Walker Burger in Coleville/Walker (on your right) is a great stop - not only a fun garden setting but rated as one of the top 5 burger joints (good vege burgers too) in California several years ago by Sunset magazine.
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:08 am

jessegooddog wrote:Beautiful photos and great trip report. Sorry about the heat wave we are having here, seems like a hotter summer than normal. Next time you are driving back to Reno, Walker Burger in Coleville/Walker (on your right) is a great stop - not only a fun garden setting but rated as one of the top 5 burger joints (good vege burgers too) in California several years ago by Sunset magazine.

Thanks. I'll try to remember that for next time. Always looking for a good burger !
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Re: Trip report-Rafferty Creek-Vogelsang-Ireland Creek Aug 4

Postby Stevehymon » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:29 pm

Great photos and thanks for the TR and backpack ideas. On the subject of burgers, Slocums in Mammoth has a fine one, best preceded by pretzel, Slocums Salad and an Allagash White.
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