Snowy Yosemite Camping | High Sierra Topix  

Snowy Yosemite Camping

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
User avatar

Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby Backpack2Fish » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:42 pm

We went to the Valley on the Friday before Veteran’s Day for some camping in our tent trailer. When we left Prather, the weather was getting bad, and I wasn’t sure if we should even go. But we did, and when we entered the Park it started snowing. By the time we about halfway between Chinquapin and the Valley, we needed to put the chains on. We arrived at North Pines Campground and set up camp. It was dark, cold, and snowy, and I had planned to cook the first meal over the campfire. But we got lazy (and cold), and ate at Curry Village. When we woke up in the morning, we were faced with a winter wonderland:

Image

Saturday morning I took off to fish the Merced River from Happy Isles up to Vernal Fall. Unfortunately, the snow on the rocks made it difficult to move along the river, as the rocks were very slippery. I did not want to wade, as the water seemed like it may be a tad too cold.

Image

Crossing Illilouette Creek was very difficult, and I almost fell in a few times. In some places, the river was partially frozen over.

Image

Image

I fished from Happy Isles up to about 500 feet from the bridge. Not a single strike or even a sign of a fish. I finally bailed out of the river and climbed up to the stock trail. I decided to climb to the top of Vernal, and even stopped once to fish the river between the bridge and the fall, but still nothing. I climbed the snowy steps of the Mist Trail, and thought I would try to fish the Emerald Pool (by this time, not really expecting to catch anything). But, it was also frozen over:

Image

I was certainly the only person with a fishing pole that day, and sure got a lot of questions from the day hikers.

Anyway, the weather cleared up as the weekend progressed, and Monday was absolutely gorgeous. Overall, we had a great time doing the normal camping things. On Sunday night we made a fabulous meal of New York steaks and garlic bread cooked on my little Weber, baked potatoes cooked in the coals of the campfire, a garden salad, and soup. Absolutely wonderful!

We had a great time. Nights were a little cold, however (like 17 degrees)!



User avatar
Backpack2Fish
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:56 pm
Location: Prather, CA
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby SweetSierra » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:42 am

Thanks for your trip report. Yosemite Valley was my introduction to the Sierra while living in my childhoom home of Fresno. It's absolutely beautiful in the winter. I like your photos of areas probably not often walked in this season. I also like your listing of the menu items. Sounds good! Especially on a cold, snowy night.
User avatar
SweetSierra
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 12:23 pm
Location: Nothern California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby Jason » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:43 am

Thanks for the report! That looks like a good time. A couple years ago I fished a part of the Merced around Happy Isles area and had the same experience you did; I didn't catch or see any fish. They have to be in there, as there are definitely fish above and below....... maybe next time.
User avatar
Jason
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby SSSdave » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:30 pm

If you visited those same stream sections at peak snow melt periods of May, you would understand why there are few fish in those steep rocky sections. The same is true on other such steep rocky sections of mid elevation Sierra rivers.

Years ago on a July 4th weekend, three of us visited the 8300 foot section of Bear Creek (tributary of the SF of the San Joaquin), that is steep and rocky. I had visited that area a couple times before and found decent numbers of fish in its pools. However it was an El Nino year and water was high with considerable violent white water even in a chain of pools. No sign of trout. Then I wandered up a joint crack channel where another early summer stream entered and found probably all the fish in those pools were all hunkered down in that one narrow deep pool that was safe from the main stream flow. So the trout in a chain of several pools had learned that whenever the stream flow became high to seek shelter so. Conversely there are many sections of large streams where no such escape exists even in what in late summer appears to be an ideal pool and one may notice trout are scarce.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:13 pm

I've yet to experience Yosemite in winter time. I need to get out there!
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1666
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby papasequoia » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:52 pm

Nice pics. That's pretty low water - fingers and toes are crossed for a wet winter.
Nature always wins
> miles = < people
User avatar
papasequoia
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:10 pm
Location: The East Side
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby ndwoods » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:44 pm

Nice TR! I love winter camping in Yosemite. I tent camp and just bring a big ole quilt to put on the bottom of the tent to put my bags on....toasty....well as far as tent camping goes. LOL
User avatar
ndwoods
Founding Member
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby Backpack2Fish » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:50 pm

SSSdave,

You may be right about why I couldn't find any fish. And it wasn't for lack of trying!

I have seen fish in fast water, however. The video below I took in June of 2007 in a creek in Yosemite. Watch those fish, especially the one towards the end!

Image

(Sorry, but the quality seems to be pretty poor after I posted it on the web.)
User avatar
Backpack2Fish
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:56 pm
Location: Prather, CA
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby gary c. » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:46 am

That is a very cool video! :thumbsup:
"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
User avatar
gary c.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Location: Lancaster, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Snowy Yosemite Camping

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:09 am

Great pictures and great report!
User avatar
East Side Hiker
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:10 am
Experience: N/A


Return to Winter Sports



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest