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Off-Trail Overnight Trips

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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:53 pm

I definitely remember seeing a separate "Nelson Lake" trailhead on the trailheads list, but there's none now. Not sure what the story is.



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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby mschnaidt » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:43 pm

You might want to try this trip out of Tahoe's Meeks Bay. It sounds like a nice hike into a fairly quiet area. I haven't done it myself yet but planning on it for a short trip this Summer.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9828&p=77385&hilit=meeks+creek#p77385
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby cahiker » Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:19 am

Another option in the neighborhood of Nelson Lake is Reymann Lake. We came in from somewhere around Tuolumne Pass on the trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang, and went out by way of Elizabeth Lake. It was at the end of a week long trip, and it looked like some weather was coming in, so we didn't go all the way to Nelson, so I can't say which is nicer, but Reymann was pleasant and the views in the area are good.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:32 am

cahiker wrote:Another option in the neighborhood of Nelson Lake is Reymann Lake. We came in from somewhere around Tuolumne Pass on the trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang, and went out by way of Elizabeth Lake. It was at the end of a week long trip, and it looked like some weather was coming in, so we didn't go all the way to Nelson, so I can't say which is nicer, but Reymann was pleasant and the views in the area are good.

Thanks. Hmmm...looks like a good potential 2-day loop there, going in to Nelson via Elizabeth and the next day going via Reymann and Johnson Peak lakes on the way back to Elizabeth.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:48 am

Tom,
Never been Johnson as rain/snow hit us that day but...
Elizabeth to Nelson a good long day of hiking out of Tuolumne - easy use trail over the pass but a little slow route finding that last few miles up to Nelson. (BTW, small fish and big mosquitoes at Nelson.)
Trail to Reymann is magic - keep south of the stream going up...one good campsite north east end of Reymann. We headed over to Voglesang after but, Johnson looked do-able on the map...maybe a bit of steep - suggest 3 days would be better.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:02 am

TehipiteTom wrote:I definitely remember seeing a separate "Nelson Lake" trailhead on the trailheads list, but there's none now. Not sure what the story is.


Both Nelson and Echo Lakes have their own trailhead quotas in Yosemite. The Nelson Trailhead uses the trail to Elizabeth Lake, and then the use trail over the crest leads you to Nelson Lake.

Echo Lakes uses the Cathedral lake trailhead. You can either head straight up the creek to Budd Lake, and then cross over the divide, or take a use trail that leaves the Cathedral Lake trail about 1/2 mile up the hill from the trailhead. The trail past Budd Lake is really pretty much cross country. Note that once you can see Echo Lake, you need to go far left towards Matthes Crest to avoid the very steep section below Echo Peaks.

If you get a permit for either of these two, you need to take these routes. You cannot (legally) hike up Rafferty Creek to Tuolumne Pass and then to go Reymann or Nelson, and you can't hike through Cathedral Lakes to get to Echo Lake. At least that's what the wilderness ranger told me when we got our permits. We've done both hikes.

Note that the quotas for each of these trails are small--about 6, total--so they wouldn't work for a larger group. Echo Lake is usually used by climbers who are headed to Matthes Crest.

We have trip reports on both trails on our website in the destinations section under Yosemite...
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:06 am

Thanks, that's helpful.

3 days would definitely be better, but I won't have 3 days... :( Part of what I'm going to have to do this summer is figure out how much I can comfortably pack into a 2-day trip.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:45 pm

I thought the post was about off-trail overnight trips. The trips discussed have been on trails. So I guess you are up for either.

When I was a "weekend warrior" I was mainly climbing. Bagging a peak is a great way to do weekend trips. I would always leave ASAP after work and just drive as far as I could. Monitor Pass has good places to pull over and sleep (at 7000 feet too, so you get acclimated). That way I could still consider east side areas, as long as I did not have to go too far south. Twin Lakes trailhead (Hoover Wilderness) was always a good bet. Easy to get permits too. Go up to some of the small tarns near Matterhorn Peak. Blacksmith Canyon. Little Slide Canyon to Maltby Lake. Great trail loops too - Barney, Peeler, Rock Island Pass, Snow Lake, Crown Lake. From Peeler Lake you can to over to the lakes below Hawksbeak Peak in a long day. I think a long in-and-out is OK as long as the scenery is awesome from the start. From Buckeye trailhead take the Eagle Creek Trail to its end, and then you can climb Robinson Peak, Eagle Peak and Victoria Peak - great views up there.

Something off Tuolumne is a no-brainer. Best free campsite for Friday night is on Ackerman Creek (go up the hill after crossing the creek and turn left on a dirt road - many FS campsites along the creek.) The most challenging off-trail overnight trip I have done is descending Tenaya Canyon from Tenaya Lake, camped right at the "Jump Off". Need rock shoes to descend the slabs and then a few short rappels. This is a fall trip because you would drown if done at high water- must walk in the creek a lot. A good early season trip is to hike from Olmstead Point to camp on the top of the buttress half a mile east of Mt Watkins. There is a seasonal creek in the draw between. Great view - if full moon- fantastic view right down into Tenaya Canyon.

Kuna Crest - this is written up in Phil Arnot's guide "Range of Light". I did it - trail to Parker Pass, traverse to Helen Lake, haul water up to Pt 11812, bivy. Next day run the crest north and back to Tioga Pass. You can camp at Helen Lake, but I did a bivy on top because mosquitoes were horrible down low.

Good off trail lake - Mc Clure Lake - go on PCT up Lyell and leave trail at the bridge, follow the drainage up.

Or up Lyell to Donohue Pass, and x-country to Lost Lakes. I actually did this from east side - left the trail at Waugh Lake .

Rafferty Trail to Fletcher Lake and off-trail to Townsley Lake

From south end of Saddlebag Lake, take trail to north of Green Treble Lake, over the pass between White Mountain and Mt Conness and then traverse to Roosevelt Lake or Young Lakes. Or do not go over the pass, instead, go north on Roper's High Route, past Conness Lakes and camp at Cascade Lake. Or take the boat ferry across Saddlebag Lake, and to Upper McCabe Lake.

Green Lake trailhead out of Bridgeport - easy overnight trips with good fishing. East Lake and West Lake both nice, few people at West Lake - also little lakes above.

Early season - down to the top of Waterwheel Falls.

Mono Meadows - climb Mt Clark for a real off-trail adventure, or poke around Star King

Glacier Point - I am a big fan of Pohono Trail.

Lots in Desolation Wilderness too. But I think I have said enough.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:41 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:I thought the post was about off-trail overnight trips. The trips discussed have been on trails. So I guess you are up for either.

Well, off-trail destinations are what I'm looking for. How much of getting there is off-trail can vary.

Thanks for the suggestions! Slide Canyon is one place I would definitely love to return to. Tenaya Canyon is one for the mountaineers, which I am not. Lost Lakes look very intriguing.
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Re: Off-Trail Overnight Trips

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:16 pm

This last weekend while watching some of the NFL games figured out another of my one night weekend backpacks for my own photography purpose. Typically radically alien to most backpacker's trips. So to give some insight to others as to an example of thinking out of the box for what is possible...

This would be a trip from the Coldwater Creek Trailhead at 9100 feet in Mammoth Lakes over Duck Pass at 10800 feet to the Duck Lake basin. Dates would be mid July through early August when landscapes are greenest and snow has melted back enough in the north facing heights southeast above Pika Lake. I've never visited these areas. I would set up a wilderness permit reservation for a Friday and Saturday with a night box pick up on that same evening of Friday. If the atmosphere was less than clearer than normal, would abort. My interest in doing this hike would be to set up a couple of landscape images I've sized up on Google Earth.

I would be carrying my lightest complement of gear, bivy no tent, military headnet, all clothes worn, and that would forgo much including, usual safety stuff, extra clothing, and food requiring cooking. Minor amount of food in an Ursack. Most of my weight would be my camera gear, tripod, body 4 lenses, including the Gigapan Epic robotic head. With just one day of photog would not need but a couple extra batteries. If the plan was my more likely idea of just sleeping Friday then returning Saturday would be able to fit all into my old Black Diamond L40 Stone climbing pack that is much lighter than my Osprey Aether 70.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.54934,-118.95395&z=15&t=T

My drive from the South SF Bay area is about 270 miles or 6 hours. Thus after leaving work at 4pm would, pick up the permit from the Mammoth VC night box, likely reach the trailhead about 10pm with my gear totally ready to quickly move up the trail. Thus would night hike about 1.5 miles up to 10100 with my bright Fenix HP11 277 lumen headlamp to somewhere between Skelton and Barney Lake, then wander well off the trail at least 200 feet and uphill where I notice bare areas below talus toes on the satellite view and would have no worry about bears.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.56985,-118.96361&z=15&t=T

So might get 6 hours sleep, waking up at sunrise which is my usual wake up anyways, packing up, and leaving by 6:30am PDT. Would leave my sleeping bag and bivy hidden so. The pass is another 1.2 miles 700 feet up the headwall and given the blocking Sierra Crest that would also be in the shade. At the pass would vector off trail northeast traversing about the 3300 meter line till reaching the obvious least gradient section to start climbing up east to my shooting locations at 3500 meters. Note 328.08 feet per 100 meters. Ought to reach there before 9am and then spend at least an hour there. One of the largest and deepest High Sierra lakes. Being in a high relatively sterile timberline basin, it has accrued light amounts of organic matter thus its clear waters have highest potential for max lake blueness on clear days from appropriate mid angled front lit orientations at mid morning or mid afternoon. Note beyond mid afternoon blueness decreases.

Some of Rogue's pics of that area:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/roguephot ... 781533126/

By late morning would be back down at 3300 to the main seep stream and likely have lunch and take a nap a couple hours. From there maybe about 1:30pm would again climb up 200 meters to the ridge southeast of Pika as sized up on GE for views into Ram Basin that is a better perspective than Pika Pass. Places almost certain to have had no other photographers ever point a lens at. Probably capture that scene about 4pm then ramble back down to the lake edge to assess any photo interest there. Then back up to Duck Pass by 6pm. The light on the several small lakes north of the pass in the Coldwater Creek basin are best captured in the afternoon so could find some reasonable pics there too. Pick up sleeping bag and bivy then by sunset would be back at my Forester.
Last edited by SSSdave on Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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