Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

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Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

Post by crayons » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:52 pm

Hello, my name is Chris and I have been a lurker for a while reading others posts and enjoying them. Now I would like to ask the experts I have 5-7 days in early September and I have never been to either of these areas. I was thinking of leaving from Florence lake into Evolution valley and making a xcountry loop trip of some kind, or the Rae lakes loop. I'm comfortable with xcountry and actually prefer it but I have heard many good things about the Rae loop. Minus the crowds. I'm comfortable with 8-10 miles a day maybe a layover day somewhere I'm pretty much open to suggestions, and if anybody has been to both areas which do you think is a little better. Thanks.

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Evolution or Rae lakes?

Post by Hobbes » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:28 am

Do you like trees? No, it's not a trick question - do you like hiking above tree line ie at/above 10-11k, or do you like hiking through cool, lush forests? (Many times along creeks/rivers.)

Evo (especially if you cut over Lamarck) is going to give you the classic high Sierra experience. Other than LeConte and (lower) Evolution, it's what many describe as "harsh"; that means moonscape. It also means crystal clear skies, big vistas and incredibly bright colors (white, grey & blue).

The Rae lakes loop is probably over 50% in the trees, except when you actually get to the Rae lakes themselves. It's why many just shoot over Kearsarge & Glen, hit the lakes area, and return.

For myself personally, I prefer the moon; I can get forests anywhere. It's sort of funny, because with absolutely no prompting on my part, last weekend on the way home, my 14 yo son declared out of the blue that he hates trees.

Here's the background: we had hiked out of Cottonwood (pass) to Rockcreek on D1. While he really liked the vistas past Chickenspring, he complained all the way down through the forest to Rockcreek for our first night. He was also unimpressed with the tree climb out of Guyot, but brightened up when we hit the Crabtree watershed & then headed up to Guitar on D2.

The last day, he consistently blew me away, beating me up to Trail crest (by a lot), waiting to hit Whitney together, then took off down the 96 switchbacks and finally waited for me a little bit by Trailside meadow. Mostly to assure himself that I'd be close enough to get a burger together @ the WPS. LOL

So, it really depends on what you prefer - trees or moon.

The old man is finally getting shown up:

Moonscape - yes, that's the trail up to the crest:

I zoomed in from above, but he's actually pretty far ahead:

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Re: Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

Post by maverick » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:04 am

Hi Crayons,

Welcome to HST! Rae Lakes Loop is pretty but doing the North Lake to South Lake
Loop in 7 days would get my vote. Also the Circle of Solitude hike would fall into
your time frame as would a nice loop out of Mineral King. All of these offer xcountry
exploration and peakbagging oppertunities.
Do a search, there are several TR's here on HST about these trips, and once youv'e
narrowed it down to one trip than repost about side trips.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

Post by thegib » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:17 am

Rae lakes loop is 45 miles, all on trail. Four days max unless you just hang out. Rae lakes are very pretty and 60 lakes basin is nice but it's a lot of trail hiking for just that. Evo valley offers more cross country opportunities. Skip Florence lake, start by going over Lamarck col, or Wallace or Haeckel Cols, pass thru Darwin's canyon/bench, go up McGee Canyon, see the Muir Hut. Much better trip.
Agree w/Maverick, narrow it down then ask specific questions and you'll get more refined answers. Cheers,

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Re: Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

Post by AaronRDavis » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:18 pm

If you enter at Florence, try to get to Evolution in a day. Thats more like 16 miles, but IMO that leg of the hike is pretty underwhelming. Head up to Darwin canyon(unbelievably beautiful views), then down through Evolution lake, xcountry over to McGee Canyon. Lots of other side trips you can do in these areas.

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Re: Evolution valley or Rae lakes?

Post by MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:11 am

I have not been to Evolution, but Rae lakes Loop is one of my favorite hikes. We did it in five days and really wish we would have had an extra day to take in 60 lakes. Yes it can be crowded, but there is a reason for that.
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