Log in

Yosemite + Ten Lakes – September 2011

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by

Hey! Happy Halloween. It’s a good Friday to finish up a post, right? We had maybe 15-20 trick or treaters tonight – I don’t know if being on the corner and thus “far” from the bulk of the houses, or it simply being a drizzly evening kept the kids away, but who knows. Next year I’m pondering lighting the heck out of the house…or at least the walkways. Might as well have fun occasionally. Other than that…yup. Leaves and weather falling. Travelling a bit coming up in December. Getting some new basement windows next week. Oohyah! I mean, it’s good, I guess.

Anyway! As I say, let’s talk about a trip I took, way way way back when, in September 2011…..

I drove up to Yosemite, did a brief backpack, drove back through Mammoth, had a, well, diversion, checked out Devils Postpile, and then eventually got myself home. This is the trip up to Yosemite, and the backpacking part of the trip.

From certain angles, I am slightly taller than Half Dome… (ok, this was *after* the backpack, but whatever)

I drove up from Pasadena on the morning of the 4th. What was originally planned to be a multi-day hike of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne turned into, well, a solo one-night of Ten Lakes, which was pretty cool seeming, but…in some ways, while this trip was pretty cool, I still really wish other people had been able to come. Well, we win some, and we lose others.

Anyway, I drove up from Pasadena, as I was staying there. The drive itself was pretty uneventful, cutting over to the 99, and from there to the 41, headings towards Yosemite, which is always a sign to warm one’s heart. I did see some kids riding their bikes, on the highway, on the wrong side of the road, which…what? Why would you do that. Nonetheless, I made it up and into the park, and headed into the valley.

Gorman lost its ‘o’ !

Guys. You are going the *wrong way*

Ah. Welcome to Yosemite Valley.

The sights as you drive through the tunnel are, as always, breathtaking, and a joy to behold. I went over to the campgrounds, and dealt with a fairly grumpy campground attendant, who seemed really disinclined to give me any positive advice as to where I could leave my car after I dropped my gear off at the walk-in campsite. Nonetheless, I managed to drop off my gear, and go leave my car for the evening over at Curry Village parking. There were lots of deer hanging out in the parking lot, as happens where food waste gathers, and while I was taking photos like every other city person around, other were…getting within a few feet of stags, which just strikes me as being pretty spectacularly stupid.

Writing this in January 2013, I’m really not sure what I did for dinner that night. Maybe just grabbed something in the village, or perhaps the cafeteria over at the lodge. I think that is probably correct, followed by attending a ranger slideshow on John Muir on the park – never get tired of that stuff, no matter how much I may see it. Somewhere in all there, I also picked up my permit. Details, they fade. The next morning, I headed on up toward the Tioga Road. I passed through the same burn area I had driven in through two years prior, and while it was still pretty stark, it was heartening to see the regrowth that was already starting.

You guys are too close

Landscape post fire in September 2009

Burn regrowth – September 2011

TEN LAKES BACKPACK – 12.6 miles + epsilon

I managed to get to the Ten Lakes trailhead at what my phone claims was about 9 in the morning, and began my walk. The trail starts north more or less directly from the Tioga Road, and quickly gets to a trail junction from where I think the trail “really” starts. The trail begins by cutting through some wooded areas, but quickly breaks out to an open granite area, where they have the track pretty clearly marked out with stones. Continuing on, the trail keeps cutting through some mixed forest and some more open areas, climbing gradually, and finally breaking out into the big wide open Half Moon meadow. Other people said they had seen some bears there, but I didn’t really see them. It was a really nice place to stop and sit and take a break though. I’ll admit – hiking by myself has some downsides, but the ability to just stop and sit for a few minutes when I wanted to and know that I wasn’t holding anyone back was nice. On the flip side, of course, I had only myself to encourage myself, and, of course, only myself to talk to.

Clearly marked path

The Half Moon Meadow

After Half Moon meadow, the trail goes pretty steeply up switchbacks behind the meadow, going through a good chunk more of forest, and then cutting through some more open areas with really fabulous flower displays, before breaking out at the top to Ten Lakes Pass. It was…really amazing up there. First you come out after quite a slog of a climb, and are just in this big, amazing, beautiful area. The map shows a fair number of little lakes and moiraines, a couple of which you could catch ok views of. As you get to the far end of the pass, a spectacular view of the whole GCT , and the park to the north opens up in front of your eyes. That view, that view there, is just a jaw-dropper. One of the good ones. At that point you can also look down to the right and start seeing the Ten Lakes Basin, which has, well…lakes in it.

So very many flowers

Really, these views exist

After really enjoying the eye-popping view…it was time for the leg busting walk down into the basin, however. That was a bit of a steep walk, and while the trail on the slope was pretty clearly cut, once I reached the bottom, even though the main trail was supposed to continue on more or less straight, with some side trails to the side lakes, the situation was…a little less clear cut. However, I knew generally where I was going. and it wasn’t like the high walls of the valley didn’t make it a little easier to stay in the proper area : )

I made it over to the lake I was heading to, and found some trails right near the lake, and found the campsites right near that that were referenced in my guidebook. More than happy to drop my pack, I grabbed a site with a good view of the lake, and set up. That day, I had seen only a few people, basically all of them heading out, so it was honestly a bit creepy to feel that I might be there alone. Anyway, after getting set up, and having a bit of snack, I set out walking alongside the lake, walking over to its headwaters, and then sort of rock-trail skipping up to where the map showed that the next lake would come in. It was a nice little bit of walk (and I don’t really know the distance, alas), and it was good to feel like I had seen more than just one singular lake in the area. I then headed back, and since it was still mid-afternoon, I was in good time to relax. I built a fire and really was enjoying the play of the light, when I saw that a couple people had set themselves up on the far side of the lake, when I saw their fire dancing on the other side.

I went over to say hi (a bit lonely, I guess!) and just generally let them know there was another human around. We chatted for a few minutes, but I really didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so I went back to my site after that and just relaxed. I continued to enjoy my fire, and had some dinner, read for a while, and…basically went to bed early.

The lake. One of the ten, I suppose.

Yuppers. It’s a campsite.

Going to bed early begets getting up early, and as I knew it was going to take me a bit of time to walk out, I figured I might as well be about it. Time stamps (which might be an hour off) show me up before 7, and much of the way back up the hill to the pass at 8.30. That walk up was…something. Getting back up the pass, I saw several deer up there grazing, and took the chance to try and snag some photos right through my binoculars. I was surprised at how well this technique seemed to work out, honestly. The images are fuzzy, and clearly “through some sort of lens” effect, but I think I got a couple reasonable ones. Pretty cool. The walk back down was…tough. As always, the switchbacks that were hard enough on the way up seem to grow by infinite leaps and bounds on the way down, and without new sights to unfold before your eyes, the walk back always seems a bit interminable. Nonetheless, I had a good bit of a walk through the woods, and though my feet were getting pretty sore as I got to the last mile back before the car, I was basically able to clear out by noon.

Back through the pass

The tree took *both* paths

Taking shots through my binoculars

And them wondering what the heck I’m doing

Leave a Reply