Who am I kidding? This was not easy in any way…. From September 4-8, I hiked in the Yosemite high country with my buddy Brodie (yes – of “damn you brodie fame). We hiked from Tuolumne Meadow Lodge , up the Lyell Canyon trail, and then up to Vogelsang area. There we stayed for 3 nights, and then hiked out on Sunday Sept 8. It was alternately awful and awesome. Mostly awesome. As we always say these days : “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (and man… I was at “the end” most of the time).
Step 1: The pre-hike
After landing in SF and taking the BART to Berkeley, we set out. We had to go a long way around to R120 E east entrance to Yosemite, because of the RIM fire
We went via Sonora pass 108 and arrived in the Lodge for one night. The winds were from the SW , and would hopefully keep the smoke away from us.
Step 2 : The toil
It started off easy enough… the Lyell canyon trail: “This trail passes through Lyell Canyon, along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. Early in the season, the trail can be muddy in places (please remain on the trail even if it’s muddy). There are several creek crossings, including Rafferty Creek (bridged) and Ireland Creek (unbridged). Spectacular Kuna Creek cascades down the side of the east canyon wall near the eight-mile mark.”
And then it got steep… we turned off the flat trail and up in the general direction of Ireland lake. We camped perhaps ¾ of the way up to the treeline.
Step 3 The wonder of the High Country
The morning was toil, and some tough moments.
But then again, once we got above the treeline and up to the alpine valley and meadow… it was fantastic!
As usual, brodie started trying to figure out a campsite early on… he made it clear that staying in the high country camp was not an option (he is quite the purist). And staying in a lake near them was also not possible. So we climbed up to Townsley Lake, searched for a while, and found a most excellent site, halfway down the lake. And of course, the usual work in setting up camp. We had a good area, and a big rock that became our kitchen and platform for star gazing.
Step 4: The awesome Townsley Lake
It was great exploring the Towsley lake areas. There was swimming in the lake of course. And then hike up to hanging Basket lake. And a side trip to Vogelsang Camp. And on to lower elevation Booth Lake.
Brodie left me at the camp and went up to Vogelsang pass without me, if only be able to brag later. It was ok.
Step 5 – The hike out
The morning was calm and clear.. The lake was still.
I was eager to hike out. Brodie said that morning that I was like “a horse who wants to get back to the stable”. Yes – I was ready. We broke camp, hiked from Townsley to Vogelsang, and down the Rafferty Creek trail to the car… I was happy to make it. Whew