YOUNG LAKESOur last backpacking trip of the year, I'm sure, as my new job starts tomorrow!
Backpacking is hard. I get tired, dirty, cold, hot, and uncomfortable. Why do we do it? I am not sure. To see beautiful places, to challenge ourselves, to be in nature, to do something simple and uncomplicated, to calm our minds - any of these or maybe none. I have to think about it some more.
Day 1 - Saturday 7/26 - White Wolf - Trouble with Roads
We were delayed on 120 coming in - there was a messy car accident. Looked like someone tried to pass on the 2 lane road and did not succeed.
We love White Wolf Lodge. It is simple and uncrowded. I did not need to sleep as much as last time. Maybe I am getting used to the altitude.
Learned from our dinner companions that 395 north was closed due to a hazardous spill. And 120 going into the valley was closed due to smoke. There were many fires, mostly natural, all over the park.
Day 2 - Sunday 7/27 - On up to Young Lakes
Young Lakes are a series of 3 lakes: Lower Young Lake, Middle Young Lake and Upper Young Lake. Each one is further up than the last. It was very smokey but we went anyway. We started in Tuolumne Meadows, near Lembert Dome.We hiked all the way to Upper Young Lake, which is supposed to be the prettiest and least camped at, which it was and was. 11.5 miles. All uphill. Elevation was at 10,200 feet, a gain of 1600 feet or so.
|Yes - A bald eagle! And we watched him fly...but I was not quick as he was. Middle Lake|
|Our campsite at Upper Young Lake|
|Smoke makes beautiful sunsets|
Day 3 - July 28 - Day Hike to Mt. Conness
We stayed camped at Upper Young Lake for the entire trip. We took day hikes. It was nice to not pack up every morning. We attempted to climb part way up Mt. Conness. There actually was a trail, but we didn't find it until the way back. It was a long way up, somewhere upwards of 12,500 ft. Some hikers much younger than us tripped all the way up and back while we were slogging slowly up halfway. Very very steep, very very sandy. Wind, rain and thunder. At about 11,500 feet, we felt very satisfied, especially when listening to the thunder not too far away. One of the young goats who went to the top said that he turned back once he felt the crackle of electricity and felt his ear hairs raise up. Yeah, me too.
|Upper Young Lake near our campsite|
|Rick purifying water|
|Sticky Monkey Flower|
|On the way to Mt. Conness|
|What used to be a lake on the way up|
|Leaving the strange lakes|
|And further up|
|Looking up the saddle, where I dared not|
This was another exciting off-trail experience. Rick was able to get us down a ridge, across a stream, up another ridge, over a long meadow and down into Roosevelt Lake. It was fun to find our way through the forest. Feeling very wild and clever. A very barren looking lake. It was raining by the time we got there. We sat in our ponchos on the shore. It rained every day, actually.
Day 5 - June 30 - Back out
Up early and left by 7:35, which is pretty good for us. Back down to the other lakes, and out the loop trail that goes back to Lembert Dome. 9 miles. We came across mostly day hikers going to Dog Lake. A few day hikers who seemed to be planning to Young Lakes and back in a day. We ate our hamburger at the Tuolumne grill and headed out. Another delayed journey, 30 minutes on 120 for construction, and then surprise! 120 was closed headed east. Out 140 with more delays. Barely made it to pick up the Albert at dog camp.
|We learned about Hemlock trees. They bend a little at the top, like a santa hat.|
|Middle Young Lake|
|Lower Young Lake|
|Hunchback in a big meadow Rick will remember the name of|