Day 18: Young Lakes backpack, Day 1

Sunday was the beginning of our three day backpack to Young Lakes.  It took a few hours on Saturday night and most of Sunday morning to get everything packed up, but eventually we were ready to go.  Trish and I were using the same packs we had purchased to backpack to Young Lakes with my parents in ‘99, and the kids were sporting their brand new internal frame packs:

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As I watched our son hike towards Cathedral Mountain, I considered the fact that he’s the third generation in our family to do this backpack:

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We were hiking towards Young Lakes via the Glen Aulin trail, so we did a quick side trip to soda springs and Parson’s Lodge, a rustic cabin maintained by the Park Service. Our son did a little reading:

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We were at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation, and on the climbs our labored breathing reminded us that the air is thinner at these heights:

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As we came within a couple miles of Young Lakes, our son said “What’s over that ridge?”, so he and I hiked cross-county to take a look.  The Yosemite Wilderness seems to go on forever:

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We caught up with Trish and our daughter and took a break:

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Here we are hiking below Ragged Peak, which towers above Young Lakes:

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As the sun began to set, we found a nice spot on the Eastern end of the lake to set up our tent.  The view was simply amazing:

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The stars that night were amazing.  The glow at the horizon was from the Rim Fire, burning 50 miles away:

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Here are our hike stats:

Day 16: Hike to twin bridges

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In the morning, we were supposed to attend a Junior Ranger hike leaving from Lembert Dome.  We got there a bit late and couldn’t find the ranger, so the kids scrambled up the face of Lembert dome as high as they could go before it became too steep:

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In the afternoon we took a short hike to the twin bridges across the Tuolumne River near Tuolumne Lodge:

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A deer came down to say hello:

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It goes without saying, but it is so beautiful here:

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Here are our hike stats:

Day 15: Lembert Dome climb

We decided to climb Lembert Dome today.  We hiked out of the campground and across the Tuolumne River where the kids practiced their rock skipping:

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Lembert dome in the distance.  We’re going to climb that!

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Erratics under The Unicorn (left) and Cathedral Mountain (right):

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Seems like we have lots of “taking a break” photographs:

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Eventually we cleared the trees and began our ascent of the dome:

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Looking West towards Tioga Pass:

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At last we summited the dome.  While it wasn’t too steep where we were standing, the dome falls away to sheer cliffs in all directions except the way we came up, so an unarrested fall would have a fatal outcome.  Several times we sat down to settle our shaking knees.

The massive Rim Fire could be seen in the West.  Some days, when the winds blew our way, the air would smell of smoke and visibility would be half a mile or so.  Pretty amazing considering it was 50 miles away:

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Tuolumne meadows from the summit:

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We all breathed a sign of relief when we came down off the dome.  We came down via the Eastern trail to Tuolumne Lodge.  Then it’s a dusty hike back to the campground:

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Here are our hike stats:

Day 14: Pothole Dome ranger program, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP, CA

In the morning, we joined a Ranger program on Pothole dome called “Fire and Ice” that talked about the glacial and volcanic processes that created Yosemite.

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Ranger Mike handed out magnifiers and we inspected the granite to identify its components:

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The dikes, volcanic material squirted up through cracks in the stone, were interesting:

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Wherever a crack forms and water is trapped, Lodgepole Pines take root:

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The unicorn on the distance:

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There were quite a few glacial erratics, blocks of stone carried by the glaciers and left behind when the glaciers melted away.  The erratic below is the size of a washing machine:

 

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In the afternoon, we went for a bike ride.  Everyone rode together for the first five miles:

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Trish took the kids back and I continued on for a total of 15 miles out and back. 

There were great views at Olmstead Point.  Half dome (from the opposite angle from the common view from Yosemite Valley) is on the right:

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Tenaya Lake on the way back:

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Another great day in Yosemite!

Here are the ride stats: