Hikes Yosemite, June 2015

In June we took a quick weekend trip up the Yosemite National Park, which is always a treat. We camped two nights at the Tuolumne Meadows campsite (which is huge). Sitting at around 9,000 feet elevation it swings between daytime temperatures in the mid 70s to almost freezing at night.

Gaylor Lakes

We hiked the Gaylor Lakes trail, which starts just west of the eastern entrance to the park, and quickly climbs up a hundred meters or so of elevation gain, before descending again to a basin with the trails' namesake lakes, then climbing to the remains of an old mine, where you can enjoy a view into the Eastern Sierra - almost to Nevada if the air is clear.

At the top of the ridge you have a panoramic view down to Gaylor Lake (and a moment of thinking - "Damn, we need to hike back up that on the way back").

Once you've descended from the ridge, the view of Middle Gaylor lake is almost like an infinity edge pool - a valley drops off just to the west of the lake, giving it an impressive feeling of being a hanging lake with a long view to the next mountainous ridge.

The trail to continue upwards goes around one quarter of the the lake shore, which was ringed with amazing fields of pink wildflowers in bloom. We decided to complete the circumnavigation of the lake on our way back, after hiking up to the upper lake and the mine beyond.

From the lake, the trail goes up a gradual basin with a creek running down the middle to the Upper Gaylor Lake, a smaller, rockier (and windier!) lake.

After a short break at the upper lake (My sea-level lungs were really feeling the effects of the altitude), we continued up above it, which yields a great view of both lakes.

At the top of the final ascent there are the remnants of an old mine - several stone structures, some wooden beams, and one big hole in the ground that amusingly had a very sad pile of snow sitting in the bottom of it.

We continued on over a few very small ridges to get the panoramic view beyond Yosemite's eastern border, into the Eastern Sierra, which is probably my favorite part of California, geologically speaking.

Tioga Lake

On our way home we stopped at Tioga lake for a short, flat walk along the forested lake shore, where we encountered hardly anyone except more pink wildflowers, and an unexpected inquisitive marmot. With the Panasonic 14-140 lens fully extended to get a closeup, none of the still I took were sharp, but the video was.