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Trail Journals

Yosemite High Sierra Camp Loop


Pages:   Introduction   1   2   3
 
Day 3 - To Merced Lake Map: Sunrise High Sierra Camp
Between Domes
Between Domes
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Merced Lake
Merced Lake
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There are two ways to proceed from Sunrise High Sierra Camp. You can stick to the trail, which means backtracking to that junction you passed yesterday. From there you will turn right, climb over the pass and down the other side. The other option provides an exciting cross-country shortcut. If your route finding and map reading skills are not great or if you are unsure about your ability to hike down a very steep granite slope you should follow the trail. If you are thinking of doing the cross-country route you can talk to people about it at camp. Somebody, especially camp employees, are likely to be familiar with it. The following description should give you a general idea of the route, but as is always the case with off-trail travel you are essentially on your own. This description should be used as a general guide only.



So, if taking the cross-country route you will walk across the meadow from the camp. On the map you will see a stream passing through here and you will want to generally follow this stream. Once you get to the large dome to your left you will begin to descend to a meadow where there is a small lake. Two more domes stand before you and the stream in this meadow passes between them. You will make your way to the point where this stream passes between the domes. From there you will descend carefully down the steep granite slope, keeping to the right of the stream. As you descend you will likely be heading further to the right rather than going straight down.



Once you reach the bottom you will walk away from the domes and turn right when you reach the trail. This trail descends gently for several miles. Once you cross the first footbridge you will continue maybe 100 feet or so and then take a break at the river. This is a great rest stop.



After about a mile and a half you will cross another bridge. Soon after the trail will begin to descend more quickly. After a steep descent you pass a junction, but continue straight. The trail levels out a bit before switchbacking down to Echo Valley. You pass a gate on the way down which you will close behind you. Once in the valley there will be more bridges and a junction. You will continue left at this junction.



After hiking for maybe a mile the trail begins to climb again. Shortly after you begin this climb you will come to a spot where you can see a small pool below. This makes for another good rest spot and swimming hole. The trail climbs for a bit before it continues just above the Merced River with more views. Before long the trail becomes flat again as it arrives at Merced Lake.



Once you arrive at the lake you continue along a fairly narrow area between the mountain and the lake. This trail is full of Apsen and the worlds largest Sugar Pine (at least I think it's a Sugar Pine - at any rate it's the largest something). Just at the far side of the lake is the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp.

Day 4 - To Vogelsang High Sierra Camp Map: Emeric Lake
Cobblestones
Cobblestones
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Meadow
Meadow
PostcardMap This Picture

Continue along the trail from the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. The trail begins to climb above the camp before levelling out. You will get to a junction and a ranger station in just under a mile. Turn left here where the trail begins to climb immediately. This trail continues to climb for quite a while and it provides a very tough workout. The trail is made up of "cobblestones" for quite a ways. I think the trail crews who made this trail thought these cobblestones would make it easier, but you will learn to hate them.



After a little more than a mile you reach a trail junction. You can turn right here and get to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp by way of Vogelsang Pass. However, we keep to the left.



With the cobblestones behind you the trail mellows out a bit and actually descends a little. Soon you cross over a footbridge and begin to climb again. You get some really good views here, but it's a hard walk up. Eventually you make it up past the dome and into a meadow. The trail remains flat here for a while. You will pass a junction to Babcock Lake, but continue straight.



At the back of this meadow you get to a small pool beneath a cascade. The trail begins to climb again and at the top you will come upon one of the most beautiful meadows. The trail is fairly flat through here and crosses the river a few times. There are also two trail junctions here, the first to Emeric Lake and the second soon after goes to Boothe Lake. You will want to keep to the right at both junctions.



At the back of this meadow the trail begins to climb again, though not as steeply as any of the days previous ascents. However, you are likely tired now so this simple climb is not entirely easy. This part of the trail is forested, but the trees become more sparce as you ascend closer to timberline. Eventually you pass a small, gated compound used by the packers who supply the camp. In a few short minutes you will se the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. This is definately the jewel of the High Sierra Camp system.

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