|Half Dome through the trees|
Leaving camp we continued along the ridge for a short distance before a thousand foot granite wall descent into the Lewis Creek canyon. Along the way we had occasional glimpses of Half Dome and other Tenaya canyon features to the west. Once at Lewis Creek we climbed steadily uphill to the headwaters of this drainage until finally cresting out at Vogelsang Pass (10,480 feet). After a quick snack we dropped down the the lovely Vogelsang Lake then continued on to the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. This camp, one of five such in the backcountry is an extensive tent and permanent structure "city" (there are two more along Tioga Pass Road). Explaining the general absence of hikers seen to that point in the day, we found out they were opening for the season the next day. What wasn't missing was the mule teams as the staff was preparing for visitors with lots of supplies. Not feeling the need to be in the tent ghetto for any longer than necessary, we blew through and headed along the shortest trail to Tuolumne Meadows, Rafferty Creek. Unfortunately for us this is also the trail the mules run back and forth from Tuolumne on so it was pretty torn up. We pulled in to Tuolumne at about 3 in the afternoon with 17 miles under our belt.
|Creek from Bernice Lake as it enters Lewis Creek|
|Lewis Creek valley from climb to Vogelsang Pass|
|Heading into the tent city that is Vogelsang High Sierra Camp|
|A fraction of the structures at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp|
Susan had a brilliant idea along the way - what if we could grab a shuttle bus from Tuolumne to Tioga Pass and skip ahead a few miles. If we hiked over the short Gaylor Lakes trail from near the entrance station we could make it outside the no-camping zone before dark and get ourselves truly set up to finish the hike. Susan flagged down the first shuttle driver who told her where and when we needed to pick up the only shuttle that would be going to Tioga that afternoon. We had an hour to kill so went to the Tuolumne Meadows Grill for burgers and ice cream while waiting!
|Mt Dana and the impending storm|
|Mt Dana from the Gaylor Lakes trail|
|Upper Gaylor Lake|
|Walking past one of the old mine structures|
|Tucked in for the night just outside the park boundary|