Monday, June 13, 2016

Setting Up for the Passes

Day 60 - June 4 (Happy Birthday to Susan's mom Sherry!)
Mile: 793.5 to 804.1
up/down: 2300/2250 feet

New Fresno County bird: Warbling Vireo 

The 9 major passes leading to Yosemite require the correct timing to safely get over and not expend too much energy floundering in deep snow. For the most part you want to ascend in the early morning while the snow is firm, typically at the top around 9 or 10 am. Then down the other side to below snow line before it softens up and postholing becomes a problem. We have two passes done, Forester and Glen, next up is Pinchot. By camping at Rae Lakes last night we were too far from Pinchot to reach during the right hours, so today was getting to just below the pass for an early ascent tomorrow. We have three more big passes before our next resupply at Vermilion Valley Resort and will use the same technique for each. 

To get here required a long descent from Rae Lakes down the South Fork Woods Creek all the way to the junction with the main Woods Creek at 8550 feet elevation. There was plenty of creek fording all day so our shoes were continuously wet. At the confluence of the two melt swollen creeks we were glad to see the suspension bridge. Thank you park service, this river would otherwise be impassable. 


We traded photos with the other hikers of the wade across Arrowhead Lake outlet 

We turned up the main fork of Woods Creek and followed it for the rest of the afternoon. At the Sawmill Pass junction we bid goodbye to the Woods Creek drainage and turned toward the pass. Shortly after we pulled in at a dry camp spot surrounded by snow, three miles from the pass. We are camped next to the immense Mount Cedric Wright and have a beautiful view of the crest near Woods Lake. 

We've been in Fresno County for a few days now and Susan got her first new bird, a Warbling Vireo. And we passed the 800 mile mark today - yippee!



  1. I'm sure enjoying vicariously hiking with you. It is so nifty to read your accounts and see your wonderful photos. Thank you so much, and congratulations on the 800!