|Rugged Peak, inverted|
August 2, 2019
Place: Yosemite National Park, California
Coordinates: 37.937938, -119.345831
Length: 8.5 miles
The fifth and last morning of our backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park was as bright and clear as all those before it. We took our time getting up and out of the tent, preparing and eating our breakfast in leisure and slowly putting our things in order and packing everything.
|Early morning at Young Lake|
|The morning sun taking a bath at Young Lake|
Standing guard near the trail was the robin, our acquaintance from yesterday, seeing us off.
|Our hike from Young Lake to the Lambert Dome as captured by my GPS (yes, there was a glitch in the recording, we didn't really teleported anywhere else from Dog Lake).|
We came down to a green bog with a pretty little creek running through it. It was there that we had to use our last deet and hope that the mosquitoes go easy on us for the rest of the day.
Past the bog the forest closed in around us and the trail assumed a much steeper slope. We are going down quickly toward a deep valley below.
We were running out of drinking water and, seeing a pretty waterfall (tiny, in Yosemite's scale) off to the side, we decided to take a short break to rest a bit and to fill up on water. We stayed by the trail, not going all the way to the waterfall which was off to the side. It was a bit further fro the trail than I first estimated but the main reason was a small group of backpackers that decided to have spent the night over there rather than going all the way up to Young Lake. Perhaps they arrived there too late in the evening to make it all the way to the lake. Either way, we felt apprehensive about going through their little camp to get to the waterfall and settled for filling our bottles from the creek that it fed.
Past our waterfall stop the trail leveled off again, then begun to ascend, mildly at first but then getting steeper. My friend was surprised that we were going up again after I had promised her that this day would be all downhill. But this was just a short distance uphill compared with our entire hike for that day.
Soon after starting uphill the trail forked - right toward Glen Aulin were we has passed our first night and left - toward Dog Lake and eventually to Lambert Dome where we were parked. We continued left.
The higher part of this uphill trail segment was mostly exposed granite outcrops and gravel with space pine trees. Many wildflowers were blooming between the rocks and on the thin gravel. Many of them I've seen already on the previous days.
|Sanddune Wallflower, Erysimum perenne|
Familiar or new, I loved seeing all that colorful display around me. Spring in the Sierras is truly something special.
|Three-leaved Lewisia, Lewis triphylla|
|At the highest point|
|View south to Cathedral Ridge|
|Sierran Stickseed, Hackelia nervosa|
Ahead of us a large granite dome loomed over where the trail was seemingly going. Perhaps because of its size it appeared closer than it actually was, and our way there yielded many fine sights.
|Alpine Mountain Sorrel, Oxyria digyna|
|One-seeded Pussypaws, Calyptridium monospermum |
|Lupine, Lupinus sp.|
The soil was drier and more gravely in that area. Naturally, it affected the population of wildflowers that were blooming there.
|Spreading Phlox, Phlox diffusa|
|Prickly Sandwort, Eremogone aculeata|
The plateau dipped again and the trail started meandering between small groves and large boulders. Every step of the way were lovely wildflowers blooming, and even on our fifth day I was still seeing species that were new to me.
|Green-leaved Raillardella, Raillardella scaposa|
|Silky Raillaedella, Raillardella argentea|
Near the trail of course we got to see these beautiful plants up close.
|Shaggy Lupine, Lupinus covillei|
|Shaggy Lupine, Lupinus covillei|
|Great Red Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata|
It was a lovely spot but we didn't stay there long. After filling our bottles we crossed to the south side and moved on.
|Willow, Salix sp.|
|Brewer's Mountain Heather, Pyllodoce breweri|
As we continued on the forest got thicker and shadier. We welcomed the shade although it was accompanied by an increase in mosquito activity.
The wildflower community shifted again to forest shade-loving species.
|Goosefoot Violet, Viola purpurea|
|Tidy Lupine, Lupinus lepidus|
|Larkspur, Delphinium sp.|
Every now and then we would come across people hiking up the trail toward Young Lake. Not many were coming downhill in the direction we were going, but there was that sole backpacker we saw at the first creek that kept leap-frogging us almost every half a mile or so. He was already a familiar sight - still quiet but now we were nodding one another as we passed each other along the way.
|Cinquefoil, Potentilla sp.|
|PineWoods Lousewort, Pedicularis semibarbata|
|Nude Buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum|
|Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily, Calochortus leichtlinii|
|Hesperia comma butterfly visiting a Wandering Fleabane, Erigeron glacialis|
|Lemmon's Paintbrush, Castilleja lemmonii|
|Clouded Sulphur butterfly|
|A Lustrous Copper butterfly visiting a Groundsel, Senecio sp.|
|Mountain Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana|
|Crimson Columbine, Aquilegia formosa|
|Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel|
|Primrose Monkeyflower, Erythranthe primuloides|
We did pause briefly to look at one thing or another but that barely slowed us down.
Behind us loomed Lambert Dome, now dwarfed in our minds by the enormous High Sierra peaks we have descended from. Any thoughts I had of maybe ascending the dome on our way back were gone when I looked at my watch - it was getting late in the afternoon and we planned to drive to the Carson Pass area that evening still.
I quickly pulled my camera out again and went behind the car. There was the bear, a young, tagged black bear, moving away between the trees.
|Black Bear, juvenile. Hungry.|
I didn't wash the car for a long time after the trip, showing that paw print to everyone who cared to see.
|Black Bear's pawprint|
We were in high spirits, driving down from Tioga Pass to Lee Vining. It was a good, although scary at times, trip. We stopped at Lee Vining to have dinner without having to cook it ourselves, then continued on to a campground near Carson Pass where we found the last available campsite for the night. On the morrow we would join the Calflora botanist group on a very illuminating hike to Lake Margaret before going back home.