Young Lakes 2015 Gradpacking

I had the pleasure of guiding eight recent THS WildLink Club alumni on a crazy hike to Young Lakes out of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite June 8-10. The hike was a bit longer than expected and we had to leave a day early to beat a storm that was headed our way. Regardless, we all made it and saw an amazing sunset at Lower Young Lake. The fishing was pretty decent for 8-12" brookies.
The crew before the hike in front of Lembert Dome.  Dino, Isai, Shawn, Jon, Steve, Juan, Miriam, Sara, Erika, Lindsay, Trevor, Kevin. Trevor, Dino, Testo, Sara & Lindsay wondering what they have gotten themselves into. Shawn, Juan, Erika, Isai walk around Lembert Dome to the trailhead.  The front edge of Lembert was plucked-off as glaciers flowed over the top of this spot as recently as 10K years ago. Linsday, Trevor, Dino, Sara, Miriam.
We're going the right way! Cathedral Peak with a deer butt in the foreground. Oh Deer! Trevor was still smiling at this point in the trail.
I just thought these trees were interesting. Steve takes a catnap to adjust to the altitude. Everyone was happy to get to Delaney Meadow to "see" some views.  The trees had boxed us in for the first several miles.  Delaney Creek. Crossing Delaney Creek.
I immediately exclaimed that I was going to bring Zephyr and Laura back to Delaney Creek this summer.  It was gorgeous! Mt Gibbs was looking splendid in the afternoon light.  Mt Dana is to the far left. Mt Dana, Mt Gibbs and the Kuna Crest with a sweet erratic in the foreground.  Judging by the lack of feldspar megacrysts, its probably Half Dome Granodiorite and not Cathedral Peak Granodiorite... but I forgot to look closely. Trevor, Lindsay and Testo.
Dingley Tundra / Meadow.  What a view!  The many miles of tree-bound trail made this view something to savor. Dingley Creek with the Cathedral Range in the background. Testo appears concerned about Steve's agility. Fording the mighty Dingley Creek.
View to the southeast from Dingley Creek.  I think the peaks on the far left are those of the Ritter Range.  Pretty sure they're Banner Peak and Mt Ritter. Almost there!  Just another mile and a half to go! Lindsay was doing awesome to get to this point.  We made sure to turn around and take in the views. These views redeemed the crappy miles of forested trail.
The butt-end of Ragged Peak. Camp! Just in time for sunset fishing and photos!  Lots of great spots near lower Young Lake for large groups. Lower Young Lake looking to the south. Due to time constraints, this is the only lake I was able to make it to.  The peaks are all comprised of Cathedral Peak Granodiorite. Almost there... at this point my new Nikon D750 started having bizarre shutter release button issues, so even getting the next few photos was a miracale.
Lower Young Lake and fishing ripples. At sunset. Lower Young Lake. The rocks to the east of Ragged Peak caught the fading light and made it dance. The next morning we awoke to amazing blue skies and sweet reflections of Ragged Peak.  Luckily I knew a huge storm was brewing and we didn't want to be anywhere near the area in a few hours.
The breeze picking up over the waters was our sign to head home even though we had just arrived 16 hours earlier. We made it!  We're going home! Miriam & Sara. Erika and Dino and Steve.  Notice the bleak skies that have rolled-in.
RJH 0973 Juan attempts the most difficult creek crossing. We decided to change things up a bit on the hike home and take the Glen Aulin trail back to the trailhead.  It was basically all downhill without the sneaky ups and downs that the trail out of Dog Lake presented. A small nest was spotted by Trevor on the way down.  It was about six inches in diameter.
Nearing Tuolumne Meadows.  Fairview Dome in the center and Cathedral Peak to the left of center. RJH 1017 Threatening clouds moved-in by noon and continued to build on the way out. Unicorn Peak is the center, Cockscomb distant center, Echo Peaks, Cathedral Peak and Fairview Dome. One of these rocks is not like the others.  The large chunk of greenish rock is metamorphosed volcanic ash.  I was brought down the hill by glaciers from the Saddlebag Lake region a few miles away.
We took a break to fill our water bottles at Delaney Creek.  Trevor bent down and found this cool piece of flaked obsidian.  Awesome connection to the past. We made it before the heavens opened-up! 15 miles of hiking in 24 hours... we were happy to head downhill to warmer and hopefully drier conditions in Lee Vining Canyon. We devoured four pizzas at the Whoa Nelly Deli and got to see the clouds stack up in the pass.
Ah, a nice campfire to sit around and tell stories! This is why we skipped breakfast... we had to break camp in this misery.   But at least we were headed home to 100 valley heat!  Yay!