05 July 2012

Yosemite: Sunrise Lakes

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

I woke up cozy and the inside of the tent dry. Others had not been so cozy overnight, but that is a danger of trying to pack light. I personally had tossed my thick fleece at the last minute, but didn't end up missing it. I got up and had a clockwise jaunt around the lake while the moon still hung in the sky.

moon over the lake as the tips of the mountain turn golden
Looking out over the lake as the shadows move down the mountain and the moon lowers in the sky.

sun coming up over Cathedral Peak
About to get nice and sunny as the shadows retreat down the mountains.


morning mist rising from the lake
A layer of mist rising up out on the lake. A video from a different spot is here.

birds on a dead tree
Some more of those grey birds hanging out in the dead top of a tree.

deer grazing on the far side of the lake
Looking back to where I was just a few minutes ago, a deer is grazing along the use trail.

I had some breakfast and packed up, then relaxed a little longer as the rest got ready. Today, the goal was Sunrise Lakes, which are on a second trail that joins the Muir Trail at the Sunrise High Sierra Camp. We generally broke into pairs and started climbing out of the lake basin and up to the pass.

sign at the junction
Back up to the junction, Sunrise HSC is in 4.5 miles. Merced Lake is in 15.7 and Yosemite Valley is 19.6 miles down. This mileage doesn't agree with the initial trail sign.

trail to the upper Cathedral Lakes
The trail gets a little high and barren looking as we continue to Upper Cathedral Lake.

upper Cathedral Lakes
A few small lakes near Upper Cathedral Lake, which the trail has been rerouted to skirt outside of the delicate meadow.

the large lake, through the trees
A tree obscured view of Cathedral Lake from the pass.

After the pass, the trail passes a nice meadow and then continues to climb. Near the top, we stepped to the side for lunch just in time to miss another train of 5 mules heading to the high sierra camp. We found a very nice view for lunch.

northeast over the meadow and pass below
Looking out over the meadow the trail passed to the side of just after the pass on the other side of it.

Continuing on, we spotted the pair in front of us starting to leave the trail and cut across a meadow. A little chatting and we found that the pair before had also done so and were striking out to pop over the low ridge at the far side and catch the trail by the highest Sunrise Lake. After gathering a little water, we followed along. The map shows that ridge to be a little lower and it trimmed off a few miles from the day.

a little way down the valley and Clark Peak
Starting down again, we see a few new mountains. Very high mountains. Including one mountain that some people are particularly obsessed about.

bit of meadow with Clark Peak in the background
Cutting across the meadow to the low ridge between us and Upper Sunrise Lake.

purple paintbrush
Some paintbrush in purple, which doesn't seem to be a common color for it at all.

Cairns had been placed rather randomly and unnecessarily along the route over the ridge. We pulled out the compass, but could see the peaks to either side of the saddle fairly well through the sparse trees. We came upon a pond that is almost visible upon the map, then dropped down further to reach the upper lake and all of its mosquitoes.

a family of ducks on the pond
A small pond and its inhabitants.

hiking down and past the little pond on the ridge
Making our way past the little pond on the ridge.

We stopped by the upper lake to fish. The mosquitoes were the worst here, but that seemed like a good reason to expect the fishing to be the best as there were plenty to keep a large population fed. Maybe it works that way, maybe not, but we did pull a fish out of that lake. I painted a bit of the shoreline, but first I pulled on something with sleeves to keep the mosquitoes off.

lake and meadow
A little part of the upper Sunrise Lake that is closest to the ridge we came over.

lake and trees
Looking toward the outflow side of the upper Sunrise Lake.

After figuring out how to carry the rather large fish, we continued down past a lower lake and on to a third lake where the rest were waiting and swimming. We found them having swum out to a large log sticking out in the middle of the lake and stopped for a little more fishing. Unfortunately, there were no more fish forthcoming.

a pond at the outflow of the lake
The trail crosses the outflow of the last lake, which empties to a small pond before continuing down the mountain.

the lake from the outflow
A little section of the last Sunrise Lake, from our point of view, just after crossing the outflow.

After setting up camp, the one fish was fried up and more fishing was done. It was getting quite cold as the jumping fish would indicate that the fishing was good. One more fish was landed, but it managed to slip away again after being hauled within a few feet of the shore. It was another nice sized fish, but close doesn't count. And so we snuggled our way back into our sleeping bags in anticipation of the next day.

a few more flips of the fishing pole atempted
Making a little more effort to catch another fish, but not managing any.

a bunch of small white flowers
Flowers in a tiny meadow on the side of the lake.

purple shooting stars and some yellow flowers
Shooting stars in that same tiny meadow by the side of the lake.

sunset colors on the top of the far wall in Sunrise Lake
The sunset painted the far wall, which looks like a monster was slammed into it at some point in the distant past, with bright orange.

Continue reading: day 4




©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 13 Jul 2012

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