Vogelsang and Boothe Lake ~ July 2021

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2021-07-25 10.27.47 The Start

The adventure begins! I hit the trail in Tuolumne Meadows around 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Beginning at the Dog Lake trail head staging area, I head off toward Boothe Lake along the Rafferty Creek trail (by way of the John Muir Trail) en route for the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp area. What’s ahead? Seven plus miles and a two thousand foot elevation gain. What’s also ahead? Afternoon thunderstorms! Not to be deterred, away I go.

Map 1 - TM to Boothe Lake
2021-07-25 16.38.42 Boothe Lake

ELEVATION 9,845 FEET: I made it to Boothe Lake at around 3:30 p.m. I didn’t take photos on the way as it was mostly overcast and/or sprinkling intermittently. The cloud cover was a welcome friend in regard to hiking, as it was a warm day, just not very photo friendly. I wasn’t acclimated at all and could feel the affects of the altitude, which made carrying my pack a bit of a challenge. Ultimately, I did have plenty of time to settle in, rest, and enjoy my dinner with a spectacular view before the real rain storm started around 8 p.m.

MONDAY: Day hiking around Vogelsang!

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2021-07-26 06.51.09 Dinner

The kitchen at sunrise! Tent, rear left.

2021-07-26 06.52.51 Monday Morning

View from Flat Rock Kitchen.

2021-07-26 06.57.48 Morning Coffee

Coffee time! I happily awoke to semi-clear skies. A wee bit puffy in the face from the altitude, I enjoy an early morning moonset over Boothe Lake with my breakfast.

Map - Exploring Vogelsang

Day hiking! More interested in spontenaity and inspiration than a rock solid plan, I set off with a packed lunch and my map to peruse the surrouonds of the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. Top of list were views from Vogelsang Pass, plus a hopeful off road adventure to a little High Sierra jewel named Hanging Basket Lake. Mother Nature had her own plans…

2021-07-26 09.53.16 To Vogelsang

Onward to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and surrounds. Fletcher Peak in the distance.

2021-07-26 13.07.20 VHS Camp

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp area.

2021-07-26 11.03.41 Vogelsang Lake close

Vogelsang Lake and trail to Vogelsang Pass.

2021-07-26 11.06.42 Me Fletcher Peak

Enjoying the trail around Vogelsang Lake, Fletcher Peak behind me.

2021-07-26 13.04.56 VHS Camp

Skeleton of the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp; shuttered 2020-2021.

2021-07-26 12.41.47 Moss

High Sierra magic.

2021-07-26 12.29.08 Vogelsang Lake close

Vogelsang Lake and meadows.

2021-07-26 11.34.38 Vogelsang Lake

Vogelsang Lake – Elevation 10,324′: I believe that’s Rafferty Peak in the distance.

2021-07-26 11.48.00 Vogelsang Pass

Vogelsang Pass – Elevation 10,670′: Gallison Lake to the left with Bernice Lake, nestling below the black peaks of Mount Florence, in the middle.

2021-07-26 11.43.01 Vogelsan Pass Lunch

A delightul little pond at the top of Vogelsang Pass.

2021-07-26 11.08.13 Tree Familly

A sweet family of lodgepole pines near Vogelsang Lake.

2021-07-26 12.54.09 Fairy Home

I found where the fairies live!

2021-07-26 13.43.18 Fletcher Creek

Fletcher Creek flowing down from Townsley Lake. Never did find a trail to Townsley…

2021-07-26 14.17.09 Storm brews

Fletcher Peak up front with Volgelsang Peak in the distance. Those clouds mean business!

2021-07-26 12.00.10 Lunch Spot

Peaceful lunch break with a view.

2021-07-26 13.02.27 Fletcher Creek

Fletcher Creek flowing just above Vogelsang Lake.

2021-07-26 10.51.51 Emeric Lake tight

Emeric Lake in the distance! A must see on my next visit. Maybe Clouds Rest in the way back.

2021-07-26 13.39.06 Fletcher Lake

Fletcher Lake. Met some guys camping in hammocks. Wonder how they faired in the storm??

2021-07-26 14.05.43 Rain Gear

2 p.m. and a few miles from camp. Trek to Hanging Basket Lake foiled by Momma Nature!

TUESDAY: Glory After The Storm!

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2021-07-27 06.07.15 Booth Lake Sunrise

Boothe Lake: The light played and played with this scene for the three days I took it in. The morning alpenglow was the real treat for me. I have a hefty collection of these shots! All different. All beautiful.

2021-07-26 15.03.35 Boothe Rain

Stormy Boothe Lake

2021-07-27 07.01.47 Kitchen

Magical camp site in the morning

2021-07-27 06.22.30 Rainy Tent

She passed the test! My trusty little tent went through an unexpected stress test. A monsoon rolled through on Monday afternoon and lasted all through the night. The lighting, thunder, and blustery winds made the decision to cut my trek short by a day a rather easy one to make. I’m glad I could tell the lightning was very far away. I’ll joyfully hike the Lyell Canyon portion of the JMT on another day.

Map 5 - Boothe to TM

The return! My original plan was to do a loop: Hike up to Vogelsang on Sunday, stay two nights, day hiking around on Monday. Head across towards the John Muir Trail on Tuesday, and then hike out along easy-breezy Lyell Canyon on Wednesday. Considering it absolutely poured rain the day I’d planned to hike Lyell Canyon, I’m very happy with the choices I made. I missed some of the sights I wanted to see, so I’ll be back soon!

2021-07-27 06.45.58 After Rain

Boothe Lake.

2021-07-27 07.20.07 Boothe Lake Meadow

Another view from my campsite at Boothe Lake. This meadow was magical.

2021-07-27 07.00.18 Meadow Grass

Failed attempt to capture water droplets on meadow grass. One day I’ll hike with my real camera.

2021-07-27 09.50.36 Vogelsang Peak

Back down the hill. Crazily enough, not 30-minutes prior to snapping this, it was completely overcast, cold, and I was wearing all my foul weather gear. This was a welcome change!

2021-07-27 10.35.24 Tuolumne Pass

Meadow beauty.

2021-07-27 10.31.37 Tuolumne Pass

My destination far off in the distance. I planned to take my time and let those clouds clear.

2021-07-27 07.00.47 Moon

Moonrise; my campsite for two exciting nights. View of Boothe Lake just to the right.

2021-07-27 07.14.23 Sea Urchin

Sea urchins of the High Sierra!

2021-07-27 09.55.11 Ky

Meet Ky from Santa Cruz. I had just emerged from the Booth Lake trail when Ky comes running toward me. No gear, save a hydration pack, and not at all out of breath. We have a brief chat and I learn he’s an ultra runner. He’d started his morning at the Tuolumne Meadows Ranger Station and would finish his 30-mille run in Curry Village about 7 or 8 hours later. It took me 5 hours to merely hike (with a full pack) from Tuolumne Meadows to where we were having our chat. Go Ky! Great vibe with a kind smille. He was a super fun person to meet.

2021-07-27 10.21.04 Bye-bye maigical place

I love beyond description the mixed terrain of sub-alpine meadows.

2021-07-27 10.31.08 Tuolumne Pass

Rafferty Creek flows through the meadow; Fletcher and Vogelsang Peaks behind.

2021-07-27 10.53.22 Tuolumne Pass

Vogelsang: Farewell and thanks for the memories. You’ve been a unique and beautiful experience!

2021-07-27 11.36.35 Rafferty Creek Trail

Back down into the forest and enjoying the trees, yet missing the high country already.

2021-07-27 15.18.44 Dana Fork

By 3 p.m. I was blissfully soaking my toes in the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. The rest of the day remained equally beautiful. From here, I headed to Tuolumne Meadow’s backpacker camp and found a great site to spend my final evening.

WEDNESDAY: Lovely Elizabeth Lake

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2021-07-28 11.03.37 Elizabeth Lake

Elizabeth Lake – Elevation 9,487′: I believe I received a rare treat; there was only one other person here. That’s Unicorn Peak in the upper right.

2021-07-28 11.25.19 Elizabeth Lake

Unicorn Creek

2021-07-28 11.57.37 Elizabeth Lake

Magical trail run in the rain.

2021-07-28 11.23.15 Elizabeth Lake

Unicorn Creek and meadow on the approach to Elizabeth Lake.

It was a beautiful morning, but I’d learned there was another big storm heading in. I actually wanted to hike to Elizabeht Lake on my arrival day but the weather and the un-preparedness of my backpack did not allow it.

I started hiking to Elizabeth by around 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The rain and thunder were clearly letting their threat be known while I was still on the trail at 11:30. I did get pelted pretty good on my way down and also made it back to my car just in time to miss being exposed to the true downpour. It was actually pretty neat. And such a delight to hike this normally heavily trafficked trail in relative solitude.

My adventure was deliciously finalzied in the mid-afternoon by enjoying a buger and an IPA at the Iron Door Saloon in blazing hot Groveland. So satisfying!

Map 6 - Elizabeth Lake OAB

Final hike/trail run! Back in Tuolumne Meadows, one more walk with beauty, before the next storm breaks in earnest, and heading home.

This photo collection and adventure is dedicated to my grandfather, Urban Wallace. Urban inspired me to explore this place from the ripe age of 8 years old. It took me awhile to finally get here, and the visit was worth every step.

I am profoundly grateful for the influence he and others have provided in creating my deep love and enjoyment of the natural world.


Urban, sporting his signature pose.

This photo collection and adventure is dedicated to my grandfather, Urban Wallace. Urban inspired me to explore this place from the ripe age of 8 years old. It took me awhile to finally get here, and the visit was worth every step.

I am profoundly grateful for the influence he and others have provided in creating my deep love and enjoyment of the natural world.