Whenever I make a return visit to a location as high on my list of favorite-places-on-earth as Yosemite, the sensory experience of being there has the effect of stimulating a host of old memories of really great camping and hiking trips from years past. When planning a day’s hiking, it can be hard to decide whether to use a route that you know already from a past hike that was especially rewarding somehow, or to seek out new experiences by looking for the best of what you may have missed on previous visits. We have a whole collection of maps and books that we’ve collected over the years. Perusing them all can actually be a little daunting. But on this trip Sue stumbled across a trail description from a little old dog-eared book from who knows when. The book is from a series called High Sierra Hiking Guides by Wilderness Press, copyrighted 1970. These little books do not include any maps. They’re really only collections of trail descriptions, with basic directions on how to get to trail heads, and some marginally useful photos. I do have some nice National Geographic topo maps but they can only show you so much. Reading from the guide book for the Tuolumne Meadows area, there is a fairly detailed description of a route called the “Vogelsang Loop”. The route is a 28+ mile high country loop that is better undertaken as a backpacking trip. Surely this is not the kind of terrain to march over like you were trying to set some kind of record. We’re really just looking to have a nice time in the mountains while recharging the proverbial batteries. But we noticed something interesting. Another of the hike descriptions focuses on a portion of the same loop as an out-n-back to a place called Nelson Lake. The hike begins from the Elizabeth Lake trailhead, which begins at the same campground we were at. However, checking all of our maps, they all show the trail ending in the vicinity of Elizabeth Lake. Searching beyond to the south, Nelson Lake is shown as a feature, but with no trail leading there. Even still, the area seemed very inviting, secluded, and surrounded by unique terrain features, capturing our interest. Obviously there was a trail there at one time, so after considering all the options and making absolutely sure to put fresh batteries in the GPS just in case, we decided to use that tattered old trail description to lead us to this place called Nelson Lake. We were well prepared, but I was expecting this hike to be a lot of fun no matter what happened.
|Elizabeth Lake and Unicorn Peak|
|Cloudy view from the pass|
|Zoomed view to Vogelsang Peak|
Click here to see the track log at EveryTrail
Click here to see the photos on flickr