Yosemite/Ansel Adams Wilderness Backpacking Trip
September 4 - September 12, 2011

Bob solo: 7 Nights, 8 Days, 70 miles - Favorite Photos (Click For Route and Elevation Profile, Videos, Luck, Memorable, Food/Nutrition, Animals, Foolish)

Garnet Lake on the last morning of the trip with Banner Peak in center - cloud covered

Bob just starting out - 44 lb pack

On the way to Little Yosemite Valley, looking back down the canyon

First lake on way to Foerster Peak/Blue Lake Pass - no longer on trail

Meadows were covered with flowers at 10,000 to 11,000 foot elevation

This is Blue Lake Pass below Foerster Peak. I was hoping to continue cross country over this, but decided it was too risky. On my very first backpacking trip in 1969, I and two others had come across and down Blue Lake Pass coming from the other direction. I was hoping to backtrack along that route. I have no idea how we successfully came down that rocky incline.

This campsite near the edge of a cliff had a beautiful view at sunrise.

As I crossed Vogelsang Pass, the temperature dropped, there was thunder, and a substantial hail storm hit. The path quickly covered in ice. The third photo shows Vogelsang Lake.

First view of Vogelsang Trail Camp. When I got there, employees told me all tent cabins were full, but for $100 cash, I could have a cot with mattress in an employee tent cabin with a woodburning stove. I had $90 cash, which was acceptable. Cajun and Bry helped get the tent in order. Kevin, on the right, had also gotten a bed. Kevin is moving to Sonoma, near where we live, so I hope to see him again.

Evelyn Lake, on the way down from Vogelsang Camp to Lyell Canyon, on way to Donohue Pass

This small lake is on the way up to Donohue Pass. Using the stepping stones was tricky. Someone camped there said others had waded it, barefoot. I made it over the stones. In the second picture, I am on the wrong track. Fortunately, the two guys below, JC and Martin showed me the right way.

Just after crossing Donohue Pass. Magnificent scenery and meadows covered in flowers.

Thousand Island Lake, the last large lake before Garnet Lake.

Garnet Lake campsite with Banner Peak in background in morning. An hour later I took the photo at the top of this webpage. What a difference! Then I spent a couple of hours hiking along Garnet Lake looking for a long lost camera, before packing up and heading out.

The last of the hike. An insane, vertical, slim "staircase", followed by a wet and cold day of hiking, including getting lost. Fortunately, 3 German astrophysicists were backpacking out, ran into me, and kindly led me to safety. They took this last photo of me (the battery in the camera was going dead) - soaked and shivering, then they even gave me a ride to Mammoth Lakes, where I stayed at a Motel 6 and took the longest, hottest shower I have ever had. All in all, this trip was a wonderful, wonderful trip.

Trail Route

Click on map locations to see photos of that location, some not shown above, e.g., Blue Lake Pass has several more photos.

Elevations Along Trail
(Underestimates distance)

Videos from the trip

Luck - Life is sweet

Most memorable events:

Food, Nutrition, Results:

On this trip, I carefully weighed all the foods I carried with me before and after the trip. So I knew after the trip exactly how much I had eaten of each type of food. I then used the information provided on nutritiondata.com and/or on the food packaging to calculate how much of each nutrient (calories, vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein) I had eaten over the course of the 8 days on which I backpacked.

I also measured my own weight and % body fat (my scale tells me both) before and after.

In summary:

My food consisted of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, cheese, salmon, brewers yeast, Triscuits, and a packet which included vitamin C and some other vitamins. (see detailed chart here) None of this requires cooking, so I did not have to carry a stove. The food by itself weighed almost 14 lbs at the beginning of the trip and could barely be crammed into the bear canister.

I also included the two bananas and basket of fresh black figs I had the day I drove up to Yosemite, since that was also my first day of backpacking and I wanted to include all food eaten over the 8 backpacking days.

I ate an average of 2,424 calories a day, compared to my normal consumption of 1,850 calories, a 31% increase in calories.

My diet was 39% fat, compared to a normal 19%.

I ate 94g of protein a day, compared to a normal 70g.

Of the 21 vitamins and minerals I tracked, I was low in recommended amounts of the following 5:

If I had not consumed the 1 packet of "Supplement-Emergen-C, Raspberry flavored,9.4g" - which was awful, even mixed with water (and I normally avoid all supplements), I would also have been deficient in:

I was surprised at first at how little Vitamin C one gets from dried fruit, of which I ate a lot.

My weight did not change, but my % body fat dropped from its usual 17% or so to 15% and below. This low a body fat measure on this scale is very low for me. Looks like hiking 9 miles a day with a 40 lb pack and, on average, ascending 2,400 ft per day and descending 1,860 ft per day burns fat and builds muscle.

A couple of days after I got back, I jogged (as fast as I could) 3 miles. I was hoping for a faster time than usual, which I got, but the pace only dropped from 8:57 a mile to 8:52 a mile. I'm 64 years old, 5'7" and currently weigh between 139 and 140 lb.

As far as water goes: For 10 years my family has used the First Need Water Purification system on our backpacking trips. I highly recommend it. To test it before you start on a trip, you are supposed to put in a couple of droplets of red dye in some water, then use the filter, which is supposed to give back pure water. In fact, we find it more fun to take a glass of red wine and run that through. It turns the wine into water. It is easy to use. I used it throughout the trip and found myself filling a quart bottle 3 to 4 times a day, so I was drinking just under a gallon a day of water.

Some Wild Animals

If I am right, these are photos of a gopher, pika, and a marmot.

Rubber Boa. Identified for me by Gary Nafis of Californiaherps.com. The second photo shows it was springtime at 10,000 ft - tadpoles in abundance. This is a tiny section of a pond that was filled with them in the meadows below Foerster peak.

Foolish People

This year alone several people have died in Yosemite being swept over falls. I am sure in each case these people thought everything looked safe. There are fences and warning signs. Given the publicity about these deaths, I was surprised how many people had gone around the fences, ignored the signs, and were enjoying being right next to or in the water. It looked pretty safe to me, too, but also pretty foolish. These photos are from Nevada Falls, but the same was going on at Vernal. I was surprised at Nevada Falls that rangers were leaning against the protective fence, not interfering with those beyond. Perhaps it was safe that day:

Where the water begins to churn, the Falls begin. Note that the rocks in the churn in the second photo match the picture in the danger sign.

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By The Author:

Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
September, 2011