Hidden Lake

July 27, 2016

We were looking for an easy day–as Tuolumne Peak is in our sights for tomorrow–but also wanted something we’d not done before… hard to find those uncharted destinations, within the day’s hike perimeter of Tuolumne Meadows tent cabins.

Jim suggested a little off trail hunt for Hidden Lake.

Which we did.

Started at Olmsted, which we sure don’t do often–not much goes out of there, and what does is down. Ambled along the trail that leads to Yosemite Valley (the valley’s about an 8-11 mile hike or so from Tuolumne.. which is funny because it takes about an hour and a half to get there via car). This trail zigs around beneath the Olmsted turnout; you’re within earshot of the dozens of cars parked at the vista point parking lot above you. Feels like too much humanity when you’re trying to have a wilderness experience, but soon enough, after about a half mile, we bore off trail and out of earshot of the road.

We spent a bunch of time bushwhacking around, then up the side of a big hill, and along a particular contour, confident the lake was more or less at our level, but further beyond/around. Jim scouted, found the lake, and we proceeded.

Here was our first view:


Nice, huh? Not a granite-bound lake, like so many, but also not mosquito infested. And we were utterly alone. It was only about a mile from Olmsted, as the crow flies, but with no trail, it doesn’t appear to attract folks.

Spent about an hour by the lake… Peter did this:


Jim and I did this:


And then we decided to try a different out. We headed to the top of the granite slope behind us, instead of retracing our bushwhacked steps:


At the top of that rise, we found we were in four-bars-of-service land! So we did a little of this:


For about another hour. Caught up with the world…that was fun.

Continued our amble through a forested area that looked like this… this is Peter practicing his golf swing:


Then, we’re almost to the top of the ridge:


Got to the top and got this view… Tenaya Canyon is to right, not visible in this picture, and straight ahead in the distance, the domes and peaks of Tuolumne Meadows, with Tenaya Lake in view. You can even see Olmsted point down and in the foreground. We will head there after spending time taking in the fantastic views.


Here’s a bit to the left:


Peter and me. The photo shows the terrain made for some good boulder scrambling:


The trip down from there was easy and fun. In future, we’ll pick our way up this ridge, rather than mess with the bushwhacking round back. Loved the area. Made for a sweet hike.

Drove back through the meadow… got this shot of Lembert… Tuolumne Meadows’ iconic structure that borders the east end:


We didn’t even climb it this year!

Returned early enough to have lots of time for gin rummy… that has been our pattern: breakfast, hike, gin rummy, newspaper (after all, the Democratic National Convention is underway!) and beer, chips, sodas, etc. ┬áThen shower, read a bit, dinner, maybe campfire, maybe more gin rummy… and do it all again the next day.