Ten Lakes Basin

July 21, 2020

We survived our second night in the tent. With some pillow (“pillow”) and sleeping pad adjustments, night two was a lot more comfortable than night one.

See how refreshed Jim looks?


This may be my all-time favorite picture of Jim. Something about that look.

It was a startlingly clear and gorgeous morning.. these don’t come close to conveying the sharpness of the light… but here are a couple shots anyway:




The breakfast scene:


And how happy am I that Peter’s doing the dishes? (Super happy.)


He gets to come next year, too.

For a new hike, Jim found an area we’d heard about for decades but had never been to… this seemed like a good year for it: Ten Lakes Basin. You drive west, all the way out of Tuolumne Meadows, past Olmsted, past May Lake turnoff, past Porcupine Flat, past a whole bunch of other turns in the road and finally get to Yosemite Creek. If you get to White Wolf, you’ve gone too far. There’s a small trailhead there for Ten Lakes Basin.

For family stories documentation’s sake, I will briefly describe .. an incident: About half a mile in, we couldn’t remember if we’d locked the car.. nobody could remember hearing the beep. Peter volunteered to go back and check. He left his backpack with us and began jogging back down the trail. Jim and I decide we’ll press on; Peter can catch us up trail a bit, we thought.  I swung his backpack over mine and off we went. An hour goes by and no Peter. We decide to stop and wait. There is nobody on this trail.. except finally we see an old guy (one we’d seen in the parking lot at the trailhead) slowly lumbering up the hill. He tells us he’d seen Peter. Peter asked if the old man had seen us, he hadn’t. This worried Peter, so he went back to the car, thinking we’d gone off trail to pee maybe, then headed back to find him. Or something. Peter, not finding us at the car, and somewhat panicked about our safety, headed back up the trail. At this point, Jim had decided to head back to the car (we were now probably two miles up the trail when he turned around). They met one another somewhere in between. Peter was pissed and worried, then pissed and relieved, Jim was contrite, I was oblivious. I had been worried, but when I saw him, that turned to elation, then a bit of surprise, followed by some defensiveness, then contrition. There was lots of second guessing on everyone’s part. Each of us had a different logic behind our respective choices and conclusions. We talked a lot about all the shoulda’s and about the importance of communication and we agreed that Peter was more right about this one than we were. We redistributed backpacks and started out again, not talking for about a mile. Then things got back to normal.

(Postscript: the reason the car didn’t beep was that my keys were still inside, tucked inside my purse, buried out of sight. Jim had his keys in his backpack. In fact, you can’t lock the car when the key is inside, any of the car’s keys, even if someone outside, with his own key, wishes to lock the car. Take note.)

The first couple miles of this trail offered some great open granite vistas with Yosemite creek cutting through the canyon. The next bunch of miles were largely forested. A neato tree…


With fuzzy bark:


This meadow, about 5 miles in, maybe, was glorious:



It’s 6-ish miles to the pass, maybe 1500 feet of gain.. not bad, except most of that is at the end on the pull up to the pass (700-800′ in about .8 of a mile). It’s a grind. I pulled up the rear. I am getting used to this, but don’t like it. Vowing to lose some weight and work on more leg strength.

Our plan was to go to Grant Lake, another mile off the pass (and down about 400 feet). We’d heard (from Bob, I believe his name was.. the older guy, from Albany, as it turns out) that once at the pass, before you drop into the Ten Lakes Basin (a different direction from Grant Lake), there is an outcropping where you can go for a spectacular view. We decided to do this.

Here’s the view:


That is looking east, down on the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Our lunch spot:


And this is the view south; you can see one of the lakes in Ten Lakes Basin (I hear there aren’t ten lakes.. but that seems odd).



A cute one of Peter.. eating lunch..



Another view with lakes:


A view back up to the pass. You can see J&P ambling back toward the trail:


They decided they wanted to see Grant Lake. I brought a book, so decided I’d sit at the pass and read (see above comment about next year!). I hung out with this grouse…



and this marmot:


The old guy (and really, he wasn’t that old.. just 70), Bob, made it to the pass by this point (we’d passed him again on the trail once we started up again). He was planning on staying out for a few days in the basin. He sat for quite awhile and chatted (at great distance, by the way, due to Covid concerns). That’s where I got a bit of his story. Very nice guy. Besides Bob, we saw only one other threesome of hikers. In a full day of hiking in Yosemite…

This is Jim’s photo of Peter at Grant Lake. Bummed to miss it (see comment above about next year!) …


After Jim and Peter climbed out of the Grant Lake area and got back to me at the pass, we headed down. Power hiked. This is my strength.. and I had all kinds of juice left. That, at least, felt good!

Passed through that sweet meadow in the late afternoon (no mosquitoes this trip.. a few, but nothing bad):


Some bear scat along the way…



Stopped for Jim to deal with a hot spot.. and hung out on this cool log…



Got back in time for a lovely, sunset. No rain this afternoon, but a cold evening!  Beautiful sunset:



And a late dinner in the dark…  pasta with yellow peppers:





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