Kevin's Hiking Page    
     

Leavitt Meadows to Virginia Lakes

Day 2 of 8

Previous Day | Trip Home | Next Day


Monday, August 18th
Hidden Lake to Lake Harriet
7.9 miles
1706 vertical feet (ascent)
324 vertical feet (descent)
6:19


View full map

GPX File

We woke up around 7:15am (sunrise was about 6:45am), the rain fly still off. Around 9am, a ranger came by and checked our permit. She was the only ranger we saw on the entire trip (and thus the only time we had to show our permit). I was a bit surprised, thinking we'd see someone in Yosemite later on. In any case, I asked her about the mud and she explained there was a mud slide about a month ago. Then she went ahead and checked the rest of the lake before leaving.

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake

We took our time, finally leaving camp around 10:45am. We climbed back up and over the hill, then back to the main trail. A large group of backpackers, mostly kids (boy scouts?) came by at this moment, heading toward the trailhead. One of the adults asked if we were going to Fremont Lake (a large lake nearby), but I told him we were planning to go to Stella Lake today. I'm sure he would have been surprised if I had said we were taking our kids on an 8 day adventure.

Creek crossing near Hidden Lake

After about a half mile, the trail forks, with the left fork being for hikers and the right fork for stock (horses). We kept to the left, the trail continuing south next to the river. After about 0.7 miles, we reached another intersection, with the right fork heading toward the aforementioned Fremont Lake. We took a snack break, then continued straight toward Piute Meadow. After a bit more than half of this 2+ mile stretch, we ran into an older couple heading in the opposite direction. The male hiker said he'd somehow lost his foot care kit at a rest stop the day before, and they were cutting their trip a bit short. I felt bad for him, but at this point there wasn't anything we could do.

West Walker River

West Walker River

View along the trail

Up to this point the trail had been fairly easy - some ups and downs, but soon the climbing would begin in earnest. We rock-hopped across the river, made our way across the meadow, and started a 900 foot climb in 1.5 miles. The first 500 feet of climbing came in the first mile (after which we took a short break), then the last 400 feet came in the last 0.4 miles. As we climbed, we started to get some of our first real views of the surrounding mountains. Supposedly there is Cascade Falls next to the trail, as well, but we never saw it. The creek was in a deep gorge, and we never saw the water from the trail, though we could hear it.

Looking back down from the climb along Cascade Creek

Looking back down from the climb along Cascade Creek

Mushroom

Mushrooms

Meadow at Cascade Creek crossing

As the day went on, we discussed stopping at Lake Harriet instead of Stella Lake. It would make the next day slightly harder, but the rest of my family was fine with that. I didn't mind, but said we'd reach Harriet and decide then. It was only another 200 feet of climbing to Lake Harriet, during which we crossed the creek twice again. We reached Lake Harriet at about 5pm, then started looking for campsites. There were some nice sites between the trail and the lake, and we settled on one on a shelf above the lake.

Another creek crossing

Lake Harriet

Lake Harriet was much more picturesque and accessible than Hidden Lake. We could walk down to the granite shore and enjoy the nice refreshingly cold water. We wouldn't have the luxury of sleeping with the rain fly off anymore, though. And we knew we had a tougher day looming tomorrow.

Lake Harriet


Previous Day | Trip Home | Next Day


Related Pages:




 Kevin's Hiking Page    
Copyright © 1995-2017 Kevin L. Gong