Overview: Vicki and I went backpacking for nine days in a large loop, south from Yosemite National Park on the Mono/Parker Pass Trail into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. We then bushwacked off-trail west above Waugh Lake and were rewarded with some stunning views of the Minarets, Mount Banner, Ritter Peak, Mount Davis, Rodgers Peak, and Mounts Lyell and Maclure. We eventually hiked back north to Tuolumne Meadows via the Lyell Canyon Trail. Side trips included visits to Marie Lakes, Thousand Island Lake, Ireland Creek, Evelyn Lake, Rafferty Creek and the Vogelsang area. It was a memorable and excellent experience!
Day 0 Summary: Get to Yosemite, camp in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers campground, get our final preparations completed, climb a dome, and have one last hamburger and bowl of ice cream.
Day 1 Summary: Starting at the Mono Pass trailhead, hike to Parker Pass, leaving Yosemite and entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness (because we’re not allowed to camp in the Tuolumne River Watershed).
Day 2 Summary: Hike over Koip Pass (elevation 12270 feet) and camp at Alger Lakes. Day-hike to Koip Peak, elevation 12962 feet.
Day 3 Summary: Hike over Gem Pass (elevation 10477 feet), then head off-trail to the ledge above Waugh Lake.
Day 4 Summary: Continue hiking off-trail arriving closer to the PCT/JMT and Donoghue Pass. Visit Marie Lakes as a day-hike. The hailstones, snow, and thunderheads were extra!
Day 5 Summary: Layover Day. Day-hiked to Thousand Island Lake on the PCT/JMT via Island Pass (elevation 10205 feet).
Day 6 Summary: Hike over Donohue Pass (elevation 11056 feet), enter Yosemite, and camp in Lyell Canyon.
Day 7 Summary: Hike up the Ireland Creek Trail, and camp at Evelyn Lake.
Day 8 Summary: Day-hike to the lakes near Vogelsang, then hike down the Rafferty Creek trail and camp.
Day 9 Summary: Hike out to the car in Tuolumne Meadows. Eat burgers, fries, and ice cream immediately.
For what I consider to be the best photos and videos of the entire trip see my Flickr Page.
For an interactive topographic map including our GPS tracks see my CalTopo Page.