Sierra Nevada - Yosemite National Park - White Wolf-Ten Lakes Trek

On July 4-8, 1973 myself, Gordon Lee, Scott Morton, Dan Curley, Dan Berg, Paul Robotta, Tom Maher, John Smallwood, Nancy Henderson, Everett Papp and Mark Ulman did a 41 mile backpack from White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows.

We left El Cajon at 3 p.m. and drove to the Rock Creek Campground at Tom's Place, arriving about 11:30 p.m. Up at 6 a.m. on Wednesday and drove to White Wolf, where we unloaded, placed one vehicle at Hardin Lake campground and hit the trail about 9:00 a.m.

The mob charged off and most promptly got off the trail at a stream crossing. The trail was pleasant - through trees - good grade. Climbing to the crest above Half Moon Meadow opened up a vast view of the northwestern part of Yosemite from Mt. Conness to the northern boundary peaks. Then dropping off the crest the numerous lakes of the Ten Lakes Basin came into view.

Apparently the first arrivals of our group had sort of scattered around - John and Nancy went on to the next lake beyond the first large lake on the trail - eventually all the people got back together. Many had a good time skinny dipping in the lake and fishing. Weather was mild and the temperatures not too hot or cold and not too many mosquitoes.

White Wolf to Ten Lakes map
White Wolf to Ten Lakes map

Thursday we were up at 6 and on the trail about 8:15. Small difficulty finding the trail, then up past the last large lake and over the crest dropping into the South Fork of the Tuolumne River with great views in many directions. Had lunch in the fine meadow of the South Fork, then up the valley.

The trail switchbacks up a little and then begins a long easy graded ascent up the valley wall in trees. Finally rounded the ridge top near Tuolumne Peak - pleasant little streams and tarns. The early birds went swimming. Gordon and I finally topped the "first" crest and descended to a small rock walled gully where we temporarily lost the trail and started down the gully. Part of the trail was snowed over on the far side of the gully.

We discovered our error and climbed back up to the trail and continued on up over the final crest and the long descent to the May Lake Trail and then down the Tenaya Lake Trail to a cross country ducked route over to Polly Dome Lakes. Everyone but Paul Robotta and Everett Papp made it to Polly Dome.

Paul and Everett got lost at the same gully previously mentioned. We found out later that they continued down the gully until realizing they were lost. Paul climbed the ridge and located Polly Dome Lakes - too far away - so they continued down to the intersection with Cathedral Creek where they camped.

Friday, the main party continued to Glen Aulin and reported them missing to the Rangers - meanwhile Paul and Everett climbed over a low ridge and dropped into the main Tuolumne Canyon just below Waterwheel Falls - they lucked out.

Meanwhile the main group, not knowing which direction they might come from, stayed at Glen Aulin. While I and Mark stayed around camp, Dan and Dan climbed Wildcat Point, Tom and Scott climbed a nearby unnamed peak, John and Nancy sunned, and Gordon went down to Waterwheel Falls.

At Waterwheel Falls he found Everett hiking along the trail and told him where we were. Everett went and got Paul and they joined the main group at Glen Aulin for supper.

Because of this fiasco we had to abort the original plan to go down the Tuolumne to Pate Valley and up to Hardin Lake. Instead we made Saturday into a Layover Day. Some loafed near camp, some fished, and some went down to and below Waterwheel Falls.

Muir Gorge was a little too far away and down - and I talked to some backpackers coming up and they said it wasn't worth hiking down just to see and return. You couldn't see it that well from the trail. Everyone had a pleasant relaxed evening.

Sunday we were up at 6, on the trail about 7:50 and arrived at Tuolumne Meadows trailhead about 9:50 or 10. Dan Curley and Tom Maher hitch-hiked to White Wolf - took 4 rides - and got the cars. We hit the road for home about 1 p.m. We dropped Everett off in Mammoth Lakes where he was going to stay with some friends and hunt a job. Finally left there about 5 p.m. and arrived home about 10:30 p.m.

The weather was great - mosquitoes not too bad - and all enjoyed the trip. For future planning, it would be better to split the second day into two parts - camping possibly in the upper part of the South Fork. Polly Dome Lakes was a nice camp - McGee Lake has very limited campsites and would not be recommended. It is close enough to Gen Aulin to make Glen Aulin a better campsite. July is the best time to visit this area.

Ten Lakes to Tuolumne Meadow map
Ten Lakes to Tuolumne Meadow map
On the trail out of White Wolf - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
On the trail out of White Wolf - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Half Moon Meadow - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Half Moon Meadow - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Stream crossing out of White Wolf - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Stream crossing out of White Wolf - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Half Moon Meadow - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Half Moon Meadow - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes Pass - Mount Conness on skyline - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes Pass - Mount Conness on skyline - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Ten Lakes Pass - looking northeast - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes Pass - looking northeast - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Ten Lakes Pass - looking northeast - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes Pass - looking northeast - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes, Grand Mountain - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes, Grand Mountain - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Ten Lakes - Mount Conness on skyline - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Ten Lakes - Mount Conness on skyline - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Gordon Lee fixing supper at Ten Lakes camp - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Gordon Lee fixing supper at Ten Lakes camp - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Morning at Ten Lakes camp - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Morning at Ten Lakes camp - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
One of the Ten Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
View east near South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
View east near South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Tarn on ridge above South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Tarn on ridge above South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Side stream feeding South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Side stream feeding South Fork Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Looking toward Tuolumne Meadow from ridge - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Looking toward Tuolumne Meadow from ridge - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

View of area around Polly Dome Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
View of area around Polly Dome Lakes - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
The gully where Paul Robotta and Everett Papp lost the trail - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
The gully where Paul Robotta and Everett Papp lost the trail
Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

A Polly Dome Lake - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
A Polly Dome Lake - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
A Polly Dome Lake - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
A Polly Dome Lake - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

View along trail to Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
View along trail to Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
White Cascade at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
White Cascade at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Protecting food from the bears at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Protecting food from the bears at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Protecting food from the bears at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Protecting food from the bears at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Evening light at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Evening light at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Sunset at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Sunset at Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Tuolumne Falls (upper), White Cascade (lower) - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Tuolumne Falls (upper), White Cascade (lower) - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Tuolumne River below Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Tuolumne River below Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Cascade below Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Cascade below Glen Aulin - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
California Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

LeConte Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
LeConte Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
LeConte Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
LeConte Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Pool below Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Pool below Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Below Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Below Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973

Tuolumne River below lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973
Tuolumne River below lower Waterwheel Falls - Yosemite National Park - Jul 1973