:: Hetch Hetchy Backpacking Trip - June 11 - June 12, 2005 ::

This is the record of my backpacking trip to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.
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The scenery of Castle Rock State Park.
Castle Rock Falls
Looking west toward the fog and the Pacific Ocean.
Banana Slug
Travertine Springs
My campsite at Waterman Gap Trail Camp.
The trail meandering along the highway.
The road winding through Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
A nice redwood bridge.
A sign along the trail.
Stairs winding downward.
A Salamander
Berry Creek Falls
Ferns along the creek.
A make shift bridge.
A raft of forget-me-nots.
Tom at Waddell Beach.

:: Friday June 10, 2005 @ 8:00 PM::

I ended up leaving work at 5 PM. I got home and finished packing and was ready to go. Timber wasn't too far behind me. We left at 8 PM and had to pick up Forrest from the Dublin, CA BART station on our way to Yosemite NP.

:: Friday, June 10, 2005 @ 11:00 PM::
It took us longer than I expected, but we made it to the Yosemite Lakes campground where the other people in our party were camping. Everyone was still asleep when we got there, so we tried to be quiet. Timber and I just took out stuff out of the back of my truck and then put in our sleeping pads and sleeping bags and went to sleep.

:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 @ 9:00 AM::
We woke up and met everyone in our party. There was a total of 8 of us. The 8 were me, Timber, Forrest, Tom W, Kat, Sunny, Nicole, and Achilius. They made breakfast and then we headed toward Yosemite to get our permit and start our Hetch Hetchy backpacking adventure.

:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 @ 10:00 AM::
It seemed that no one had a map or even a really good idea of where we were going. On our way to Yosemite we turned down the road that would take us to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, but a few miles down the road Tom W asked us if we could get permits and since no one was sure we turned around and headed to the main entrance to Yosemite. When we got to the main gate the ranger told us that we could get everything at the Hetch Hetchy entrance. So we pulled a u-turn and headed back to where we just were. It took a while to get to the Hetch Hetchy entrance, but once we got there a Ranger was able to give us our permits and verify that we had our bear canisters. After everyone had everything they needed we headed for the parking lot. Once we were able to find a parking spot we threw everything out of our cars and started packing our packs. It soon became obvious to me that we were bringing too much fancy stuff. That fact was made readily apparent by seeing the bananas and bags of rice on the ground. Who cooks rice in the backcountry anyway? I've always thought that it took too much fuel. I could see from the look on Forrest's face that he felt the same way. We still had some beer left and I was determined that it would not go bad, so I had a beer before we started out. Others followed suite and Tom W did something to his finger which caused it to bleed. I got a few nice photos of him showing me his injured finger. :-) Once his wife Kat patched him up we were on our way.

:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 @ 11:30 AM::
Timber and I were a little behind the group, but we made it to the O'Shoughnessy Dam where we stopped for a few photos and then motored on to a cool looking tunnel that took us to where the trail actually started. From there we hiked slowly but surely past groups of young and old until we stopped at Tueeulala Falls for a snack and photo break. Forrest and Tom W climbed up a ways to get a better look at the waterfall and I climbed up just enough to get a better picture. Once I climbed back down I had a snack and waited for the others to come back before heading on.

:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 PM>::
We continued on until we hit Wapama Falls. There was so much water and spray that it was hard to take any pictures without having the camera lens get completely doused. I tried to protect it as best I could but I think some of my photos have water spots on them. The water was nice and cool and it was nice to walk over the bridges and through the spray since it was a fairly hot day. After taking a few photos and admiring the sheer volume of water we started the climb toward Rancheria Falls.

:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 @ 2:30 PM::
We stopped once or twice on the way, but we finally made it to Rancheria Falls. I was impressed by the waterfall which was more of a cascade. It would be an even nicer place to be if everyone and their brother were not there at the same time. But what can you do? Because there were so many people we decided to not camp in the regular backpackers camping area. Instead we moved back on the trail a little ways and found a spot with a patch of grass, some slates of granite, a tree, and a small meandering stream. Timber and I even set up our tent so that we had a view of Rancheria Falls from inside our tent. After we set up camp the group started to work on dinner. This had to be one of the fanciest dinners I have ever had in the backcountry. We had chili, rice, peppers, tomatoes, tortilla chips, cheese, and even some small pouches of tobasco sauce. It took a little while to get everything cooked up, and we had so much food that everyone had to gorge themselves to finish the food. After dinner we washed our dishes and checked out our immediate vicinity. I thought we were going to stay up late and play cards but everyone seemed to be tired from our 6.5 mile trek up to Rancheria Falls. As a result of the fatigue and all the food that everyone ate, everyone turned in for the night at 9:00 PM.

:: Sunday, June 12, 2005 @ 7:00 AM::
Timber and I woke up a bit earlier than everyone else, but I continued to lay in my sleeping bag for a while and she got up to go look around. We had some hot chocolate and other snacks for breakfast, and went to look around Rancheria Falls a little more while the others in our group were making breakfast. We worked our way up to the backpackers campground and saw that they had tarps covering up areas with luggage and they had a full kitchen. The kitchen they had included a full griddle along with a full assortment of pots and pans and all types of sauces and other "fancy stuff". As it turned out the camp we saw was run by some adventures company and their clients hucked it up there and were well taken care of. It almost seemed like other parts of Sierras where people backpack with pack mules. Those bastards bring wine and all sorts of fancy foods, and in a lot of cases they don't even have to walk.

:: Sunday, June 12, 2005 @ 12:30 PM::
After everyone packed up we got on the trail and headed back toward our cars. The trip back was much like the trip in except that there were a lot more people on the trail. The people ranged from old to young and obese to skinny. At one point we ran across an older lady that was probably in her early sixties. She asked me how long it would take to get to the next waterfall. I told her 45 minutes and then Timber interrupted and said that it should only take 15 minutes. After we talked to her for a few more minutes and then went done the trail some more she asked me if my time was an estimate based on the lady being older and slower. I acknowldged that it was and then she said "Doh!" and we kept going.

:: Sunday, June 12, 2005 @ 2:00 PM::
We were just about all the way back to the car, on the road that led to it in fact, when a car pulled along side of us and asked us if we wanted a ride. I told Timber that I thought we were almost back but she didn't believe me. So we accepted the ride which took us a total of 1/4 mile. After we thanked the kind people (who happened to be from France) and got out of their car I made fun of her for being a sell out. Everyone else in our group was waiting for us at the cars.

:: The Aftermath::
On the way back we stopped in Oakdale at Mountain Mike's and treated ourselves to pizza and beer. After our food stop each group broke up and went our seperate ways. In general I thought it was a fun and relaxing backpacking trip. The weather was excellent and the waterfalls were great. The only drawback was that thhere were people just about everywhere we looked. Other than that it was quite a trip.