Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yosemite- Cathedral Lakes

There I was, minding my own business when a buddy of mine told me he wanted to check out Yosemite on a long weekend. We planned for months and then went out and did it. Could I find adventures in the Yosemite National Park? You bet your sweet bippy I could! Come with us now on Pete's latest adventure in Yosemite!

There are few MUST DO hikes on my list. Hikers like all sorts of things, vistas, challenging trails, changing scenery, waterfalls, etc. Regardless of whatever my personal preferences are, I will hike to Lower Cathedral Lake again and again, if I can help it, because I was that blown away by the hike on my third and final day in the Yose.

The trail starts off near Tuolumne Meadows and promptly gains 480 feet over the first mile. While this doesn't sound like a lot, when the trailhead starts at 8,500 feet, us sea-level kids are going to be struggling a bit. The trail levels out a bit then goes for another 400 foot climb before leveling out again until making a descent into Lower Cathedral Lake. What is fascinating about all of these climbs and hikes is the various zones you go through. Of course, in the Yosemite High Country, there is lots of granite

but also bogs

and meadows.

Even looking behind and beside you on the trail was impressive as mountains were framed by trees as far as the eye can see.

Of course, the piece de resistance is when you final get to Lower Cathedral Lake and then all is right with the world.

You cross through a meadow

to granite slabs holding lucky backcountry permit holders with spectacular views of the backcountry.

The lake opens up to Cathedral Peak which is a huge jagged piece of mountain, one that commands your respect.

but what is over there? Another mountain vying (and getting) some respect?

Heck and Yes, and it deserves it. But wait! (terrible grammatical construction) What is this beauty appearing on the horizon?

It couldn't be another amazing peak wanting you to gaze on it but it is! Everywhere you look, peaks, sky, lakes, maybe some more meadows?

This place has it all, it is all, it is one of my favorites bar none of anywhere in the world. Of course, if someone wants to give me a free plane ticket to say the Swiss Alps or New Zealand to see how those areas compare to Lower Cathedral Lake, I will gladly go for a compare/contrast trip but as for now, this area reigns supreme over my outdoor psyche.

So I chilled out at the lake

took some pictures and watched some hikers foolishly scramble over the rocks of Cathedral Peak as the sun set lower in the sky. This is the ultimate lure of the Sierras, not just Yosemite, the vistas of granite/rocky mountains framed with lakes and meandering clouds. You can get this type of view in numerous places throughout the range and why its such a popular jumping off point for hikers all over the world.

The sun was starting to set and it was getting cold in the shadows. Time to head back on the trail but not before snapping a few shots on the way back.

The day ended with the sun going down across the Tuolumne Meadows and thoughts turned to campfires and not trying to freeze in your sleeping bags in July.

Overall, what else can be said about this hike, it was insane and a MUST do if you are anywhere close to the High Country.


  1. Cathedral is a blast. I've only been on a backpacking trip while it was frozen in May. I clearly need to revisit sometime soon.


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