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Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010
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Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 16:51:55 MDT Print View

Hikers: Jack, Ken, Kat, Adan, Dylan and Casey

Day 1: 8.9 miles
Roads End to Upper Paradise Valley
el. 5,035 to 6,940 (climb 1,905 ft)

Day 2: 13.6 miles
Up to Rae Lakes
el. 10,538 (climb 3,598 ft)

Day 3: 8.8 miles
Up to Glen Pass (el. 11,978) then down to Junction Meadow (el. 8,170)
Climb 1,440 ft then descend 3,808 ft

Day 4: 10.1 miles
Down to Roads End
el. 5,035 (descend 3,135 ft)

aaaDay 1: Adan, Kat and Dylan lounging in Lower Paradise Valley at an epic swimming hole. Everyone was AWESOME and I feel lucky to have been part of this great trip and gotten the opportunity to get to know them. As subsequent photos will show, we spent a lot of time relaxing in or near the water, but this was my favourite spot on the first day. However, swimming with the "snakes" near the bridge at Upper Paradise Valley was also pretty fun.

toiletDay 2: Casey on the toilet near the Wood's Creek suspension bridge. Hooray for backcountry toilets.

below dollarDay 2: Casey, Adan and Kat between Wood's Creek and Dollar Lake.

Day 2: Adan diving into Dollar Lake (see photo photo below by Kat).

campDay 2: Since mosquitoes were few and far between (none of us used DEET or head nets for the entire trip), I cowboy camped at Rae Lakes in this spot with the Painted Lady in the background. In the middle of the night I awoke to find my sleeping bag covered with dew, but it was bone dry by morning. The dew did not collapse the loft or affect the warmth of the sleeping bag.

a;ldDay 3: Casey, Dylan and Adan in an unnamed lake at elevation 11,500 ft on the north side of Glenn Pass. At 12,000 feet, Glenn Pass is visible at the top of the photo. We didn't just pose for pictures, but actually swam in the lake, and the experience was spiritual.

scgfhgdhDay 3: Dylan, on top of Glenn Pass, pointing to the lake we swam in on the north side of Glenn Pass, in the previous photo.

gfjhkDay 3: Casey on Glenn Pass with Rae Lakes in the background. To protect my neck and ears against the sun, I wore a dish towel under my visor. With this setup, along with a white, long sleeve synthetic shirt and running shorts, I was able to forgo sunscreen for the entire trip, however I did get a bit red in some areas.

ui,mjDay 3: Kat, Jack and Dylan on Glenn Pass. After having a rough time on days 1 and 2, Jack came back strong on days 3 and 4, leading the pack up the pass. Right on Jack! During the hike up to the pass, we met a 70-year-old Norwegian man hiking in racing flats! We also were passed by two people running the 41.4 mile loop in a single day! Also on the pass, we met a woman hiking the JMT who didn't know how to read her maps.

kj.ljgfkDay 3: Dylan and Casey in a lake at elevation 11,500 feet on the south side of Glenn Pass. The pass, at elevation 12,000 feet, is visible at the top of the photo. Casey was so excited to get in this lake, he literally ran down to it from the pass.

sfdghfdghDay 3: Adan and Dylan in the sandy wash at elevation 11,000 feet. Go left to Kearsarge Pass, right to Charlotte Lake and straight ahead to Vidette Meadow.

tyujmhnhjDay 3: Casey in Vidette Meadow, unable to control the urge.

aesryhfhkDay 3: Casey sliding above Vidette Meadow at the Death Falls.

hklhgfjgfdDay 3: Casey in the Death Falls spa, above Junction Meadow.

ytdjhnbDay 3: Casey standing at the top of the Death Falls. That's my unofficial name for it since, as you can see, if you fall, you die.

dfhgjgfhkgfgfDay 3: Casey in the river sitting on a submerged rock, with the photo taken looking up Bubb's creek. When we arrived at this spot, an elderly man was sitting, naked as I am, on the rock. He, a retired USGS Geologist from Menlo Park, has come to the Sierra's every year for the last 65 years, missing only three years during that span due to wars. For his first 50 years, he never treated or carried any water and never got sick. He also said that, during that time period, stock was much more prevalent than it is now.

,.;jkljkljhDay 3: Adan, Jack, Dylan and Kat played with fire-steel, for fun, during camp on the last night. Despite 2 hours of continuous attempts, and very dry conditions, they were unable to start a fire using natural tinder from the area.

fdhgjcbmnhvcDay 3: Alpenglow was no match for the OCD that overcame the group while trying to start a fire with the fire-steel.

dchxgdhfdgjhgfjfdjDay 4: Hiking out on the last day, between two very large boulders.

fhgjfdhjgfhDay 4: Kat and Dylan at the top of the switchbacks, in smoke due to a nearby fire.

cgngfdgfdhjmfdjmhfdDay 4: We saw two bears on the hike out. This particular bear was in the middle of the switchbacks, only 30 feet from us. We also saw bears on the first day, including a Mama and Baby, but were not able to get photos.

sdfhsdhdgfhgfdhgfdjhfdgjhDay 4: The hike ends at noon. From the left we have Jack, Adan, Kat, Dylan and Casey.

Edited by clbowden on 08/19/2010 09:00:27 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 17:30:11 MDT Print View

That Day 3 photo on Glen Pass shows Mount Brewer in the background. It is a little pointy. That would be someplace to climb on your next trip.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 17:38:20 MDT Print View

Great photos Casey! My apologies for a messy house when you and Dylan needed some water when we got back to my house.

Just to clarify here. The rest of the crew continued on the trip while I went back to the trailhead. I have been nursing a back injury and felt that it was not in my best intentions to continue hiking. I drove home and came back Sunday to pick the crew up. We all agreed that I would be at Roads End at 12 noon and to be honest, I thought I would be in for a wait. No big deal, I love this area of the Sierra's and it is always nice just relaxing and waiting. Wellll I did not have to wait. As soon as I pulled up here came the crew. Talk about cool stuff. Anyways I did see 3 bears on my first day up to Lower Paradise so that was a treat. Sorry that I could not continue the trip with you all. The photos look great Casey! Also, athanks to all of you for being so kind to me when I came to pick you guys up! 10 hours of driving yesterday was not the most fun. I would have rather hiked with you all.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 17:46:08 MDT Print View

Great trip guys and gal. I know that area well and from the narrative and photos, I'd say you did that trip in fine style. There's so much to savor, and you all obviously did a bang up job of having a grade A good time in prime Sierra territory.

L Miller
(LMiller) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 18:02:31 MDT Print View

Thanks for the report - looks like it was an awesome trip! I'm doing the loop in a couple of weeks and this just makes me more anxious. But your mileage varies from the mileage on the NPS site:

How did you calculate it?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 18:03:45 MDT Print View

Tom Harrison maps

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 18:25:37 MDT Print View


Great trip report and thanks for taking the time to throw up the photos.

Nice to see familar faces having a great time up there.

I see a theme and bathing.

Brave man....I am like a cat and avoid water as much as I can, plus I don't float. :)

Gotta love the fire steel and persistance!

Next time, make your life easy....cotton with some vaseline on it.

Lights up every time for me and will burn for a good minute or two.


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Great Trip Report on 08/16/2010 18:32:16 MDT Print View

Would have liked to have joined you for this trip. Great to see what was beneath all the snow that I crossed in May. Safe to assume Kat was pulling everyone along?

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Rae Lakes on 08/16/2010 18:39:15 MDT Print View

Yeah, Glenn Pass was awesome, Rae Lakes was killer, and the pristine creek flowing through Vidette Meadows took my breath away.....but honestly, I could have hiked anywhere with this crew and it would have been a blast. Truly one of the best hikes I've ever taken, and what made it so great could not be captured in photos. Wow, I'm sounding really mushy here, but I just had to put that out there.

Cant wait to hike with you guys again.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Rae Lakes on 08/16/2010 20:09:20 MDT Print View

Great report and makes my last hike a couple of weeks ago pale in comparison. A good group and a stellar location is a sure recipe for a fabulous time. Where is next on the list?

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
loop on 08/16/2010 21:01:04 MDT Print View

My pictures will follow in the next two days. This was truly an amazing experience. Thanks.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010" on 08/16/2010 23:17:54 MDT Print View

Oh man! What a great post and set of pictures, those swimming holes are unreal, please send a little bit of that in my direction. Thanks for sharing.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
my pictures on 08/16/2010 23:27:31 MDT Print View

There are so many stories to tell about this trip, it's kind of hard to even try. During the different days and different stretches, we hiked in different combinations of people. Sometimes in pairs and one solo, sometimes threes, and every other way. We got to know each other in camp, while huffing up the mountain; saw different diving styles, shared food.... We got to know each other during stress too. I think the others are letting me be the one to introduce this subject. After coming down from Glen Pass all elated and feeling strong and high, I began to feel pain in my chest while breathing. This only increased as the evening wore on. Around midnight I woke up with fairly strong pain in my chest, especially when trying to take a deep breath, and I began to worry. After some time I reluctantly walked over to Dylan's tent ( he is a nursing student, hence the choice ) and woke him. I knew our resources were few in such a remote place, but I needed some help. Dylan stayed up most of the night, checking my pulse, going through all the questions related to IM, giving me an aspirin to prevent clotting, reassuring me, going through the medical lectures in his head, weighing the very few options in case I got worse. There is a lot to this story, so I'll skip to the morning when we informed the rest of the group of my condition, which was a little better by now. We made a plan of hiking together, everybody shared the contents of my pack, I set the pace, plans to possibly split up, if someone had to get help. I am usually really healthy, keep going, no pain- I am feeling good, and being the one to set this sombering tone to our last day was not easy. We actually went at a good pace, saw two bears, had a good time. I continued to have pain while breathing, but was getting better. Skipping to the drive back to Santa Cruz, Dylan strongly suggested I get some medical attention even though I was in a lot less pain, so after getting my car I drove myself to the hospital. X rays showed a partially ( very little) collapsed left lung. I inhaled a lot of Oxygen and now I am back to normal. That explained the pain in my chest at each breath, with no other cardiac symptoms. I cannot thank Dylan, Casey, Adan and Jack enough for their help and their genuine care. Dylan shared some very scary moments with me and there is no way to describe or repay what he took on that night.
Now onto some of the beauty we all shared.

Dylan and Adan at Mist Falls

Dylan and Adan at Mist Falls

A meadow between upper Paradise and the ascent to Dollar Lake



Casey, probably wondering how long until he can jump in the water again.


Adan, always a new and interesting way to get in the water. Here at Dollar Lake.


Casey and Adan, nearing Rae Lakes.


Adan's tarp, always pitched with interesting branches found along the trail. This guy is so at home in the wild, he inspired all of us.


Cooking and hanging out at Rae Lakes. Casey made the tastiest meals and generously shared his fare and his techniques with all of us. His quick humor kept the good times going.


Jack coming up Glen Pass. He kept surprising us and increasing his pace as the days went by. Apparently his snoring subsides with altitude, as ear plugs were not necessary on this trip.


Looking back on the way up to Glen



Casey basically running down from Glen Pass, to the Lake where he will, once again take a swim.


Casey and Dylan in the water again


Wildflowers, nearing Vidette Meadow. Tiger Lilly, Larkspur , and I can't think of the name of the yellow flowers.....



Thank you all.

Edited by Kat_P on 08/18/2010 09:22:56 MDT.

Dylan Snodgrass

Locale: San Francisco, CA
Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/16/2010 23:37:16 MDT Print View

I'm leaving for Baja tomorrow morning, I'll post pictures when I get back next week.

Everyone was AMAZING! This was truly the best backpacking experience I have ever had and most of that was because of the company. What an awesome bunch of people, I feel really lucky to have participated.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: my pictures on 08/17/2010 12:33:31 MDT Print View


I am just glad to hear that you are are okay.

Being asthmatic myself, breathing issues and chest pain out there can be some very scary stuff.

More than anything, it is heartwarming to see the care and concern your fellow BPLers showed to you.

As much as backpacking it about hike your own hike and having your own experience, having friends to cover your back and look out for you is a beautiful thing to see.

Great trip, glad that you are okay, and inspiring to see how everyone took care of each other.

Some of the best people I have met have been on the trail.


Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
More Rae Lakes Pics on 08/17/2010 17:30:51 MDT Print View

Our Neighbor at Rae Lakes
Our neighbor

Trout Heaven

Sierra Gold
Sierra Gold

My Friends
My Friends

Want Some Tuna Mac?
Tuna Mac

Infectious Smile
Infectious Smile

Cute but Tough
Cute but Tough

Edited by Lopez on 08/17/2010 17:37:20 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/17/2010 21:30:23 MDT Print View

Looked like great weather, scenery, & friends!

Jesse H.
(tacedeous) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
awesome on 08/18/2010 18:41:27 MDT Print View

really beautiful country, wish i could have joined you guys (and gal ;) I'll be there for the next one!

Matt Jones
(mjones) - F
Rae Lakes, 12th to 15th Aug. 2010 on 08/19/2010 07:41:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for these terrific reports and photos. I am doing this hike in a couple of weeks (as my first light backpacing trip), and it has been very helpful reading the observations here, especially about the lack of mosquitos.

Edited by mjones on 08/19/2010 07:43:10 MDT.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Rae Lakes on 08/19/2010 22:55:44 MDT Print View

Sorry guy's it took so long to post. I got home Sun. afternoon to a house with no air conditioning, and it still isn't fixed, and we've had 100* plus days all week, then I tried to up load pics on Wed. and my computer kept crashing, WHAT A WEEK!!!!! I wanted to thank everyone for a great 4 days of hiking and hanging out in some "EPIC" scenery. I wish I could have jumped in the rivers and lakes like you guys, but I think it was so cold my heart would have stopped, and you dont need to carry out an old fat guy on a trip like this. HA!HA! Adan thanks for the Cheese Burger on our way out it tasted like a million bucks! I really loved hiking with everybody, Kat I hope your doing ok. BOYS!! I'm here to tell ya, Kat is one strong hiker, and a great human being, I'm glad we could all pitch in and help you on the last day. I took it as a lesson for myself, that we should never be ashamed or to proud to ask for help. OK how about some pics.

Green Green love to play wish I could stay here every day.


Mist Falls


Wild life so close you could touch it.


Can you say log jam, were's a beaver when you need one?


Adan looking for the Urban Myths he had a few




Big open sky, big mountains. Adan where are we?


The money shot


I'm glad I dont hike like this any more. Thanks BPL


Edited by jumpbackjack on 08/19/2010 22:58:43 MDT.