Rae Lakes Loop Day One

Rae Lakes Loop Day One

Day 1, Road’s End to Upper Paradise Valley Camp, 5035-6876 feet in elevation, 10 miles.

Ingredients

  • The Sphinx
  • On Tuesday, we woke at 5am, as soon as it became light, and quickly got ready. Our plan was to have breakfast at CGV, but by the time we made it to the there, it was only 6:52am, and the cafe did not open until 7:30am,
  • So off to Road’s End long term parking we went, planning on quickly eating a bar at the start and then taking a longer breakfast/ coffee break at Mist Falls, some 4 miles in.
  • The first few miles were flat, and relatively easy to traverse. We began to see really beautiful sights of soaring granite walls.
  • Mist Falls Coffee Break Site
  • When we reached Mist Falls, a lot of the accounts I had read mentioned that people couldn’t really feel the mist. That’s if you remain by the overlook point. We chose to actually head down closer to the falls, and perch on some nice enormous boulders, revel in the fine water droplets floating about, and fire up our stoves for our morning coffee.
  • Always filtering
  • After this brief respite, we were on the trail again. We stopped again at Lower Paradise to filter water. It seemed we always needed to filter. Danny drinks a lot of water and can easily go through 1.5-2 L in 5-6 miles. Me, my nearly 2 L lasted pretty much until we reached camp some 10 miles later. Not sure if this is a good thing – perhaps I need to consciously drink more. We saw a group of women earlier who looked like they were just starting out from Lower Paradise when we had arrived to filter water. We ran into them again, taking a break at Middle Paradise. One of them was wearing a head net. We chatted a bit, learning that they had spent the night at Lower Paradise last night, having started from Road’s End on Monday. Mosquitoes were not as bad as they had expected, but they did find a number of ticks on their tent covers the following morning. This had us worried a little, and Danny spent some time musing about whether he should have sprayed the tent with Permethrin all the same.
  • Finding Porcini in the Backcountry
  • And of course, because Danny is Danny, we found some porcini! They form affinities with Lodgepole pines, in this area of the Sierras, it seems.
  • The trek overall on that day was not too bad, in retrospect. Though my pack was heavy, and I had some trouble with the adjustments in the beginning, the inclines were gradual, and we had the benefit of ambling through shady woods with a light breeze. Eventually we reached our final destination for the day – Upper Paradise campsite. Since we had started out so early, we reached camp at around 1:30pm. No one was around, so we had the pick of the various campsites. We chose one in the direct vicinity of a bear box, which provided a nice structure upon which we could place our things.
  • Jared Williams’s photo of our first Campsite at Upper Paradise Valley
  • Upper Paradise was my ideal campsite. We had a roomy clearing that was just right for 2 tents next to a bear box. There were no other campsites to the north, west, or east. There was an existing firepit, and logs conveniently arranged around it for seating purposes. There were plentiful multiple smaller rocks/ stones/ boulders to provide handy footrests/ stools/ impromptu tables; but not so much that it made getting around camp difficult. Our site lead to easy access to a great flat “beach” of loose, large rocks, right next to a rapidly flowing creek, where we did laundry, washed dishes, obtained our water, and freshened up. The wide open expanse was flooded with sunlight throughout the afternoon, and made for a great space to lay out our wet laundry. It was warm enough that I managed to stand in ankle-deep, and use my camp mug to douse water over my hair. Definitely refreshing.
  • Jared’s Deer Friend
  • A doe that likely frequented the area made several appearances, and looked like she made friends with Jared.
  • Carb-loading for the next day
  • We ended the day with dinner; Danny and I ate a large portion of Cheesey Pecorino and Potato pasta with beef and veggies. We would need the carbs for our long hike up to Rae Lakes the next day. It seems that backpacking meals require the following: pre-soaking in cold water, a relatively brief blast with the micro-stove for at least a couple of minutes after the food comes to a boil, and then more soaking in hot water, ideally wrapped in a cozy, for several more minutes. Helps conserve stove fuel and gives the food a chance to fully rehydrate. So many new things to learn for this backcountry thing!
  • Rae Lakes Loop Posts
  • Day Zero
  • Flickr Album
Read the whole recipe on Tabemasu