Trail to Vogelsang The Merced breakfast was the best yet! And that’s saying something since I’ve never enjoyed cream of wheat. But, when you add coconut, brown sugar and chocolate chips, it’s pretty darn tasty. They also served fruit, blueberry pancakes, sausage and a squash and tomato omlette. All the fuel we needed for our hardest day. There were two routes one could take to get to Vogelsang: Fletcher or Lewis Creek. Lewis Creek is longer, harder, and hits a higher elevation. It was definitely the road less traveled. We only saw one other group of hikers.
Lewis Creek The first mile was super mellow and followed the river. But the second mile was work. It went almost straight up and easily gained 900 feet. Followed by another 500 feet in the next mile. At that point we met the junction where one decides to arrive at Vogelsang view Fletcher or Lewis Creeks. While the visible cascades along Fletcher Creek were enticing, we stuck with our original decision and turned up towards Lewis Creek. Those next few miles climbed but it was fairly gradual and followed the creek. We stopped at a couple of cascades that were so beautiful. We really are smitten by water. At the junction with the creek coming down from Bernice Lake we stopped on the river for another tasty lunch and aired our feet before tackling Vogelsang Pass.
Views from the backside of Vogelsang The trail to the pass was a bit illusive. We weren’t able to guess where the trail was taking us and where we would cross the pass until it actually happened. Before starting the climb up we had a short walk through a lush, green meadow with streams full of brook trout running through it. It was incredibly picturesque. And as we climbed higher and higher the views became more and more majestic. Glacial lakes appeared in the upper bowls, we saw beyond the immediate mountain range to see the backside of Half Dome and then just over the pass was Vogelsang Lake. What dramatic views! We were so happy we chose this route. From the pass it was another 1.5 – 2 miles down towards the lake and camp. We passed a few grouse and had additional glimpses of Half Dome in the distance.
Falls into Fletcher Lake We eventually found the backpackers camp. It wasn’t as equipped as the others we had stayed at – no pit toilet or potable water and not visible marked. It was also pretty crowded. But it was at the base of the imposing Mt. Fletcher and absolutely beautiful. Most likely the most beautiful setting for a camp all week.
We walked around Lake Fletcher to a pretty little cascade which is the source of water for the lake and we filled up our bladders and water bottles for the evening. It was the first time all week we actually had to treat the water…. We had been so spoiled!
The staff at Vogelsang were a different breed. They were “surfer dudes” in the mountains. Maybe that makes them climbers. They played the drums for us after dinner (which was super cool) and a couple of them admitted they weren’t welcome back in Canada for one reason or another. They definitely liked things spicy and as a result this was my least of our dining experiences. Moon rise over Fletcher Peak They had lots of guests and not enough food and the food they had was super spicy. But we didn’t have to carry it and we went to bed satisfied. We were served spicy Dijon mustard turkey, salad, bread, spicy home style potatoes and a broccoli cabbage vegetable. The best part of the meal was the apple berry cobbler. I could have eaten just that.
And before calling it a night we watched the full moon rise over Mt. Fletcher. Absolutely gorgeous! Lots of pictures taken this day. You can see them here.