What started as an overnight excursion to the lake north of Castle Domes became a quick hike of the Rae Lakes Loop. After a late start (9:30) from Cedar Grove I made my way past Mist Falls and through Paradise Valley (both aptly named) arriving at Woods Creek at lunch time. I stopped for dinner just shy of the John Muir Trail at about 5:30. During a check of the map during dinner, I became inspired to try to complete the loop rather than explore Castle Domes.
The bridge over Woods Creek was washed out, so I crossed downstream on a fallen log. A little more than an hour's hike brought me to my camp next to the south fork of Woods Creek.Day 2
My bivouac bag was covered with frost the next morning. The anticipation of completing the entire loop spurred me into action and I was on the trail before six. The view to the north of Castle Domes and the falls spilling from the basin was beautiful, and I felt a little torn about the change.
I moved quickly up the trail past the falls from Baxter Lakes and soon arrived at Dollar Lake, the lowest of the Rae Lakes.
By mid-morning, I left the upper Rae Lakes
Soon I passed Charlotte Lake and had a great view down the glacial trough that makes up the upper Charlotte Creek valley.
On the descent to Vidette Meadow, I had a great view of the Videttes and upper Bubbs Creek.
The remainder of the trip consisted of a quick dash down the Bubbs Creek Canyon
I returned to the Cedar Grove trailhead at 7:20. A sign there indicated that the loop is 43.1 miles long. I had covered it in a little less than 36 hours and , yes, I was tired.
Click here for a TR of this trip with my daughter Jane.
For a report of Leor Pantilat's 12.5 hour completion of the route with 80 photos, go here.
07 March 2013