8/6/14 The second day brought us into Jack Main Canyon and ultimately to Wilma Lake. 10 miles of epic trail and another 1,000' or so of gain. It was also my birthday!
1 Heading out from camp in the morning in no particular hurry.
2 It's a beautiful morning and we're starting to get into some denser forest that hasn't been affected by fires.
3 We get to the entry into Jack Main Canyon and the classic Sierra granite views are really starting now.
4 Dad taking in the view up the canyon.
5 Our first signs of real water. In any normal year, this would probably be a roaring cascade. It's almost dry this year, but still great to see.
6 Forest of ferns. The trail is almost invisible winding through chest high ferns. Amazing for such a dry year.
7 Great singletrack winding through the forest with bushes of some sort of orange berries.
8 The first of what would be many, many lakes along the trail. We were worried that the lakes would be really low or even gone this year, but most were not far below normal. It's just that the creeks between the lakes were dry.
9 Cool looking random tree.
10 Great ridgeline views.
11 Another beautiful lake. The majority of these are unnamed on the map even though some are quite large.
12 Dad's picture of me taking in the view at one of the gorgeous lakes along the trail.
13 The next beautiful, unnamed lake.
14 Fresh, wet bear paw prints along the edge of the lake. We must not have missed him by much.
15 The next lake.
16 View from the far end of the same lake.
17 There is seemingly no end to the lakes. We saw a group of three backpackers in the morning and haven't seen anyone since. Any worries from Day 1 about not being on epic trail are long since gone.
18 There are elaborate rock staircases in places. Probably built by the CCC decades ago to benefit the horses that are used on this trail.
19 The pictures definitely don't do justice to the expansive granite views.
20 Traversing a large meadow of waist high grasses. Like the lakes, many of the meadows are large enough to be named in most other areas of Yosemite. But not here.
21 More beautiful singletrack.
22 One of my favorite lakes of the entire trip.
23 The green colors in the rock are fascinating.
24 More lush meadows.
25 Falls Creek winding through the forest.
26 An unnamed granite dome rising above the forest and meadows.
27 Climbing up the canyon now closer to the dome on the ridgeline.
28 A small waterfall on Falls Creek. You can clearly see how wide the cascades would be in a normal year.
29 A further out view of the creek cutting through the granite to the falls.
30 Further up the canyon and another series of cascades and small falls. This would be absolutely roaring in a wet year.
31 Dad climbing out of Jack Main Canyon.
32 Another small, but beautiful lake.
33 Continuing up the canyon with the trail following the creek.
34 Another cascades. The normal water marks on this one are probably 20 feet wide.
35 Water and forest views everywhere.
36 A barbed wire gate across the trail!? We still don't know why this was here. We open it and continue on hoping there wasn't a reason it was closed.
37 Approaching Wilmer Lake, our destination for the night. We had been hearing distant thunder for a while, and now it's starting to rain. Though thunderstorms shouldn't be a surprise in the summer in the high country, it was still a bit surprising considering we were worried about it being too hot all week!
38 Dad walking along Wilmer Lake in what is now a pretty heavy rain. It's getting late, the rain is getting heavy, and we're pushing on trying to find a good tent site for the night. There haven't been any dry, open areas for a while now.
39 Fortunately we find an area of well used tent pads in a cluster of trees dense enough to keep us reasonably dry as we setup the tent. It's a great spot right near the shore of the lake, which you can see through the trees in the background.
40 After waiting out the rain for a while in the tent, we cook up a great meal.
41 Early evening view on the lake. Interestingly, the lake is called Wilmer Lake on some maps and Wilma Lake on others. I'm still not sure which is correct.
42 The storm has passed, light is getting low, and the lake is glassy smooth. We haven't seen anyone since early in the morning, and we have the entire lake to ourselves. End to a great Day 2!