Rae Lakes

2010 August 12 to 15

Rae Lakes Loop 2

  • 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)

Day 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.

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

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

Day 2: Adan diving into Dollar Lake. The first time Adan dove into the water, on day 1 at the first swimming spot, he still had on his shirt and pants. Photo by Kat.

Day 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.

Day 2: Enjoying each other's company at dinner at Rae Lakes. I want to be more like Adan, sprawled out in the sand, completely at comfortable and at home in the wild.

Day 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.

Day 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.

Day 3: Casey near 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.

Day 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.

Day 3: Dylan and Casey in an unnamed 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.

Day 3: Dylan and Casey in an unnamed lake at elevation 11,500 feet on the south side of Glenn Pass (the same lake as the photo above).

Day 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.

Day 3: Adan hugging a tree. Once he saw Kat taking this photo, he starting kicking the tree. We'll use this photo to blackmail him, if required.

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

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

Day 3: Casey in the Death Falls "spa" above Junction Meadow.

Day 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. Photo by Adan.

Day 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.

Day 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.

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

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

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

Day 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.

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


Each day I had oatmeal for breakfast (550 calories), four Cliff bars for lunch / snacks (1000 calories), and Chili Mac for dinner (710 calories). Additionally, I also had two pieces of Jolt gum each morning in lieu of a cup of coffee and enough Gatorade powder for a 1-liter bottle each day (225 calories). This adds up to 2485 calories per day and weighs X.X pounds per day (to be updated when I get around to it, but probably 1.5 lbs/day). At the end of the trip I didn't have any food left, yet during the trip I was never hungry, too full, or lacking in energy. I consider this a very successful trip with respect to food. Recipes are below.

Oatmeal for One

  • 3/4 cup oatmeal (225 calories)
  • 3 scoops whole dried goat milk* or enough to make 1 1/2 cups milk (210 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (48 calories)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (0 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (102 calories)
  • 1/8 cup raisins (65 calories)

At home, in a Ziploc sandwich bag, combine all of the ingredients above. On the trail, bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil, add mix, stir, bring mix to boil, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes in cozy with lid. For my own future reference, I brought 3/4 ounce of denatured alcohol to cook this meal using my homemade Redbull stove and 0.9 liter Evernew titanium pot.

* Goat milk brand is "Meyenberg" and the ingredients are: goat milk, vitamin D3 and folic acid. Since the trip, it occurred to me that one could simply use readily available non-fat powdered milk and add an extra tablespoon of butter to make up for it.

Chili Mac for One

  • 1/2 cup Pinto Bean Mix* (260 calories)
  • 1/2 cup elbow pasta (210 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (240 calories)
  • Salt and Tabasco to taste

At home, put pasta and bean mix into separate Ziploc sandwich bags and oil, salt and Tabasco into separate containers. On the trail, add pasta to 1 1/4 cup cold water, bring water/pasta to boil, add bean mix and oil, stir and bring to boil again, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes in cozy with lid. Add salt and Tabasco to taste. To make it even better, add a 2.5 ounce packet of tuna (or crumbled bacon) at the same time you add the beans and oil. For my own future reference, I brought 3/4 ounce of denatured alcohol to cook this meal using my homemade Redbull stove and 0.9 liter Evernew titanium pot.

Here's the bean mix, purchased in the bulk section at Berkeley Bowl. It may be sold at your local store in 7 ounce boxes as Instant Refried Beans by Fantastic World Foods.


My cookset is a 0.9 liter Evernew titanium pot/lid paired with a homemade alcohol stove and windscreen. With a empty fuel bottle, it weighs 9.4 ounces, and will boil 1 1/4 cups of ice cold water at sea level with no wind for 2 minutes minutes 30 seconds with 3/4 ounce of denatured alcohol.


Base Weight = 11.0 pounds (note that this includes an empty bear can)

This includes everything except clothing worn, trekking poles, water, food and fuel (denatured alcohol). My major gear, but not all of my gear, is listed below.

  • Pack: Gossamer Gear Mariposa with hip belt cut off
  • Tent: Tarptent Rainbow
  • Bag: Western Mountaineering Megalite with 2 ounces overfill
  • Pad and Pillow: See photo below
  • Bear Can: Bareboxer (1 lb 11 oz)
  • Clothing Carried: See photo below
  • Cookset: 0.9-liter Evernew Ti pot/lid with homemade Redbull stove/windscreen and Fuel Bottle (9.3 oz)
  • Water: Two 1-liter soda bottles plus Aqua Mira drops
  • Bugs: BPL Mosquito Headnet and 1oz spray bottle of 100% DEET
  • Ditty Bags: See photos below

Here's my Western Mountaineering Megalite, Montbell pillow (2.5 oz), Montbell Pad (13.8 oz) and foam pad (3.6 oz). The Montbell pad is a 1.5" thick pad shortened to 35" by Bender of KookaBay.com. The 1" thick Montbell pad of the same length weighs 11.1 oz, so I have an extra 1/2" of padding for 2.7 oz.

Clothing worn is on the left and consists of: dishtowel to protect ears and neck, visor, white long sleeve synthetic shirt, running shorts, Smartwool ankle socks, Dirty Girl gaiters and running shoes (not shown). Also shown are Iniji toe socks, which I bring as backup socks in case I start to develop toe-to-toe blisters; for this trip, they stayed in my pack. Warm clothing is in the middle and consists of: fleece hat, Montbell UL Down Sweater, fleece mittens, silk PJ bottoms, boxer briefs (not shown) and wool sleep socks. Rain gear, consisting of a 3M Porepro jacket and Tyvek pants are on the left. All clothing carried weighed 1 lb 9 oz.

Bag 1 from top left: waterproof matches, pad repair kit, headlamp, compass; middle from left: tinctures of benzoin (note that duct tape and leukotape are wrapped around my trekking poles), photon light, Imodium; bottom from left: earplugs, knife with scissors and tweezers, jar of vaseline, ibuprofin.

Bag 2 has Dr. Bronners soap, mini Bic lighter, Chapstick, toothbrush and toilet paper.


  1. Bring 1 oz bottle of 12-hour nasal spray (oxymetazoline HCl 0.05%). Camping above 10,000 feet, my nose got stuffed up, leading to a poor nights sleep on day 2 at Rae Lakes.
  2. Ditch the boxer briefs. They weight 3.3 ounces and I never wore them, except when Kat borrowed my other clothes to go swimming, but that's another story.
  3. I didn't use any sunscreen and only got a bit red.
  4. Kat is a DLF. You'll have to ask her what that means.
  5. Dylan sleeps in a "clown car".
  6. What happened to the French guy?