Hetch Hetchy

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Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located to the north of both Yosemite Valley and Tioga Pass Road. The trail to Rancheria Creek is about 7 miles long and flat for almost it's entire length.

Rancheria Creek

Rancheria Creek is a place along Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Located north of both the valley and Tioga Pass road, this location is visited by far less people and it's also snow-free earlier; though the water is quite high. See the green arrow in the map above for where the trailhead is located; it's about eight miles hiking to this spot from the trailhead at the dam.

This is my first bear picture. I was hiking homeward on the trail along Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. There is a place where Wapama Falls crosses the trail. At the first water, a hiking party in front of me had stopped to make some gatorade. I did not see this at the time, however...all I saw was that I was hiking down the trail, following a small bear in the distance and the bear did not know I was there at all. I was following the bear at a distance of about 50 feet and I got my camera out. When I rounded a corner, I saw the entire situation. The hikers were ten yards away making gatorade. Their packs were sitting on the trailside, with the lower compartment opened to do so. They even had a bear canister. When I got close enough, I saw the bear's head poked into the backpack. At this time, the owner of the backpack saw this as well and let out a yell.

The bear turned, saw me coming down the trail and ran up into the boulders on the uphill side of the trail. This is when I got the best pictures. I commented to the owner of the backpack how nosy the young bear seemed to be. The owner of the backpack said that they were glad to have enabled me to get the photo, but would probably have preferred that I had yelled at the bear a bit sooner. I had no answer; I realized what was going on at about the same time that the owner of the backpack did; however, I cannot deny that I was attempting to be silent, not to scare the bear and to get a photograph.

Most people were hiking out of Rancheria Creeek along this trail in the very early morning, their food having been eaten by the campsite bears during the night. This is a place where you definitely need a bear canister. You can wedge your food under a rock and go hiking all day long with no fear of returning to your car hungry.

The Rancheria Creek campsite itself was full of bears. Most Yosemite campgrounds in the valley have kids yelling and music playing all day long, not to mention the busses howling through the park and the sound of dumpsters being emptied all day long. Well, Rancheria Creek, for all it's remoteness, was about as loud. Bears were moving from campsite to campsite, making sure that the food hanging technique of each camper was adequate. The campsite echoed all day long with "Bear Ho! Bbbrrrraaahhhh!" and as the bear worked it's way around the site, each camper would get a chance to yell at the top of their lungs.

All photos Copyright © by Adam Lane. All rights reserved.