Our Vogelsang Camp

Yo2 had a really beautiful camp at Vogelsang in ’87.

We were about ¼ mile south of the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. We were right below Vogelsang Peak, as majestic a peak as I have ever seen. We were close to Fletcher Creek. However, the septic problem we were there to fix involved effluent from the HSC getting into Fletcher Creek, so we could not use that for a water supply. In fact, the stuff we called ‘blue goo’ could still be seen oozing out of the ground in a few places.

We had to work a little harder and a little smarter to get our water supply into that camp. We laid out dozens of yards of ¾” ABS pipe and run that up to Vogelsang Creek before it joined with Fletcher Creek. The good part of this set-up was that we had to go up high enough to draw from Vogelsang Creek that the ABS line had enough pressure for us to cap it with a spigot. We had one running water line in a Backcountry camp! Woo-HOO!

Most of the raw water from this spigot was put into the two thirty-gallon jungle cans to be boiled. This was water used for washing and cooking. Any other water to be consumed had to first be hand-pumped through the ceramic filter. We had heard plenty of giardia stories. This was one safety item that everybody took seriously. Nobody wanted to risk giardia. It was the KP’s job to keep five or ten gallons of filtered water on hand at all times, but sometimes others would volunteer to run five gallons through the filter.

We had a never ending supply of wood for that camp. A wood supply for the campfire can be a problem at or above tree line. Erin had scouted this camp location well, though. Across the creek, at the base of Vogelsang Peak, was more down timber than we could possibly use in one season. The trees had all been knocked over by an avalanche a few years prior. The wood was down and seasoned!

One of my favorite views from this camp was the canyon rim on the west side. There was a line of peculiarly shaped rocks along the rim. The day I hiked in, I thought to myself “Wow. Those rocks look like a train!” When we all got to the camp and we had a minute of downtime, I asked Erin, “Does that ridge up there have a name?”

“Yeah. That’s Choo-Choo Ridge.”

“No way!”

“Yeah. It’s not named on any maps that I’ve seen, but it’s called Choo-Choo Ridge because it looks like a train.”

The most glorious alpenglow that I’ve ever seen was from this camp. Alpenglow is not a normal picturesque sunset in the mountains. Alpenglow is caused by sunlight that is refracted, or bent, by moisture in the atmosphere after the sun has dropped below the horizon. After the sun disappears, if the atmospheric conditions are right, the peaks will brighten back up as the refracted light reaches the peaks. On this particular evening, Fletcher Peak grew dark as the sun set, and then brightened up to an incredible gold color! This has to be where the legends of El Dorado, the Cities of Gold, originated.

Alpenglow on Fletcher Peak photo FletcherAlpenglow.jpg
Alpenglow on Fletcher Peak

One camp rule that was established by Tim Ludington in Wawona and carried on by Erin at Vogelsang was the ‘no Walkman’ rule in camp. The main parts of camp—the cook tent, the campfire, and anyplace around those areas people might be eating or congregating—were considered public areas for ‘community’. Being in these areas plugged into your own personal music was considered to be anti-social and poor trail crew camp etiquette. You could have your headphones on for your personal music in your tent or outside of camp. This was a rule that seemed unfairly arbitrary at first, but by the end of the season it was obvious to us the importance of people engaging one another instead of tuning people out and focusing on your own thing.

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Categories: Backcountry, Camping, CCC, Vogelsang, Yosemite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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