But I knew I'd grow restless if I stayed too long. It would just be another week of worrying about the snow ahead. Just get it done and over with.
So I prepared to get back on the trail. I walked over to the outfitters to get on the Internet real quick--I had to pay the bill to keep the lights on at Atlas Quest for another six months--and on my way back, I bumped into the two Israeli girls, Shani and Noga, along with trail angel Tom at the motel. Tom offered me a ride back to the ski area, saving me the hassle of taking a trolley to the bike bus to the ski area.
|Back into the snow.... Ugh!|
The bus started moving, and shortly thereafter, the bus driver got on an intercom asking if anyone was planning to get off at Agnew Meadow. Several voices called out now, even more nodded their heads no. I was the only person--and I mean the only person--on a bus loaded with dozens of tourists to wave my hand and nod my head. Yes, I needed to get off at Agnew Meadow. One voice in the front of the bus told the bus driver, "No, nobody needs to get off," and the bus driver replied, "The guy standing in the back does."
I don't think I ever felt so out of place. Walking into a prom dance wearing camo wouldn't have felt so awkward.
The bus stopped at Angews Meadow, where I was the only person to get off, and started hiking. A huge sense of dread enveloped me. Not that I worried about anything going wrong, but rather at the thought of trudging through snow. Before I started my hike, I didn't have strong opinions about snow one way or another, but I'd grown to loathe snow. Actually, loathe isn't a strong enough word. I don't think there is a word to accurately describe my feelings toward snow.
|Shang-hi (aka "Yellow Pants")|
approaches Donahue Pass.
So Shang-hi and I continued on, wanting to get over Donahue Pass (11,050 feet) by the end of the day. We both knew that late in the day, postholing would likely be a huge issue for us, but we wanted to position ourselves to get into Tuolomne Meadows as early the next day as possible, so we would face the postholing problem or die trying.
Near the top of the pass, we crossed paths with several southbounders hiking the John Muir Trail who just started their hikes in the last day or two, and invariably, they warned us that we'd "never" make it before sunset. After they passed out of hearing distance, we'd snicker to each other about their dire predictions. These people don't have any idea what they're talking about. Donahue Pass was one of the lowest and least snow-covered passes so far of our trip. We didn't have the heart to tell them that--for them--their horror was just beginning. They hadn't seen anything yet!
|The view from Donahue Pass and our campsite!|
Shangi-hi and I made it to the top of the pass by 7:00 that evening, a respectable time, and we decided to camp right there on the pass. A small area was snow free, and even a small creek trickled nearby from the snowmelt. Given the exposed position and high elevation, it was cold, but not shockingly so. Definitely no bugs! Little wind. And it was an absolutely beautiful night.