Sunday, September 12, 2010

...And Into Yosemite National Park

Shang-hi at Donahue Pass.
July 2: Happy birthday, Shang-hi! It was Shang-hi's birthday today, though admittedly, I had forgotten that fact when I first woke up. He mentioned it the day before, and it wasn't until later in the morning when I remembered it and wished him a happy birthday and started making sure that everyone else on the trail knew it was his birthday. =)

We crashed down Donahue Pass quickly, not having much trouble at all. A few miles down, once we got out of the snow, we started passing huge numbers of hikers. Some were day hikers, many were backpackers, and none of them were thru-hikers. I lost count of the number of hikers after twenty, but it seemed like there could have been a hundred or more. This place was positively infected with people.

Clearly, we had finally entered Yosemite National Park. I'm not exactly sure where we crossed into the park. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks had signs up clearly marking the boundary, but we never passed any signs marking our entrance into Yosemite.

One hiker going southbound on the trail warned us of a "dangerous" river crossing ahead. The water was fast and deep, and it was sketchy. He said he saw a couple of thru-hikers risk the crossing and made it okay, but he wouldn't recommend it. Go around, he suggested. "You might die if you don't," he seemed to suggest.

When we reached this river of death, we found it to be about ankle deep, and running quite slowly. Shang-hi and I tromped through the water, grumbling about having to get our feet wet, but laughing about the "fast and deep" river crossing we just made. These southbounders really need to toughen up.

After a few miles, we fell below treeline and entered Yosemite.
Once we got a few miles behind Donahue Pass, the snow stopped, and it stopped for the rest of the day. The trail wound its way down to Tuolumne Meadows where we stopped at a large clustering of thru-hikers outside of the general store. They were everywhere! Like a dozen of them. Maybe two dozen. I found Fidget there, which was the first time I'd seen her since we parted ways. During that time, she had discovered that Charmin and Hasty were the hikers who found the food bag I lost the week before. The food, I was sure, was long gone, but I hoped to catch them at some point and get the bag back. I liked that bag. I used it on the Florida Trail and most of the PCT. I was attached to that bag. What I couldn't understand is how they managed to find it. I lost it shortly after crossing Evolution Creek and they blew passed us while Fidget and I had camped with our campfire. How did they get behind us again? Did they not cross Evolution Creek after all that evening? Where did they camp then? Why didn't we see their camp while walking down the trail? It seemed mystifying how they could have found my food bag, but I guess it didn't really matter either. The only people with answers were Charmin and Hasty.

I ordered a cheeseburger, fries, and a drink at the store there, then bought more food for immediate consumption and to resupply at the general store. I also picked up some postcard stamps from the post office there.

Lambert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows.
I spent a couple of hours there lounging around and getting fat, but finally left along with GQ. We walked together for a couple of miles, but then he started lagging further and further behind. He planned to go off trail to do some sightseeing along the way. For a lot of thru-hikers, this was their first time in Yosemite, and a great number of them decided to make a few side trips since they were in the area. Some wanted to see Yosemite Valley where most of those iconic photos that everyone recognizes in a heartbeat are taken. Some wanted to climb up Half Dome. Some wanted to complete a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail which leads from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. I've been to Yosemite Valley before, and I've hiked to the top of Half Dome twice, so I skipped the side trips. I would like to do a full thru-hike of the John Muir Trail someday, but preferably late in the season when there was no *#$^@ snow on the ground anymore. That could definitely wait!

I camped a few miles beyond the Glen Aulin Campground. The mosquitoes were terrible for miles on end, and I finally stopped, threw on a head net and slipped into my sleeping bag, napping until the evening progressed late enough for the temperature to cool and the bugs to die down.

If they would just cut down more trees,
the views would be a lot better!
I camped alone, and worried about a "dangerous" river crossing several miles ahead. I hadn't heard anything about this particular crossing, so maybe that was a sign that the crossing wasn't particularly bad? At least not by Evolution Creek or Bear Creek standards? But then again, I didn't really relish the idea of making a dangerous river crossing by myself either, and right now, I was on my own.


Okie Dog said...

I wouldn't want to be behind Shang hi if he fell backwards! Those ice shoes, whatever they are called, look wicked....

Anonymous said...

Yeah! I have been waiting to read about Yosemite for a month now since I came back from my own backpack trip there and crossed some of the same trails you did. It is awesome to hear familiar names (we camped at Glen Aulin on our second night). - winged gypsy

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great pics of Yosemite. I think that the trees add size perspective.
Noticed the crampons on Shang-hi's bag. Did he feel they we're necessary in the snowy traverses or were your micro spikes enough?
What did his shirt mean?:


I've heard of genitalia, but never assitalia!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers