Day 3, August 15, 2014

Skunk cabbage, aka California corn lily or veratrum californicum, backlit by the rising sun. It stopped me in my tracks.

Skunk cabbage, aka California corn lily or veratrum californicum, backlit by the rising sun. It stopped me in my tracks.

Hard work. Betty still felt sick, so she was moving slow We couldn’t make the miles I had hoped for. Hard to slow my pace so I stopped frequently to rest. That was probably really good, as I am not in the best of shape for starting out this trip.

Resupplied at Tuolumne Meadows. We got there a little after 2:00 PM, having walked 9.8 miles, and I was really hungry. Didn’t pack lunch for the day, since we knew we’d be stopping at the Tuolumne Grill. The place was buzzing with activity, with hikers packing and repacking and eating burgers and fries. I had a most delicious, fresh Fuji apple and a veggie burger. The U. S. Post Office at Tulolumne Meadows is only open every hour on the hour for about 10 minutes. Is that legal? We had to wait until 3:00 for the window to open again. This cemented our decision to stay at Tuolumne instead of pushing on another 4 miles to somewhere farther along the trail. Now the pack seems super-heavy!

We cross over Cathedral Pass, somewhere on a gently sloping trail

We cross over Cathedral Pass, somewhere on a gently sloping trail

Saw my first marmot of the trip up on Cathedral Pass. Very exciting! Time to start monitoring the packs carefully every time you set them down. Those critters are quick and gutsy when it comes to grabbing food. I keep my snacks in the side pockets for easy access, which works both for me and the various varmints. Apparently, the rise of the trail is so gradual at the Pass, that there is no firm agreement about where the high point of the pass actually is. No sign, no nothing. Just gradually you discover that you are going downhill instead of up. This is our highest point yet, at 9,700′ above sea level, aka “home” for both Betty and me. Seems pretty high to me…

My first glimpse of Cathedral Lake, coming down from the pass. Beautiful!

My first glimpse of Cathedral Lake, coming down from the pass. That’s aptly-named Cathedral Peak on the right. Beautiful!

Being in that area reminded me of a backpacking trip I did with my pal Dana Everts when we were about 20 years old. Did we go overland to Budd Lake? I need to ask her. I can’t remember, except that I misread the topo map and we went down a completely different side of the mountain from Budd Lake than we had intended. Wound up eventually somewhere near Merced Lake, as I recall. We were young and probably a little stupid, but it all turned out great (as I recall). Dana may remember otherwise…

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Sunrise on the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. At Tuolumne Meadows, Lyell Fork slides over lovely gray and buff-colored giant slabs of smooth granite.

Camping at the Tuolumne Meadows backpacker campground. It is a beehive! We were lucky to find a vacant campsite. Everyone goes to sleep by around 9:00 PM, which Betty refers to as “hikers’ midnight.” Betty and I went to a presentation by Ranger Karen Amstutz at the campfire circle in the evening. Ranger Karen sang songs and told stories, about her adventures in the park, and her family history. Her grandmother used to come to Yosemite every year, back when it took 4 days of traveling by stage coach from the San Fancisco Bay area, and stayed for 2 months every summer. I can only imagine what that must have been like, living in a big tent all summer and cooking over the fire. I didn’t last too long at the presentation, interesting as it was, as it was quickly past my new bedtime. Talked to Tom on the phone from the Tuolumne Meadows store parking lot. Really nice to be in touch! Last cell phone service until we overnight in Mammoth to resupply again.

 

2 thoughts on “Day 3, August 15, 2014

  1. I like the ranger’s story about her grandmother camping out for 2 months every summer. It’s exactly what my father and his two brothers did with their grandparents when they were little boys in the 1920s.

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  2. Cathedral Lake looks so beautiful. I think I need to do this hike some time in the future. The Fuji apple and veggie burger sounds pretty good to me too! It’s always amazing how good food tastes when you’ve been hiking all day.

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