Am I Too Old For This?

August 10

My brother Brian’s birthday! I, of course, forgot to send him a message before I left, and now there’s no way to call. But I am celebrating his birth anyway.

It was a long night. I haven’t figured out my new pad. It’s very narrow, and if it’s too full, it bucks me off. So last night I erred in the direction of too little air. Tonight, I’m going to get it perfect. I hope. It has shaved a number of ounces off my base weight and created more room in my pack, and I do want to love it. I woke—or rather, decided to finally get up—at 6:00 AM. I puttered around camp and visited the river nearby to watch the sun expand over the valley. Beautiful. 

A tree skeleton, among the living. Morning light on the river.
How many years does it take the sculptor to come up with this work of art?
Golden in the sun, gray in the shade.
I’m in love with light on water.
Except for the reflection, you wouldn’t know there is water covering the rocks. It’s so crystalline.
The river is so low, this late in the summer and in this year of terrible drought. But nothing is more beautiful.
“Just like a tree that’s standing by the water, we shall not be moved”

B is tired today. Me, too, but I am also invigorated just being up here. Lack of sleep doesn’t seem like that much of a problem once I’m up and moving around. Poor Barbara has a blister on the bottom of the ball of her foot, which is very painful. We treated it: drained it and applied antibiotics and moleskin, but today it’s back. She waited too long. We discussed hiking out from Glen Aulin, if it is continuing to cause her pain. I’m okay with that. We need to do what we have to do to take care of each other.

Packing up our campsite, day 2.
I relished the shade in the early part of the hike, walking under the overarching oaks.
The Tuolumne flows over smooth granite stone, dropping into pools that are sometimes impossible to just walk past.

It was a long hot walk today. We only saw three people and two rattlesnakes on the trail all day. The climb up over the Muir Gorge cutoff nearly killed my spirit, and I wondered why I do this. For fun?? And maybe I’m too old. I guess I need to hike easier trails in cooler weather—but not too cool.

Can you see it? The rattler wouldn’t hold still for a portrait, so all I got was the receding tail. I’m not quick enough with the camera.

We stopped and swam twice in the Tuolumne, and it was fantastic! The water is cold and bracing, and so refreshing. Every time, it makes all the negative thoughts and tiredness just flee my mind.

The holy waters make me whole. I am filled with gratitude to be right where I am.
It’s hard to imagine the eons of moving water and ice involved in the making of this canyon.
A small bear skull greeted us at Rodgers Creek.
I apologize if these photos are a bit grizzly. Actually, they are black bear. I found it fascinating.
And finally, I turned my attention to what was just behind me, on the other side of the trail! Rodgers Creek is one of the few water sources entering the canyon from the north.
Looking back down the canyon, climbing up the Muir Gorge cutoff.
And up towards the gorge.
A long hot walk in beauty. We finally hit the river again.

We finally made it to our chosen campsite, a nice oak-shaded flat shelf above the river, not far from a lovely swimming hole, only to find that the couple who were at “our” campsite last night beat us to it again! They complimented us on our taste in campsites. There’s room down on the second level for a couple of little tents, so we are staying here.

On one of my many tours of Germany, I recall looking at the Rhine, near the headwaters, and painstakingly creating a sentence in my limited German. Das Wasser is vie flussige jade. Right here, right now, in this late afternoon light, that is what the Tuolumne looks like. Liquid jade.

We swam, rinsed and hung out our sweaty, dusty shirts, pants, socks, sun gloves, gaiters, and underwear, ate our dinner (I didn’t write anything about it and now can’t remember if it was good, bad, or indifferent) by the river perched on perfect chair-shaped rocks and watched a dipper hopping upstream. We are almost directly across from where Cathedral Creek runs into the Tuolumne. You can look across and up at about three waterfalls.

Looking across at Cathedral Creek.
The view from our dinner spot. Not bad!

Today was a 9-mile day, pretty-much all uphill, except for the mile or so coming back down to the river from the top of the Muir Gorge cutoff.

10 thoughts on “Am I Too Old For This?

      • On the subject of ‘ am I too old for this ‘ Don’t give in to gravity yet !It feels so hard to do the hik- work , but it’s just a tough meditation I have found those ‘ Shotbloks’ energy chew and ‘Nuun’ electrolyte tabs in the Camelbak help me .But I also have looked into ‘ drop’ packing ? Where a packer takes yer stuff a day in and leaves a bear- proof food box. Or, as I learned after humping it over Shepherd’s pass, you can get a Sherpa off the bulletin board at East side sports in Bishop.For. 100 bucks or so you can get your gear a steep day in. Another thing : Alana James from Hotclub of Cowtown was a packer at Rock Creek pack sta. The owner, Craig London looves music.Perhaps you could do a music pack trip or trade some campfire music for a trip ??


  1. I love that Cathedral campsite. We spent a day there exploring all the pools above the falls.. No, you are not too old for this! You just gotta make sure all the hard work gets you to some fantastic spots! But maybe, a few less miles per day would help. The heat definitely makes it harder.


      • Hydration is key. My then 27 year old son and my 64 yo self and I had to turn back from our attempt to hike Cloud’s Rest when the temperature unexpectedly hit 102 and we realized we didn’t have enough water.


  2. I loved reading this and seeing your beautiful photos, Laurie. No, you are not too old to enjoy, in whatever way your body will let you, the beauty and peace of nature.

    Bill and I were lucky to catch your concert last week here in Portland.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s