Definitely Not Too Old! I am Reborn

August 11

A really good night’s sleep last night! I immediately noticed that I was stepping more lightly and surely on the rounded stones, going down to the river this morning. 

Packing up in the early morning light. Such a good night’s sleep!

We woke at 6:00, and were packed and on the trail by 7:30, stopping to talk to our neighbors–the same couple who have gravitated to each of our campsites. They are lovely 30/31-year-olds, really into vacationing with backpacks in beautiful places. They hadn’t noticed the grinding holes or rock-lined storage places, but now maybe they will know to look and start seeing the history around them.

A little too early in the day and too shady for me to think about swimming, but the pools are just gorgeous!
There are some mighty fine trees along the river!

B’s foot feels a little better today. We doctored it with moleskin, kept in place with Tenacious Tape. Man, that stuff is sticky!

We swam, or at least submerged ourselves three times today. All beautiful spots. Now that we are closer to Glen Aulin and the famous series of waterfalls, we are seeing more people on the trail, including some larger groups of 4-6 people.

Crossing Return Creek on a very civilized bridge.
There has been so much work put into creating and maintaining this “trail.” It’s really a walk in the park.
Ewe approach the first of the famous falls.
Looking back the way we came.

The waterfalls are spectacular, even with so little water in the river. Waterwheel Falls is less than overwhelming at this flow, but still throws out a mighty hump of water.

Waterwheel Falls
B takes a break at LeConte Falls. I recently finished reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” wherein he advocates for the renaming of many of the Sierra places. This fall would be a good candidate for a name change.
Sometimes, the woods are so thick and green and the water so placid, that if it weren’t for the towering cliffs, we could be in the north woods of Wisconsin.
All day long, we leapfrogged the young couple who took “our” campsites, as either they or we would stop to swim or just take in the sights. We caught up with them in the broad meadow above California Falls, and exchanged photo-taking.
All day long, I found myself musing on the quantity of mules and dynamite it must have taken to make this trail. Everywhere I looked, there were the signs of blasts in the granite, like this one. It makes it ever so easy to stroll through the park. Too easy.
Our last swimming stop of the day, just below Glen Aulin. B was watching the fish exfoliate her legs. No comment.
Looking up from the swimming hole.

We arrived at Glen Aulin in the afternoon and rested there for a bit. We had been considering hiking out from there to Tuolumne Meadows because of B’s foot, but she has decided that we should go up to McGee Lake and reassess tomorrow.

Glen Aulin and the popular pool below White Cascade. Too many people for me
Looking west from the bridge across the Tuolumne in Glen Aulin. As we were standing there, an osprey flew overhead and landed on the top of the dead tree on river left, barely visible. I considered blowing up this photo so you could see it, but it’s a nicer picture this way. You will just have to imagine that it’s there.

After we passed one couple hiking from May Lake, there was nobody on the trail from Glen Aulin up to McGee Lake, and we have the place to ourselves. The lodgepole woods are so very quiet. Not a soul nearby. Ahhh! We walked to the shore of McGee Lake, a good-sized body of water surrounded by trees, with views north to Cold Mountain and over toward Ragged Peak. I had visited Ragged Peak in probably 1969. Haven’t been back since. On that trip, my boyfriend Charles and I took our dog, Noah, off-leash the whole way, which is of course a no-no in Yosemite. But we were free-range hippies and didn’t pay much attention to rules back then. Now, I would probably be pretty unhappy with my younger self if I met her and her dog on the trail. Though I would probably still like that dog a lot…

This stub-tailed lizard was hanging out at our campsite. It didn’t seem particularly distressed that we were there, but maybe it was still in shock from losing part of its tail.
A well-established campsite, with all the amenities, just a little ways off the trail and completely private. At the far end of McGee Lake.

We ate an early dinner, and now it’s 7:00 PM and B is already in her tent. I just went to mine to avoid the mosquitos, which just started coming out.

McGee Lake.

Tonight there is a full moon, and the cold light turns the granite to molten silver. It’s otherworldly out here. I watch the moon arc across the sky through the trees.

Today, we covered 9.8 miles. Pretty-much all uphill. We are back up to 8100 feet elevation. I am happily tired, glad to be where I am right here, right now. Good night.

I really need to get some new long underwear! I think these may have made their last trip. Silk doesn’t stand up to wear and tear very well, but is just so comfy for sleeping.

9 thoughts on “Definitely Not Too Old! I am Reborn

  1. Laurie-

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful stories. Brought back some fond memories of my time going in the opposite direction, from Tuolumne down to Camp Mather. A spectacular hike in early September.


      • As I recall, we hiked out up to White Wolf and then worked our way down to Camp Mather. I might have the route around here somewhere, but my recollection is of a big mistake. Blow down and fire damaged trail that had my brother-in-law and I climbing over car sized trees and wading through brambles for hours. We should have asked for advise when we planned that final portion of the journey.

        Our trip ended at Mather where we met up with our extended family for a long weekend’s stay. Must have been 2004 or so. I recall we had a great time, loved the camp director. There were still chalk lines on the ground from Strawberry.



  2. Dear Laurie, Thank you for these wonderful posts. I finished my NOBO JMT hike in Yosemite a few days before your trip (I was lucky to encounter some very special folk on the trail at Muir Trail Ranch). Your music was my constant companion on the trail – I so appreciate it and your evocative writing. I am reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s book and reliving the deep love and spiritual magic of the Sierra.


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