Thursday, June 26, 2008
Hiking early, 3.5 miles to Sonora Pass, warm night. Saw Gordon and Nimblewill Nomad at the Pass. Caught a ride down to Bridgeport with this great couple going fishing and found a cafe for breakfast (where we ran into the couple again) and when we finished with our Cheddar and Bacon Omelette.........we found out that the couple had paid for our breakfast! Wow! Went to the laundrymat, cleaned clothes, then to the PO and mailed home some more stuff that we don't need. Then this man (Steve) comes into the PO and says that he takes hikers to his house if we need anything! Well.......I couldn't tell you how much I wanted a shower! So, we followed him home (like puppy dogs!) and we are here now with Mollie and she made us brownies (after we weighed ourselves......and I'm 110.5 and Neighbor is 187...yikes!!) and wow, we are clean and feeling GREAT! I love this town and it's only .5 mile long, so we don't have to walk far at all! Now, we'll go to the little store, buy some food for the next 75 miles to Echo Lake and get ourselves back up to Sonora Pass and back on the trail.........headed North! Thank you so much Steve and Mollie......people like you are amazing and make our trip what it is.
Mosquitos were awake before us! Skipped the cereal and just got moving! Still easy walking, gotta love the terrain change! Passed Dorothy Lake (picture to the left) Hiked 20 miles by 2pm and only saw Cliff Clavin all day long. Felt good at 3pm, so we kept going, but it brought us up to this barren, treeless landscape with drops on all sides and no where to camp! Finally, we found a beautiful spot just below this bowl of snow that looked like a mini Tuckerman's Ravine! Slept on the Tyvek with no tent (no bugs up here) The stars were amazing! Wow, what a great day and we didn't have to use any DEET! Funny how 1 day makes all the difference!
Lots of ups and downs today. Down into a canyon, cross a raging "creek" and then climb back up the other side, then do it all over again and again and again. Oh and the air is still filled with smoke and now the mosquitos are out in full force. Creek crossings were a little rough today, 2 of them were up to my waist and had some force behind them. And the whole time, the mosquitos are in full attack mode. Fun stuff. I know I was thinking, "why am I here?" thoughts today. I live 5 min drive from 3 major stores that sell lots of food and I'm here?! Crazy! Eventually I just hiked with the headnet on. Came very close to just crashing through one creek (instead of taking the shoes and socks off) because I was covered in mosquitos, but in the end, just pulled out the 29% DEET that we bought in Tuolomne meadows! Hiked 22 miles and put up the tent and jumped inside in the end! Only saw Cliff Clavin today (another thru-hiker) Only 30 miles from Sonora Pass. Filled out some postcards, but forgot to mail them, so I'm carrying them for the next 75 miles!
Hiking by 7am - easy walking, couple of creek crossings that I thought were going to be tricky were no problem!! (Cathedral Peak in the distance in the photo to the left) The air is filled with smoke, you can see it and smell it and it makes us wonder if we are walking straight into a wild fire that we don't know about yet....rather unsettling. Had to cross a small creek today that I thought I could just throw my sneakers across (instead of strapping them to my pack for the short crossing) well......the first one made it to the other side, and then it bounced off the banking and into the river........and downstream it started to float, so I had to jump into the river and grab my now soaking wet shoe. Ugh. I won't be doing that ever again. Hiked about 23 miles today.
Caught a ride down to "The Valley" with Kentucky Graybeard's wife (it was an hour and 30 min drive!!) Then we played tourist for the day! Saw Yosemite Falls (walked up to the lower falls) Took some great pictures of the falls and Half Dome and walked around a bit. Some hikers were going up Half Dome, but we'll save that 16 mile hike for some other day! Hitched back to Crane Flat and were about to stick out our thumbs to get back up to Tuolome Meadows, when who comes around the corner but Gordon in the Van with Nimblewill Nomad!! Yes! What a great day! Camped behind the store with Gordon again and will be back on the trail in the morning, we are ready to hike!!!!
3.5 miles to the pass were a breeze! We were at the top of Donahue Pass by 8am! (view from Donahue Pass to the left) While the snow was still hard for once! No slipping and sliding around for us this morning!! Nothing steep or scary either, pretty mellow pass. Then the trail flattened out and meandered along a river/creek for the next .....oh 12 miles?! All the way to Tuloumne Meadows! Picked up a care package from Priscilla (homeade cookies, freeze dried meals, jolly ranchers, spices, tootsie pops! yummm) And a box that we mailed there to ourselves with extra stuff. Then we raided the store! ice cream, yogurt, soda, donuts, chips, you name it............we ate it! :) Then the sky darkend and the strangest thing happened....it rained! Wow, only the 2nd rain in 64 days! No complaints here! We took refuge in the store (which had a canvas roof that nearly blew off) Camped behind the store with Gordon and some people are talking about going down into the "valley" tomorrow (I've never been to Yosemite National Park...........it would be nice to see since we are sooo close)
Slept great, cereal for breakfast, then took a side trail to the Devil's Postpile (picture to the left) (interesting geographical feature). Then the PCT and the JMT split for the next 14 miles, so we stayed on the PCT (we can always come back and hike what we missed of the JMT some other time) Passed by Thousand Islands Lake. Saw 3 deer today. Feels good to be rid of the ice axe (I nearly speared myself on that thing a few times while packing up in the morning!!) Found a great camp spot just across a creek, Chief came along later and camped with us. Seeing more and more JMT hikers now, which is great because there are more footprints over the snowy passes! 17.6 miles to Tuolomne Meadows and only 3.5 in the morning to Donahue Pass!
We went back to Von's for some lunch and then caught the bus back up to Red's Meadow, skipped the second steak dinner at Whiskey Creek. Camped with Nomad and Sunny at the campground and checked out the hot spring showers! Back to the trail in the morning!!