Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Last month we backpacked in Yosemite with Lila and Chuck! It was absolutely grand. Four days, 40 miles, 6,000 feet of climbing, 6,000 feet of descending. Some great wildlife sightings: one coyote (colloquially known to some of us as a white wolf), three California Black Bears, 2 snakes of indeterminate origin (who wants to stay around long enough to look?) and an enormous Great Gray Owl. We enjoyed great food, evening cards, taking ice cold dips in the Tuolumne River and beautiful scenery. 

For those interested in our trip route, here's a park map. We began in Tuolumne Meadows at the Dog Lake trailhead, and hiked 7.5 miles to Young Lakes. Day 2, we hiked to the Tuolumne River, past Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp to Waterwheel Falls. Day 3, we hiked into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, following the Tuolumne River to Pate Valley. We then hiked out to White Wolf Campground. 

The view of part of Tuolumne Meadows. 

Lembert Dome, near where we began our hike.

Our first stop at Dog Lake,

where we saw some incredible dragonfly molting.

 Dog Lake

Our hike took us through meadows...

... and forests.

This alpine meadow was stunning, and windy.

This is our first look at Ragged Peak as we approached Young Lake.

Elevation at Young Lake: 9850!

We enjoyed an apertif by the lake.

The next morning we awoke to frost on the ground. The lake's tributaries were frozen.

Here's our tent: if you look closely, you can see Brian holding up his shorts - frozen solid from hanging outside all night.

The lake was a glassy mirror: I couldn't choose which reflection pic to include, so I kept them all.

Pumping water was a morning ritual. 

Each morning we took a picture. We're ready for a downhill hike today!

The hike down toward the river was across granite slabs.

 Our first glimpses of the Tuolumne River.

In most places the trail is well established.

 Mules pack out supplies for the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp.

Sometimes the trail is hard to see...

 ... and other times it's a granite staircase.

 For most of the second day we hiked along the river, making several crossings. It was stunning.

In some places, there are logs strewn about, we presume having been washed ashore.

The last hours of our hike offered great views into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

We camped next to the river.

Our morning picture: Day 3!

We hiked into the canyon - on some incredible terrain.

We hiked along the river most of the day.

Lila spies the trail up ahead.

The camera's timer (and my quick feet) enabled this candid lunch picture.

Our afternoon hike into Pate Valley brought incredible views and steep climbs, but some incredible waterfalls provided nice resting points.

 The trail kept going.

After crossing through Pate Valley, which had very few camping options, we found an amazing spot right next to the river. We all enjoyed a very refreshing/numbing dip. We were enjoying dinner when we we saw a mother bear and two cubs!

 Our last morning picture at our campsite along the Tuolumne River.

 The morning's climb was about 2500 feet. There are a lot of pictures that look like this as I stopped to take a breather. Here's a look back at Pate Valley where we began the morning.

 That's Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

 Still climbing!

After climbing about 2500 feet, we had lunch and decided to change our plan of being in the wilderness one more night and climbed 1100 more to get to the White Wolf campground, which offered a bit more civilization (hopefully showers!).

 The forest trail to White Wolf!

Purple flowers in the meadow.

Off the trail!

We camped at White Wolf campground that night, enjoying nearly all the beer, cheetos and potato chips that the campground store had to offer. The next morning we enjoyed the first non-oatmeal breakfast we'd had in a long time at the campground restaurant. We then took a morning tour of Yosemite Valley.

Can you spot the climber? He's on the curve in the bottom left of the picture.

El Capitan! A great trip!