6.24.18. 22.2 miles.
We got hiking today at 6 am since we knew it would be a long day. The hike to the base of Donohue was really pretty, with nice mountains and lakes. Of course, the mosquitos were already out. I managed to keep my feet dry at all of the water crossings this morning. Woohoo! The climb up Donohue wasn’t too terrible, but let’s just say I’m happy it’s our last legitimate pass (Sonora Pass is actually a highway). I was feeling #allthefeels when I got to the top of the pass and saw the sign stating we’re entering Yosemite wilderness! My home park, and I walked here!
The descent was really pretty at first with lots of mountains and a pretty lake, and then was mostly foresty. We saw a lot of SOBO JMTers climbing up Donohue and I did not envy them. The way up the north side of the pass is much longer and steeper.
Before we knew it, we got to the part of the trail where it basically just levels out the whole way to Tuolumne Meadows. I hadn’t been in Lyell Canyon before, but it is very pretty! Just lots of green meadows, and the water from the Lyell Fork is so turquoise! Once we sat down for a water filtering break, we realized we had 6.5 miles to Tuolumne Meadows and it was about 10 am. We figured we may as well just go the whole way and make it for lunch. The rest of the hike seemed to slog on after that. Some up/down, lots of muddy trail, and just a lot of trees. I just wanted to be there already! I knew we were getting closer when we started seeing tons of day hikers (it’s Sunday) and more trail junctions. Soon, we were passing by the wilderness office, and then Tioga Road! My heart skipped a beat when I saw Lembert Dome and the road and everything. I truly felt home, but it was also such a strange feeling, especially being there without my favorite Yosemite buddy (my mom).
We booked it to the store/ grill and promptly got in line to order food. I got a soft serve swirl ice cream, cheeseburger, chips, a Powerade, and a Crush soda. I was thirsty! I also got a few trail snacks from the store, including my FAVORITE Yosemite beef jerky (Half Dome Teriyaki, if you were wondering). We chilled out at the picnic tables outside in the shade and caught up with our friend, Old Timer, while eating and drinking. We ended up being there for about 2 hours, but had to leave because we still had about 6 miles to hike.
Hiking the next 6 miles was super surreal because I’ve hiked them before, and just last summer! It’s the first time on the trail where I was totally familiar with where I was. I thought I’d get a little teary eyed on the top of Donohue, but it actually happened on this part of the trail! I remember how excited I was last year to be out on my first long backpacking trip with my mom, and even more excited it was in the yosemite high country. And we had such a great time, so I got a little emotional. It looked so different than last year though! I’m sure Hot Mess & Butters were getting annoying with me saying “well, last year... xyz” but it’s so true, there was just SO much more water last year, even in mid-July vs. the late-June of now.
We decided to set up camp at the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, right off of the PCT. Now, that’s something I didn’t get to do with Mom last year, since we opted to continue hiking towards May Lake since we got there so early and the footbridge was out. The footbridge was still out this year, and it looks like the camp is staying closed as well this year, but the ford to the camp was sooo much lower. Too bad I have to have wet feet starting out tomorrow though, since my shoes didn’t dry. It’s a warm night though, so we’ll see. The mosquitos weren’t as bad tonight as last night, but I still have a lot more bites and they’re starting to drive me crazy!