Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 3: Bye, Bye Fam Bam

Friday, August 10, 2012

Little Yosemite Valley Campground (mile 11.3) to Upper Cathedral Lake (mile 24.5).

Today's miles: 13.2
Trip miles: 24.5

At 8:10am, I said goodbye to my cousin and mom. Their destination was Yosemite Valley, where their first backpacking trip would come to an end.

I'm very proud of both of them and happy they had a great time.

As for me, my solo 14 day trek on the John Muir Trail is finally here, but it doesn't feel any different than any other hike I've done. Apparently the grandeur of my hike hasn't hit me yet.

Early in the morning, and prior to the junction with the Half Dome Trail, I met Richie and Abbie from Truckee, California, who are also headed to Mt. Whitney. They plan to finish around the same time as me so I'm sure we'll be seeing each other often.

After a few miles of forested trail and steep switchbacks, I was rewarded with beautiful views of Yosemite and the High Sierras.

If I didn't mention it before, very low snowfall this past winter has made for much drier conditions than normal.

Some waterfalls in Yosemite Valley - Yosemite Falls for example - are completely dry; and many creeks and streams that would otherwise be my water sources are also dry - case in point is Sunrise Creek - pictured below.

Dry Sunrise Creek

Before Sunrise Camp, I met a family of three (father, mother & daughter) also hiking to Mount Whitney, but attempting to do it in 19 days. Don't think I'll see them much after today.

meadow north of Sunrise High Sierra Camp
Rugged wilderness east of the meadow
Not too long after, I met Mark - a solo hiker from Colorado who is also out hiking the John Muir Trail and has a similar finish goal as me. He was resting in the shade when I walked by. He was running very low on water, feeling dehydrated and suffering from altitude sickness.

Find it strange that someone residing in Colorado would be experiencing altitude sickness at 9000 ft? So did I. After inquiring, I found out Mark had only recently moved to Colorado.

Although I only had 3/4 of a liter of water left (and had to make it last for ~4 miles in very hot and dry weather), I offered him some. He graciously refused and caught up with me an hour down the trail as I was taking photos.

trailside lounge

Long Meadow and Cathedral Peak
At 3:20 pm we arrived at my destination for the day - Upper Cat. Lake.

After soaking in the beauty of the lake, Mark and I quickly filled our bottles with cold, tasty water. Glad we did so because just as we finished, a man rode his pack horses into the lake for a drink of water, and three of the horses urinated into the pristine lake. NOT COOL!!

There has to be an alternative method the pack horse crew can and should utilize. Sure it might take more work to get the water to the horses instead of getting the horses to the water, if we're sharing the wilderness, we should be considerate towards one another as well. Ok, rant over.

Upper Cathedral Lake is beautiful! Beautiful but windy. I looked for a site sheltered from the wind and hope I have found one, although the wind has died down in the last half hour.

Before dinner, I took a dip in the lake. The water was actually quite warm, and despite the wind, I was not cold at all. Today dip was the 3rd in a row. I can get used to this!

I hastily dried myself off due to the wind and ate dinner while my undies dried. Did I forget to mention that my dip subbed for laundry?

Richie and Abbie, and the family of three are all camped near the lake, but I've chosen to camp east of the trail, well away from the lake.

I'm camped all by myself tonight, a first for me, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Gonna go watch the sunset and then its off to bed.

I'm not at all tired but excited for tonight because it seems like the temperature might be cold enough tonight for me to finally test my down socks :)

“The sun shines not on us but in us.” ~John Muir

posted from Bloggeroid

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