18.8 miles (Miles 923.3 – 942.1)
Above 1,000 Island Lake – Tuolumne Meadows
We are in Yosemite National Park! Awesome!
Our hike this morning brought us through a magical land of pine trees, boulders, and water – all evenly balanced and spaced apart from one another. The trail wound in, out and around all of them. At times it felt like the trail was travelling us along channels of land between water. There were streams, rivers, ponds and even water flowing over grassy patches and even our trail in spots.
We are in another heat wave. It’s been in the 90’s and the snow up high is melting fast. There’s not a lot of snow, but what is there is sure creating some swollen rivers! At one point we had to scramble down some giant boulders to get to a safe and dry spot to cross a snowmelt river. It was a cool spot, too. We’d just come down from Donahue Pass, and there was a small bowl surrounded by mountains, and a waterfall coming down a crevice into a small lake. That lake stretched to a spot where it just dropped off down a steep hill to a meadow way down below. This was the beginning of the creek-turned-rapids-river, which we followed all afternoon.
Speaking of the afternoon, we got down to where the trail mellows out into a beautiful meadow following our river that we saw the beginning of, and along came Aloha! He hiked out at least five miles to see us! He brought Snapples, Ritz crackers and squeeze cheese, too. It was really nice to hike with him. He was pretty sore by the end of it, but he pushed on like any hardcore hiker would.
The mosquitoes are getting worse the further north we get, and I read they are at their worse in our next 150 miles. All Watkins, deet and bug netting we have is coming with us.
We are camped in Yosemite – Aloha brought us to the store for snacks first – I got hot dogs that I was craving, and I ate three over a nice campfire. What a relaxing night! Now it’s time for bed… gettin’ up early to hit the trail again tomorrow.
There are a lot of bears around here. Signs, special storage, warnings, fines for leaving any food outside of arm’s reach, stories… and as we sat around the fire, Aloha says to me, “If you hear gunshots at night, it’s just rangers shooting rubber bullets at bears.” I guess there was a sign by the bathrooms alerting campers. Crazy.
Tonight I love bridges. Water crossings are fun, but I appreciate the bridges when we get to day-use areas like today.