16.7 miles (Miles 942.1 – 958.8)
Tuolumne Meadows – PCT Mile 958.8
The first thing that happened to us today was awesome. Less than a mile from where we started we ran into Billy Goat – he’s famous out here on the PCT. He’s known for saying, “The last one to Canada wins,” and he’s got a song he sings that I hope I get to hear at some point during this hike. He’s a great guy, and he’s out here hiking every year. We felt good when he said to us as he hiked towards us (we were hiking out of Yosemite with lots of dayhikers), “I can tell by your stride that you’re not just out for a day hike,” and he smiled. What a compliment! We look like thru-hikers! Running into him was a highlight of our day.
We saw some awesome falls today, but the biggest and most powerful was Tuolumne Falls. Waterfalls always make me think of my pappy because he likes them so much. I always wish he was here to see them with me. I still hope he and my mom can make it out to visit… maybe Oregon… ?
So Yosemite has the famous Half Dome. I never really thought about it, or even asked myself why it’s called that, but I think I’ve figured it out. There are these giant hills made of solid, smooth rock. Some are as big as mountains themselves. They’re called “domes.” Makes sense. Well, if you’ve ever seen a photo of, or been to Half Dome, its got one flat edge, straight up. Half of a dome. Yup… I never even thought about it. There are all kinds of domes in the park, big and small, and we hiked up, down, over and around a whole bunch of them today.
We didn’t hike into the valley to see Half Dome, and I know a lot of hikers did. When I originally planned this hike I was going to try to finish the JMT and climb Half Dome, but we decided to just continue on the PCT. It would be two extra days to hike it and we’d have to get extra permits. In addition to us just taking three zero days, we thought it would be better to keep going. I think I’ll try to talk Aloha into hitting that up after the PCT hike if we have the time and money. It’s on my list!
The pine trees around here are letting off some major pollen. A couple days ago it actually looked hazy, then Tears pointed out a few trees that were being swayed with a breeze, and there was a yellowish cloud coming off of them. Today when we stopped for a break there was yellow pollen dusted onto our packs. I’m feeling thankful that I’m not allergic!
I got a satisfying fill of challenging river crossings today. I just said yesterday that I love bridges, and I do, but I enjoy the natural crossings even more. They’re a really fun part of backpacking. There were three times we had to walk up or downstream looking for a safer and drier crossing because these rivers are deep and moving pretty fast. We always unbuckle everything and try our best not to fall. Getting wet isn’t too big of a deal, as long as it’s not chilly out – and it was in the 90’s again today – the biggest concern would be falling and hitting our head or something. We are always as safe as we can be. So far, so good – only a few wet feet so far.
Right at the end of the day today we had a challenging climb. It consisted of steep, short switchbacks for over a mile. I got into a groove and felt strong and awesome going up that hill. My breathing was good and steady, my heart rate was in a good spot and staying there, my posture felt straight and strong, and my legs did the rest without complaint. It felt amazing… almost cleansing. As I huffed and puffed steadily I felt almost like I was exhaling toxins and inhaling fresh oxygen… which I probably was, actually. I just kept going almost to the top… I just didn’t know where the top was! When Tears met up with me we trucked on for another 15 minutes (uphill, still) until we found a cute little campsite… at the top! We found it! Well, at least that climb is our of the way for tomorrow!
We are camped here with lots of mosquitoes and chickadees fluttering around. Every once in a while we hear the birds flutter from one tree to the next right over our tent… through the steady buzzing of the skeeters, which are outside. Hah! Suckers! (Literally!)
Tonight I love feeling strong. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” ♡