Miles – 14.2
Total miles – 232.87
It was darker than normal when we woke. There were clouds covering the sky to the east and they were blocking the morning sun. We ate, packed, and started off for Clouds Rest. It did not take long to reach its summit. The views were wonderful in all directions. We did not stay long because there was a cold wind blowing from out of the East. As we started down we could see Half Dome below us to the South. It took a few hours to reach the trail junction for Half Dome. We stashed our packs a ways off of the trail, took one bottle of water and started for Half Dome. The climb was not bad until we came to the first quarter dome. It had steps going up one side. The climb was slow. As we rounded it’s top we came to the cables. Mama Raven was not looking forward to this. They are posts about every 10 feet with a 2×4 to stand on. Slowly we worked our way up. It was very hard work and it tired our hands and arms as well as our legs. After an eternity, we reached the top. We spent some time at the top, resting, taking pictures, and peeking over the edge. We found a hole in the middle of the top where a dropped rock would make noise for about 15 seconds. Finally, it was time to head down. Walking down the cables is easier than going up. You have to stand up and control your speed with your hands. Your hands do get very tired. Finishing the cables we hiked down the quarter dome and back to our packs. All and all it took about four hours to summit Half Dome and return. Now came a very long down, all the way to the valley floor. We took the fastest route down, our tired leg protesting the whole way. We finally reach the bottom around 5:30. We took the first bus to backpacks camp and setup. It was a very hard day and we are all very tired.
Near Clouds Rest
Miles – 16.5
Total miles – 218.67
It was another cold night and we were not in a hurry. The store did not open until 8:00. We got up and talked with Catwater and the other volunteers before packing. Soon it was time to head off. We said our goodbyes and walked over to the store. We picked up some bear claws and drinks and sat in the meadow eating. Finally, it was time to start hiking. Our first objective was Glen Aulin. We have been out that way a number of times. There are a few locations where there are large flat slabs of granite with the Tuolumne River passing by. It is really pretty. Just before we reached Glen Aulin we took a trail south to McGee Lake. From the point all the way to Half Dome is trail we have never been on. Something new. After passing McGee Lake we did a few ups and downs and after a few hours we arrived at Tenaya Lake. We took a long break there and soaked our feet. Soon after leaving Tenaya Lake we started a long steep up. We did not expect this, but we pushed through. Late in the day we stopped at the only barely flowing water to filter and cook dinner. After eating, we decided to push on a little more. With the mountains painted in reds and oranges, with the setting sun, we came to a flat area and stopped for the night. Tomorrow we will summit Clouds Rest, Half Done, and hiking down to The Valley.
Miles – 0
Total miles – 202.17
We have a problem at Sonora Pass, a fire has closed the trail North of it. Our Sonora Pass resupply boxes have been sent home twice. We could leave Tuolumne Meadows and hike North to Sonora Pass, but how do we get off the trail? We have decided to cut our trip short. Today we picked up a permit to hike to Glen Aulin then turn South and head to Tenaya Lake, pass it and hike over Clouds Rest, summit Half Done, and then on into The Valley. This is a lot shorter than what we were planning, but that is ok. It’s a vacation.
Today we spent time seeing Tuolumne Meadows. We picked up and sorted our box. We mailed home the extra food. We hiked around Lembert Dome and sat along the Tuolumne River. It was a quite easy day.
Tuolumne Measures (940.84)
Miles – 14.53
Total miles – 202.17
It was a warm night, but it was a little hard to sleep with a full moon and no trees to block the light. Toward morning my phone said that it was 4:30. We started to wonder why it was so light at 5:00. By 5:30 we decided to eat breakfast and get an early start. Around 6:00 Whisper informed us that her watch said it was 7:00. I realized that my cell phone was an hour off. Every now and then, when a cell phone is not connected to a tower, it can lose track of the time. This was going to be a later start. We packed quickly and were hiking by 7:20. Our trail climbed up Donohue Pass. A cold wind was blowing as we hiked out of the trees and up the rocky valley toward the pass. It was only two miles to the top so it did not take us long. We stopped long enough for a few pictures before heading down. The winds stayed with us until we dropped to the first hanging valley. On the way down Bling saw a large Black Bear, which was brown. We took at break and ate something before we heading down to Lyell Canyon. Now the hiking became very easy. Lyell Canyon is very flat. There rest of the day we headed toward Tuolumne Meadows. We took a side trail to the campground and set up our tents in the backpackers camp. Then it was off to the store for drinks and dinner. We took our drinks and dinner across the road and sat in the meadow eating. Once we finished I went to the grill to return the tray. As I was leaving I saw Catwater.
Catwater is a thru-hiker we meet on the PCT in 2015, we saw her for 5 minutes in the middle of Washington in 2016, we started and hiker a lot of the CDT with her last year, and here she is this year. We knew she volunteers in the Yosemite Park every year, but we did not know when she will be here this year.
After saying hi to her I sent her out to see Mama Raven. Catwater and Mama Raven decided to move our tents to their group camp and we visited with Catwater will past hiker midnight.
Beyond Rush Creek (927.24)
Miles – 12.39
Total miles – 187.64
We had a good night’s rest in a warm room. Around 7:00 we went down for breakfast, then returned to our room to finish packing. We headed out of the hotel a little before 8:00. We made a quick stop at Shachts for bread before heading to the bus stop. Our timing was a little off and we had to wait 20 minutes for the next bus to The Village. From there we cough the bus for Reds Meadow, but we did not go there far. We got off at Agnew Meadow. Now the climb started. The trail goes up the east side of the valley. Almost the whole way up we had wonderful views across the valley, at the Ritter range, Banner peak, and the mountains far to the South. We took a long break and soaked our feet at 1000 Island Lake. This lake is one of the most beautiful lakes along the whole trail. It is very large and dotted with tree covers islands. After a bit we continued on to Islands Pass, one of the flattest passes we know of. In fact, we have trouble knowing where it is. Every time we have crossed it, we try to figure out where the top is, but we are still not sure. After crossing the pass we hiked on to Rock Creek and then kept going toward Donohue Pass. Since the trail is easy once we cross Donohue Pass we decided to start early tomorrow. We had plenty of time to cross the pass today, but we just did not need to rush. We will be in Tuolumne tomorrow with no problem.