Installment #17 - June 28, 1999 - Tuolumne Meadows
When I last called, it was from Red's Meadow. After that call, I went back to the campsite with fellow hikers Nick and Whitney and their friend Josh and his girlfriend, who were out visiting. They had brought a lot of food, and I was invited and we had a nice meal. One of the things he brought was a fish soup that I thought was terrific - I highly recommend Josh's fish soup! It just happened to be my birthday, and even though none of the others knew it, I really enjoyed my birthday dinner!
The next morning (actually, it was a pretty late morning [a little too much celebrating the night before, Mr. Downs?]), I headed out. I went through Devil's Postpile, and then the trail went through a section where it crossed several streams in a row. Usually, you wander up and down the stream to find the best place to cross rather than going straight across. At one stream, in that process, I lost the Pacific Crest Trail - I was on A trail, but not THE trail. After wandering around for a while, I found myself out in the middle of a swamp, with mosquitoes eating me alive. There was a river right beside me, and on the other side of the river was a campground. I knew that I wasn't supposed to cross the river at that point, but I did - I crossed the river to the campground. I ended up road-walking some distance until I found where the PCT crossed the river on a bridge, and rejoined the PCT and continued on. That was the first of several times I got lost that day.
Anyway, I spent the night above Thousand Island Lakes, and then Sunday went through Island Pass and Donahue Pass, then on through Lyell Canyon and into Tuolumne Meadows. I got here about 5:00 yesterday afternoon, and plan to head out tomorrow morning. I'm staying here two nights, partly because I've been having a little trouble getting through to Rita by phone, but also because I've got close to a blister on one of my feet.
A little anecdote I thought I'd pass along: For the first part of the trip, I was wearing a pair of REI shorts, but I wore them out and I'm now wearing a pair of red shorts that has shallower pockets than the REI shorts. When I'm nibbling on the trail, I have a habit of putting the zip-lock bag of whatever it is I'm eating in my pants pocket, and I've lost a few of them. So Nick and Whitney, hiking behind me and a day or so short of food, would come across a bag of banana chips. A while later, they'd come across a breakfast bar. And so on. It's gotten to the point that Whitney is now suggesting what she'd like me to put in my pants pocket - some Famous Amos cookies are at the top of the list!
[Any bear stories?] No! I've been through most of the bear territory and haven't seen any. One hiker I know of has seen one but I haven't. I'm now at the Tuolumne Meadows campground, where each campsite has a bear box, and I have my bear canister inside my bear box. I'll give up my bear canister, along with my ice axe and other high-country stuff when I reach Echo Summit, which I expect to do sometime around Thursday, July 8. I'm looking forward to my pack being six or eight pounds lighter.
Overall, things are going along fine, although I spent a little time visiting with our campground host here, and he's an "Escapee", which is an RV club that I belong to as well. Boy, the idea of sitting in a campground in an RV right now appeals to me!
And that winds up Chapter H, with its tremendous range of elevations! As you can see from the Chapter H Map, Allen is now hiking in Yosemite National Park, which I'm sure many of you have visited, so it'll be easier for you to picture his travels .
Speaking of pictures, Allen's sixth set of slides arrived. Sorted in and presented here:
Next report should be from Echo Lake sometime around July 8. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Added from scans of Allen's slides on June 28:
The Los Angeles Aqueduct
Lots of yellow flowers along the desert trail
Jack Fair sitting in a Barkolounger, dining
An abandoned mine entrance
Low sun on the mountains, with Allen's campsite in the foreground
A beautiful shot of mountains in the distance
Allen, Walt, Ron Vaughn, others in Jack Fair's garage
Trees coated with ice
Added from scans of Allen's slides on September 6:
Nick and Whitney preparing dinner
A group of us eating supper at Red's Meadow.
Devil's Postpile National Monument
Lyle Canyon from the bottom. Notorious bear country - they tell you to simply not camp there.