Date: July 10, 2017
Miles: 9.2 miles (14.8km), from Tuolumne Meadows to mile 951.8.
Health: Feeling great and well rested.
While it was super windy when we were setting up camp last night, the wind died down for the night and we slept really well. As we had nowhere to go before the girls could make their resupply run to the Post Office after 9am, we could just sleep in and relax all morning. Pretty awesome!
I woke up little after 6am and had to get out my shelter as the sun was really making it hot inside. I slowly took down my camp and hiked back down to the gas station to use the toilet, have breakfast, and recharge my electronics. Blis and Happy Feet were there already, as was Juniper. I was surprised as I saw her tent up on the hill and thought she was still sleeping.
We found a table outside that was both in the shade and had plugs to charge our devices. Jackpot! I'm so happy we decided to come here as it split this long section nicely. And after yesterday's miles we were still ahead of our schedule.
I ordered my breakfast and ate with Blis and Happy Feet while the girls started walking the mile down to the town to get to the Post Office. We did nothing but joked around, edited photos, and fidgeted with our gear.
For some reason none of us who had AT&T had cell service today. It was weird as the network worked well last night. Verizon seemed to work great.
Once the girls came back, they repacked their bear cans and packs, we ate a quick lunch and then hopped on the midday bus back up to Tuolumne Meadows. It was a nice ride up the mountain road. The views were amazing as we slowly climbed back up from the valley floor. There was no one else in the bus except us.
Indigo was a bit nervous as she was meeting her father later today at the Tuolumne Meadows General Store but as she didn't have any cell service she couldn't keep in contact with her father. Also, as there was no service up at the Meadow, it was impossible to contact anyone up there.
Indigo and her father had arranged to meet at the general store but as we arrived there, Indigo's father wasn't there. We split up so that Juniper and us boys went to the trailhead to look for Indigo's father. Juniper was the only other person who knew what he looked like. Meanwhile Indigo and Airplane Mode stayed at the General Store.
After about an hour the girls arrived to the trailhead with Indigo's father, Jack. He seemed like he was very fit but had a pretty large backpack. He would have his work cut out for him as we all had our trail legs, and much lighter packs, and he would come fresh and have his first day on trail in notoriously tough Sierra. Luckily we were only doing about eight miles today.
We started slowly and got back on the trail. The trail was really well maintained and wide. It was easy to see that we were in Yosemite now. At times we could fit all six of us side by side on the trail.
On the first water crossing we all started walking across but Jack stopped and pulled out wading shoes. He's going to be really slow if he's going to change shoes at every water crossing.
It's no wonder the area is so popular, the nature around here is absolutely gorgeous. Lovely green meadows that have crystal clear streams flowing through them, deer and other animals roaming around, completely unafraid of human.
I kept hiking with a huge smile on my face. Not only were our surroundings one of the most beautiful ones I've seen, but there was no trace of snow and we could just focus on hiking on a well maintained, easy trail. I haven't felt this way in almost three weeks. It felt like we were really through the worst of the snow.
We passed some awesome river crossings and Tuolumne Falls, a fifty foot (15.2m) high waterfall, and countless meadows. We walked at a leisurely pace while Indigo told us interesting facts about plants, and then we talked about quantum physics.
After we left the river behind and started climbing up again, we got into a forest and mosquitoes came out in force. It wasn't nothing compared to Finland but you definitely wanted to have some mosquito repellent on your exposed parts.
We did about 1,000 feet climb up to the spot where we had planned to camp but as there was no water close by, we decided to hike 0.7 miles to a meadow with a stream. Indigo's dad was keeping up nicely but he was clearly feeling the climb. Good hustle on the first day as it's not easy to keep up with a bunch of trail hardened thru-hikers in Sierra.
Once we reached the meadow we were really happy with our decision to push on. It was so beautiful. We quickly found a nice spot little higher from the meadow, under some tree canopy, and next to a small creek. Perfect! This way our camp was out of the meadow where all the surrounding cold and moist air falls during the night, and have trees above us to stop the warmth from radiating upwards.
There was even a fire ring and we soon had a nice bonfire going on. The mosquitoes were really out now and the smoke from the fire was barely enough to keep them away from us. Juniper decided to eat her dinner inside her tent.
Indigo's dad brought some really good chocolate for Indigo as he had missed her birthday due to her being on trail and we all got to eat some. That was really nice of him.
As the clock approached hiker midnight we put the fire out and then went to our shelters. Tomorrow we have one pass to go over, and one river to forge. While this section has been called "the meat grinder" due to the bad river crossings (there have been few bad accidents), I have a feeling the water has had enough time to go down and we would not have such a huge trouble getting through. But we'll see soon. We'll get to the bad parts the day after tomorrow.