Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 54, Tuolumne!

Daily mileage: 21
Mile 921.5-942.5

Town day! And not just any town day. Today the goal was to get to Tuolumne Meadows and get a ride to Yosemite Valley. Because if you are going to take a full day off how could you not want to go down to the valley?
Still had lots of miles to do though, and the tricky business of getting to the the post office in Tuolumne before it closes. So bright and early as usual. Only thing was, it's hard to go fast when you can't stop admiring the view. Ansel Adams Wilderness, stunning. Breakfast at thousand island lakes, what a view.

Then it was on to Island Pass, which honestly you are up and over before you know it, then you climb up to Donahue Pass. I love this area, but between chatting with a day hiker and trying to go semi quickly I seem to have skipped the photo part. At least here's the view from the top.

We had an early siesta on top of the pass, giggling, playing cards and of course eating. Entertaining all the hikers who passed by. Then it was time for the real plan to start. Caveman and TW would go there super speedy pace to get to the post office on time while cheese whiz and I would go our normal pace and then we would all meet up and try to go to the valley. It's useful having fast people on bigger mile days. So off they went and off we went. Enjoying the glacier lakes and the views of the meadow we were heading towards. Hard not to be giddy after this long of a stretch and only 13 or so trail miles between us and fresh food.

Lyell Canyon is one long meadow but we had a great time. 8 miles of people watching and talking about food, even jumped in the river which was fantastic.
Turns out timing is everything, right as we walked up to the Tuolumne Meadows store TW and Caveman had found a ride that was literally pulling out of the parking lot. He was cool enough to wait as all 4 of us jammed our stuff into his truck and then it was off the 39+ winding miles down to the valley. Cheese Whiz and I were in the back with an insane amount of stuff but luckily enough there were two quick breaks to stretch our legs and take some pictures.

Our ride was a climber and photographer who was amazing for taking all 4 of us. Usually we just hitch in pairs.
Dropped us off at Curry Village and everything was perfect. We started to gear explode and eat so much delicious food and continually jumping up and down in excitement over pretty much everything.

Caveman had some friends also in the valley who were on family vacation who came and met us. Mostly laughing at our excitement over fresh avocados and our salsa creation. We were there for a pretty long time, answering lots of tourist questions and just enjoying ourselves. Finally after dark we set out to find the backpackers campground. Long story short people were tired, circles were walked in and we made friends and set up camp with some nice folks next to their giant car camping tent.
Then wandered around the campground in search of food and a campfire. We made some friends, answered a million questions and got free salad. Still in search of a campfire cheese whiz and I kept looking while caveman and TW headed to bed. We were in luck, met some great folks from the Santa Cruz area on a reunion birthday trip who we hung out with for hours. Lots of story swapping and general good times. Then it was back to bed with a bit of a stop to enjoy the sound of the river and the stars. So happy for our day off tomorrow and loving being in yosemite valley.

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