Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 62 - Tuolumne Meadows

June 26, 2012
Day 62
Miles: 20
Total Miles: 942

Winds last night near Thousand Island Lake were fierce!  My tent came "loose" twice - I had to reach outside the tent in the middle of the night and tighten the zip lines that were loosened by the constant wind batting against my tent.  While doing this I tore a hole in the fabric of the air vent because I misplaced the support pole (my trekking pole) before tightening the line.  In the morning, after a restless night, I woke up to clear and calm skies.
I made it Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park today after crossing over Donahue Pass, the last 11,000+ foot pass in the Sierras.  The last 10-12 miles were relatively flat after I descended down the pass.  I crossed a stock caravan twice on the descent before realizing that I packed up and hiked in the wrong direction after lunch!  I think my mind was distracted by the possibility of reaching Tuolumne and the restaurant and general store.  After realizing my mistake, I hiked double-time to make it to Tuolumne before they closed at 4 - catching up the same caravan of horses/mules that I had walked by on the pass (now heading back to Tuolumne).  I knew their pride was bruised that a hiker could pass, much less keep up with, the riders on their "high horse"!  They didn't know I was hiking for food and  under-estimated a hungry hiker's stamina!  As I was approaching from behind they looked back every so often to see if I was still there.  Each time I grew closer and closer to the stock train and wondered what I was going to do to get around a dozen easily-spooked animals.  The hose team finally stopped and let me pass, and with a couple of nods I was hiking off faster than before with nothing to keep me from a stocked store or burger at the restaurant.

Stock Train on the PCT near Tuolumne Meadows

I made it 15 mins before the restaurant was supposed to close - but it was the wrong restaurant, an outdoor cloth napkin affair at the lodge that was only open for reservations!  After some confusion and asking around I realized that the restaurant that closed at 4 was down the main road - a short bus ride away.  I jumped on the free shuttle bus and arrived at the restaurant too late.  The store, however, was thankfully open and I pulled as much pre-packaged food off the shelf as I thought I needed and walked outside to join other hikers lingering at the benches across from the parking lot.  Soon I was on my way to the campground behind the store.  After a reunion with Desert Fox and Masa at the campground I was running back to the store for beer and ice-cream.

It's been lonely on the trail the past few days and I hope I can hike out with some others after a rest day.


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PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!