Day 62-66: The Sierras Part 3

Day 62 – Wednesday 6/22

I woke up and wasn’t in my tent and could not remember how to get here…
Just kidding 😀

I had dinner with Bliss, Jack and Hobbit and planned to catch the last bus back to Red Meadows where I set up my tent. I haven’t really checked the schedule and just new the last one leave around 7pm but I missed the first bus which would bring to the main bus station. I ended up staying at a cabin which a group of hikers I know rented and took the first bus back up.

Out of nowhere, the bus driver stopped and said we should look to our right. There were a bear mother with a really small cup, just jumping over the tree logs. Seems it was a good thing that I missed the bus yesterday 😀

I got back to my tent and everything was still there. I set out back on the trail but walked trough Reds Meadows which has a special natural attraction: Devils Postpile which are hexagon rock columns of basaltic lava shaped nearly 100,000 years ago.

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As I got out of Reds Meadow, I took the John Muir Trail which separates from the PCT for the second time. It has the same distance but suppose to be more scenic. The first half of it went trough the Forrest and I was accompanied by hundreds of mosquitos -.-

At a bug free spot I set up my tent to take a nap and jumped before in one of a dozen lakes I passed.

Late afternoon I woke up again and thought about hike until it gets dark but as I passed a campsite with PCT hikers which had a fire going i decided to stop and stay.

Day 63 – Thursday 6/23

Again, I was the first who got up and left the campsite. I had 6 more miles until I reach the PCT again and those one were the scenic ones. Beautiful big Tarns, high cliffs and snow on the mountains made a great picture.

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Back on the PCT I had to go over another pass of 11,000ft before I decent to a meadow which leads us to Tuolumne Meadows. Crossing the pass I also enter Yosemite National Park!!!

I thought about going until Tuolumne but I saw in my notes that I have to pay for camping, so I decided to set up my camp short before the “no free camping area” and use the time I have left to read more of my latest book. I try to read through all the Game of Thrones books 😉

Day 64 – Friday 6/24

It didn’t took long to got to Tuolumne and I stopped at the wilderness center to ask for hiking down to the valley and climbing up to clouds rest. They told me I have to wait until 11am till they give away reserved. Permits which have been not picked up. I decided to wait and lucky I and my two friends I am also getting permits are, we also got permits to climb Half Dome. It’s my third time in Yosemite and finally I got to climb it!!!

After setting up my tent at the backpacker campground, I went to the kiosk/restaurant to get some food and found some friends chilling in front. Bliss and Jack made it also already to Tuolumne. We had a nice day relaxing talking and eating since our permits are valid from the next day on.

Day 65 – Saturday 6/65

After having breakfast, Bliss Jack Weta and I left to continue the JMT to the valley. It was such a surprise to see Weta again. We hiked the first weeks together and I happy having him around again. Our plan today was to get 9 miles towards the valley and then take the trail going up to Clouds Rest, a peak from where you can see half dome and the valley behind.

We really took our time and had a couple breaks while enjoying the views and lakes. It was already afternoon as we got to junction and we had 7 more miles to the top. We got there around 6pm and celebrated Bliss her birthday (what an awesome way to spent your birthday)

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On the way down to the campsite we stopped to enjoy the sunset and as we got there it was already dark. A ranger was still up and informed us that there is a problem bear in the area.

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We stop at a site where 3 men started already a fire and set down with them talking about Yosemite and our problem bear. We named her Agnes.

Day 66 – Sunday 6/26

I woke up around 1 in the morning to a sound like wood chocking. The guys we camped with realized quickly that it’s actually the bear who got one of our bear canister and tried to break it. I was still a bit sleepy and the guys chased the bear already away. I fall back to sleep in seconds….

An hour later, I woke up the shouts of the guys because the bear came back. Black Bears doesn’t really attack people, they are just looking for food. So, Agnes wandered trough our camp trying to get another bear canister but run away without one. Okay that’s it I thought and went back to bed.

A hour later again I woke up hearing the bear tramping again through out camp and Weta chased her away with his New Zealand accent 😀

That was the last time she came in our tent and we got up around 6 in morning, having just a couple hours of sleep. We were camping close to Half Dome and we wanted to climb it before a big crowed from gets there.

Half Dome is one of the major climbs in Yosemite and it’s only possible for non-climbers because chains were installed. There is only one way up and before the park started a permit system, people got stuck for a while. Now it’s less crowed and as we got up there was nobody in line.

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It took me 15min to get up and the view is really impressive. After a couple pictures and enjoying the panorama, we went back down the cables. It was even more scarier then going up. Halfway, my water bottle fall out of my side pocket because I was leaning so much forward to have more traction with my shoes. It got stock between some rocks next to the cables, so I decided to climb out and get it (Leave no trace). I also found a camera and a can of mixed fruits 😀

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Back down we went to our tents, packed everything and got on the trail down to the valley. I had pretty good reception so I called my brother and talked with him almost the whole way down.

Last year we were at Yosemite about the same time and did an amazing day hike (panoramic trail). It was also the time I thought about taking some more time off the just the couple weeks of holidays to really enjoy the beauty of the Californian nature.

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As I got closer to the valley, the number of tourist exploded. I could smell the people even before I saw them and probably they me too 🙂 At the shuttle bus stop a ranger saw me and told me everything I wanted to know: Where do I get some food and where to stop to catch the bus back to Tuolumne Meadows. She also let me enter the bus first and said if somebody has a problem with that, it’s their own 😀

At the visitor center I charged my batteries of my devices and my own with a 2person hiker style pizza. The bus came in the afternoon and it took almost 2h to get back where we started the day ago. Back at the campground I set up my tent and saw two old friends again. Sexy bad who is now called goldfish and joe who is Topo. We sat together at a big campfire where a ranger talked about hiking stories and poetry from people who lived and loved the sierras.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. (John Muir)

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