Kennedy Meadows to Bridgeport 7/14

It took three hitches and a little less than half a day but we made it to Bridgeport to pick up Deluxe’s hip belt. We met Gulliver along the way and even ran into Tsunami in town. The four of us split a room at the “haunted” Bridgeport Inn (I didn’t get the chance to look into it) and shared some drinks at the Sportsman’s Bar a Grill.

Horse and dogs everywhere at Kennedy Meadows North.
Now entering Jefferson State territory.
Darned my Darn Toughs.
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…and I just walked 500 more! 7/13

That’s right, 1,000 miles down and only 1,600 left to go!

The day started bright and early. I had yet to truly catch a sunrise in the Sierras so we made it a point to catch it at Dorothy Pass. Without clouds the wasn’t a ton of color but it was nice to get a head start on the day. After the pass the scenery began to slowly change as we moved beyond the granite mountainsides of Yosemite.

We opted to push a bit further than planned today because of the early start and we made it Sonora Pass and hitched a ride into Kennedy Meadows North.

Sunrise at Dorothy Pass.
Yep, still on the PCT.
It’s beginning to look a bit like Mars.

Maybe hard to see but that’s 1,000 miles in the bag.

Dorothy Pass 7/12

Made it Dorothy Pass, the northern most entry to Yosemite. Today was definitely the wettest and most mosquito filled day so far. I kid you not, at least once every 5 minutes the trail went underwater or the was a wet river crossing. But Dorothy Lake was a beautiful lake to call an end to the day. No swimming today as it was a little too late in the day for me to want to swim in a lake still half covered in ice.

Typical trail from today.

More trail…I scared a small fish off the trail before starting the video!

Dorothy Lake
Three weeks later and the knees are doing much better.

Mosquitoes and Small Lake 7/11

Another shorter day but one with some pretty amazing views. There was a small gathering at “Small Lake” butt despite the warmer waters and rocks to jump off of it never reached the critical mass of Miller Lake. Towards the end of the day we had caught up with Waldo, Kyleigh, and Plant Dork and made camp just after the Creek in Stubblefield Canyon.

Now that we are at lower elevation and spring has finally arrived to the mountains the mosquitoes are becoming quite the nuisance.

Reflection off of Smedberg Lake.
Fortunately, those are midges above Waldo’s head.
Stuck between a rock and a cold, wet place.

Miller Lake 7/10

The next several days we will be taking it at a more relaxed pace. We could comfortably make it to Kennedy Meadows North in four days but the weather is nice, the hardest passes and river crossings are over with and we are waiting on Deluxe’s hip belt which won’t be delivered until Monday.

So we left camp at a leisurely 8:30 and continued down the trail. My only goal was to make it to Miller Lake in the hopes that it would be the first lake warm enough to actually do some swimming. Miller Lake turned out to be gorgeous, snow free and a vortex for hikers.

After a brisk swim halfway across the lake and ample time in the sun we made our way to camp with the Hobbit crew. We had a fire and got to sit in on their storytime. After finishing The Hobbit they are now onto The Count of Monte Cristo.

The beginnings of the beach vortex.
Dinner with the hobbits and co.
Drying shoes and roasting Pop-Tarts.
Storytime.

Back to Tuolumne and the PCT 7/9

Today was a pretty chill day. We slept in, walked around the park a bit, I swam in the Mercer river, we charged our electronics and waited for the bus back to Tuolumne Meadows. Deluxe and I made our way back to the PCT and got a few miles in before finding a good spot to stealth camp because Tuolumne Campground was closed and you’re not supposed to camp within 4 miles of the Meadows.

Deer out for a stroll behind the Yosemite library.
Parson’s Memorial Lodge – original meeting place of the Sierra Club

Down into the Valley 7/8

Last night we stayed at a RV park in Lee Vining that had some camping spaces available. A few of us grabbed showers and ran a load of laundry before catching the YART bus that would bring us down into Yosemite Valley. Yosemite is certainly gorgeous. At some point I’ll have to come back and hike the trails but even from the bottom the granite faces and waterfalls are still stunningly beautiful.

One and a half domes.
Mail always send to arrive just when it needs to.

Entering Yosemite 7/7

The original plan of a two-pass day followed by an easy day into town all merged into one day. Our plans change frequently throughout the day as we were hiking with a couple other hikers (Plant Dork and Kyleigh) and we encountered less and less snow.The highlight of the day was walking through 1,000 Island Lake. Not only a beautiful lake but it was teeming with wildlife. I lost count of the number of marrmots and birds I saw around the lake while walking through the patchy snow.

After making it to the top of Donohue Pass we could see down into the valley and the winding Tuolumne River. It was one of those iconic views that makes you think that you are in a living postcard.Once we made it down to the marshy valley the trail became quite wet and muddy but it was still a welcomed change from the snow. The valley floor also had an abundance of wildlife including a few bucks. Also on the way down we learned of the closure at Tuolumne Meadows and that our packages would be in Yosemite Valley from one of the park rangers. This meant that we needed hitch because the buses had stopped running for the day and camping regulations prevented is from camping within 4 miles of Tuolumne. It took over an hour but eventually we grabbed a hitch into by the town of Lee Vining from a former PCT hiker(Thirsty) and his friend who had been out climbing in the valley over the weekend.

Nearly to the top of Donohue.
Shy marmot friend.
Looking down on Tuolumne Meadows. Pictures never seen to do it justice.

Agnew Meadow 7/6

After the late night, we had a nice lazy morning before hitting the trail. Shortly after noon, we headed out and hit a couple of the more touristy side trails that run parallel to the PCT including Devil’s Postpile and Minaret Falls.

It was nice when we split from the more touristy trails and got back on the PCT. We were treated to a very pretty section of trail as we hiked up to Agnew Meadow were we made camp for the night. My mind had been a bit distracted for much of the day but a walk in the woods along with the amazing scenery really did help.

Devil’s Postpile
Agnew Meadow.
First real sunset in awhile. The past week or so had been clear blue skies.
Dinner with a view.

Mammoth 7/5

In the morning, we took the shuttle bus into Mammoth Lakes. Definitely a touristy, mountain town with all the pros and cons one would expect. There were tons of people in town for the holiday weekend festivities, early mountain biking season and even some late season skiing and snowboarding. It was a bit overstimulating coming in off the trail but under other circumstances it would probably be a fun place to explore.Once again, I over supplied at Grocery Outlet. That place has amazing prices. I have food for probably a week and I’ll be hitting the next town in two days. I replaced my sunglasses that I gave to the JMT hiker and called friends back home while doing laundry.Deluxe split off to replace a bunch of his gear. In his deluxe style he had over prepared for the Sierras, which added additional weight to his pack which, in turn accelerated the breaking if his hip belt. Granite Gear has offered to replace it for free so now it is a matter of getting it sent to the trail.By the time we met back up we had just missed the last bus to Reds Meadow and we spent the next 3 hours walking/hitching back. Around 10:30 we finally made it back to camp and I immediately went to bed.

The only picture I have from Mammoth Lakes. Examples of some wood inlay from the Mammoth Art Expo.