We woke up to a clear sky and a beautiful sunrise on our second day of backpacking.
We made a quick breakfast of oatmeal, packed up camp, and filtered our drinking water for the day from a near by stream. You have never tasted water more delicious then freshly filtered, ice cold, snow melt fed stream water from Yosemite!
Then before we knew it we were off on the the trail again. Our shoulders were sore from the day before but it wore off soon. Pretty views and wild flowers take your mind off your tired shoulders and legs.
Not a bad walk,eh?
We got to see another mule train! Yippy!
The day started off clear, but as suspected, the clouds started rolling in during the late morning hours. They look sweet and innocent now.....but it was enough for us to cancel our plans of hiking up clouds rest. We would not want to be stuck up there during a thunder storm. That trail would have added about 7.5 miles on to the day, and in rain and hale, that is a very very long and difficult 7 miles. So, we decided to save that for another time and press on.
This is our first few of the back to Halfdome. Most people never get to see this side of it! The Halfdome hike was another change to our itinerary. We had planned to add the 4.5 miles to our trip and climb to the top, but with the weather we had been having, we knew it would not be possible. Some people may have attempted to climb it, but many of people have died that way, especially this year (a record breaking year for deaths on Halfdome). By the time we passed the trail head, rangers were turning people around, so we knew we made the right decision.
We still had 8.7 miles to go to make it to the valley.
This photo was taken maybe an hour later. I am sure you can tell the difference in those clouds. That is how fast storms move into Yosemite. People thought we were crazy with our weather forecast, but we were right! If we were on the granite face when rain and lighting hit, I may not be here to tell you this story!
So we pressed on to our destination- camp at Little Yosemite Valley.
This is the spot we chose to set up camp. It was pouring rain at this point, so we set up tent as fast as we could-about 1 minute flat. Once we were in our shelter we chose to check the time. Only 3pm and it was almost dark from the storm. We made a lot better time then I thought! It was going to be a loooong night in that teeny tiny tent.
Here is my dirty nails. You just can't keep them clean out there! Yuck.
It stooped raining for a few minutes, so Zack took the opportunity to sit on a log.
Then we took a little walk to the Merced River.
Beautiful, even in the rain.
I collected some pine cones to show you the variation of pine cone sizes in Yosemite. This was the largest and smallest pine cones I found on my walk. That little one is so tiny, and that big one it so big!
Then we and our fellow campers decided to start a community campfire.
We thought the wood would all be too wet, but they found plenty of dry stuff to burn!
We got an extra warm fire going. It was great!
We all sat around the campfire and exchanged stories of our journeys. This mom and her 11 year old son hiked up to Little Yosemite from Yosemite Valley. It is good to see single moms exposing their sons to the outdoors! The guy on the left was on a father son trip, planned by his sons. They also hiked up from Yosemite Valley. This was their first backpacking trip. They were in the mindset that you just add your car camping gear into a backpack and head off. Therefore, they had some heavy gear, including heavy cotton jackets, a giant 6 person Coleman tent, a two burner gas coleman stove, and 10 cans of food and 14 smoked sausage links. Yes, heavy CANS of food! And for some reason he used a baseball bat as a walking stick. He admitted he was surprised he hadn't had a heart attack during the 7 mile hike, and frankly, I was too. People don't realize that hiking miles are not the same as treadmill miles. We shared some of the light weight backpacking skills we have learned, and they seemed to appreciate the advice, even if it did come from a girl. By the end of the night the dad said he would try it again, but only if he was prepared with the right gear.
These two were opposite. The lady on the right has been backpacking with her husband for years, but this was her first visit to Yosemite. Mount Rainier is her normal stomping grounds. The guy on the left I named Frenchy. He is a world traveler who is ultra light. He caries only one bottle of water, iodine tablets for filtration, a bivy sack to sleep in, and protein gels. You can see the two extreme backpacking styles here, and we are somewhere in the middle.
This night was a highlight of our trip for sure. It was a wonderful experience sitting around the campfire for hours, talking to people you just met, but already have something in common- a love and appreciation for the outdoors!
My next post will be about the last night of our Epic End of Summer Adventure!