I started this blog post 2 years ago after my trip to Yosemite, no time like the present to finish it.
Dreaming of Yosemite
A few months back I was browsing through the Sierra Club’s local Angeles Chapters activities calendar for potential upcoming Backpacking trips. I came across their July 4th Bus Backpacking trips to Yosemite. There were four trips listed and I choose the trip scheduled for Tuolumne Meadows and Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. An area of the park I have been wanting to explore since last visiting Tuolumne in 2009. If you aren’t familiar with Tuolumne Meadows I highly suggest checking it out, it is far less crowded than Yosemite Valley and a great place to experience the solitude that the Sierra Nevada’s have to offer.
Apparently I was one of the first to sign-up for the trip according to the trip leader Sridhar. The trip was setup to be an “experience trip” as part of the Wilderness Travel Course that is put on by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club to teach people about traveling in the wilderness, backpacking and survival skills. Something that perhaps someday I will complete. This past winter the Sierras received and epic dumping. The snow levels in early June were still near 150% and there was timeline for when the Tioga Road (hwy 120) would be open for access to Tuolumne Meadows and the High Sierra camps areas of Yosemite. This had me worried, where else would we go if the road was closed? Would the trip be cancelled? Would my months of anticipation and preparations be a waste?
I was in luck though and John Muir was shining down upon me from his great big mountain. The week of the trip I saw a tweet from YosemiteNPS account.
Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park Open to All Vehicular Traffic Thursday, June 29, 2017https://t.co/7USmXmCRIp— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) June 27, 2017
The infamous Tioga Road would be open on June 29th, two days before the bus was to depart. It wasn’t all a silver lining though, we would not be heading to Glen Aulin. The snow was still too high, the streams and rivers were also very high from all the snow melt. It was unsafe for us to travel and the conditions unpredictable, a new route would be found taken me down a familiar path I had traveled 15 years prior.
I still need to gather up my gear, treat it with permathrin to ward off the mosquitos, rent a bear barrel from REI, lay it all out and pack it all up. Also now that we were headed to another area of the park I had to print out some new maps to have.
The gear was laid out for a quick shakedown hike and then ready to pack it up for Yosemite.
The Journey Begins
The day finally came and it was time to meet up at one of the bus loading areas in Santa Clarita. This would be the first time I had gone on a trip like this and I gotta admit I was a little nervous, who would I be hiking with? were they properly prepared? All of these things I was bound to find out. Great thing is that the Sierra Club really had this all planned out and I was in for a great time.
Unfortunately the first day was all for travel into the park, great thing is the drive up to Yosemite is a great one and goes by quick. Got to meet with my group and learn a bit about them, most were WTC students and were new to backpacking so they were still learning the ropes. We stopped along the way in Fresno for lunch then headed up the long winding Hwy 41 into the park on our way to the BackPackers camp where we would settle in for the night before hitting the trail the next day. Luckily there was time for some quick photos.
The Journey to Yosemite continues in Day 1: Onward to North Dome