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Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley – Day 2

September 11, 2012

FYI: To start at Day 1, go here.

We awoke to varying degrees of rest around 7:30 and proceeded to get breakfast started. Three people really  is a great number for a trip like this – enough to split up the tasks, but not so many that no one can agree on things. I’ve always done well with trios.

During breakfast we had a serious talk about our plans. We had originally planned on hiking up to Cloud’s Rest, camping at the Half Dome junction, and then hiking down to the Valley. Through my reading I had been led to believe we could do Half Dome to Happy Isles in the same day, but after yesterday I was questioning that. More importantly, we were now sure we’d have to carry two days worth of water, as multiple people told us there was no water past Sunrise Lakes until Little Yosemite Valley.  For our own safety, we made the decision to skip the amazing views and go straight for Little Yosemite Valley. I know it was the right decision.

Sad little trickle

We had a lazy morning and weren’t ready to hike up for water until 9:30 or so. When we finally arrived there were some very large pheasants roosting in the grass, making some interesting noises. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any good pictures of them with my wide-angle. The water was such a sad trickle that despite using a new charcoal filter and making sure the pump stayed above the silt, it was still very dirty looking water. At least with the Steri-Pen we knew a little dirt wouldn’t hurt us. I did sterilize each bottle twice with the pen though, just in case.

The trail started out with some up, but we knew that would quickly turn into a lot of down. I was under the impression there was less forest and more views than we had, which kind of disappointed, until we came to a ridge that overlooked the backside of Half Dome. It was gorgeous. We stopped for lunch shortly after and decided to have a real meal of Beef Stroganoff and corn. Yummy.

What are men compared to rocks and mountains?

Sis summits… sort of.

About an hour later we saw our first bit of water – a stream. We were fine, since we’d loaded up in the morning, but it was kind of reassuring to know it was there. This was the first day we passed people doing the whole John Muir Trail (JMT). It was kind of funny how many different lengths of the trip people were taking. We spoke to people doing it in 14 days as well as 28 days. I think I’d probably be a 28 day type, to be honest. Since this day was almost all serious downhill the way we were going (backwards from the traditional route) we wished each one of them luck and warned them of the difficulty and lack of water ahead.


Right around where we broke off from the stream we passed a couple taking the Cloud’s Rest trail while carrying only a single bottle each. We suggested they fill up when they got to the trail junction, and they grinned, said OK and gave us the general attitude that our concern was cute but unneeded. We walked off and Sis muttered ‘They’re definitely going to run out of water,’ to me. I agreed. But there was nothing to do about it – we warned them.

At around this time my knees said ‘Enough!’ and started some serious pain.  I changed shoes probably three times, from hiking boots to my Chaco’s, back to hiking boots, and then Chaco’s again. Pretty sure I ended the trek with the hiking boots, but it all blurred together in the end. This was also the point when we started to run into the serious day hikers. One woman was kind enough to give us these amazing runner’s candies that tasted like margaritas. They were fantastic, and helped A LOT. I’ll definitely be purchasing them for my next hike.

Eventually, we rolled into the campsite. It was like finding Eden, complete with a river, the Merced (pronounced Mer-sed). After setting up the tents, we dragged our tired feet in for a good soak. The water was glacially cold and ah-may-zing. We washed up as much as we could (no soap allowed), and, honestly, felt like new women. Then a fellow hiker pointed out a snake headed our way and we quickly got out of the water! Walking slightly upstream to some rocks in the river, we filled up the water bottles. I found some clever hiker had stuck a beer in between rocks in the water.

Sunlight casts its final glow on the river.

The view upstream

Brilliant, dude. Just brilliant.

That night a ranger asked for our permits and we talked about the bears a bit. He explained that they never attacked and we just needed to make some noise to get them to scare off.  As he explained their tactics for finding food, I remarked that they seemed really smart about things. He looked right at me and deadpanned, ‘Yeah, smarter than the average bear, actually.’  We roared with laughter. I’m sure he’s said that a million times, but it was the first time we’d heard it and it was awesome.

Having descended quite a bit, the air that night was much warmer. We all decided to do some star-gazing, although the campground wasn’t as open. I forgot my remote shutter release and the pictures weren’t as clear that night. However, we all slept really well, when we finally rolled into our tents at a very late 9:30 p.m.

That’s Half Dome in the distance

Pretty sure you can see the Milky Way in this one, despite the crazy moonlight.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2012 1:32 pm

    Gorgeous shots, Angie, just gorgeous!

    “I’ve always done well with trios.” I smiled.

  2. September 11, 2012 6:23 pm

    Your nighttime photograph is really good.

    • September 12, 2012 10:14 am

      Thanks. Although this isn’t true for all photography, I do think the right equipment is imperative for nighttime shooting. I really made a mistake not running to grab the remote shutter release this night. Oh well. Milky Way! 🙂

  3. September 12, 2012 11:05 pm

    Amazing Shots! Thanks for visiting our blog! I like yours as well


  1. Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley – Day 3 « The Texpat Starling

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