Tuolumne Meadows

That Ole Half Dome Bear must have been mighty disappointed for she left without a nibble or a morsel to savor…and after two hours of clean up, taping and repairing our gear we were finally on trail that day at 3:00pm.  Sunrise Creek was our tenting destination for that night.  We didn’t make the mileage we had anticipated for that day but we did find a nice tent site near the creek.  With 12 miles yet to hike before reaching the other side of the Valley, I looked forward to viewing the Cathedral Peaks the next day.  The Cathedral Peaks were formed by glacial activity and are a part of the Cathedral Range which is a offshoot of the Sierra Nevada with an elevation of 10,916′.

Cathedral Peaks
Cathedral Peaks

John Muir called the Lembert Dome (pictured above) affectionately as “Glacier Rock”…she rises 800′ above the Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne River.   Although the John Muir Trail does not ascend this granite dome rock formation, it is many a rock climbers challenge to scale her face and for the first time near this junction now in Tuolumne…the JMT south bounders are in unison with the north bound Pacific Crest Trail hikers who are headed toward the Canadian border.

Cathedral Peaks from Tuolumne Meadows
Cathedral Peaks from
Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows is a popular resupply point for both trails.  Equipped with a small supply store, post office, restrooms, hamburger Grille and a backpackers campground, this is a haven for many a weary hiker.  We purchased more duck tape, super glue, Dramamine, fresh fruits and vegetables and picked up our resupply boxes at the PO.  It was Saturday and they close at 4:00pm…we got there at 4:20…I knocked on the window and they had no problem retrieving our boxes for us.  They even told me to come back in an  hour if I wanted to ship a box out…they were super helpful and generous to the hikers!  Being a holiday weekend they knew many a hiker was in need so they graciously accommodated!  Although I just picked up a box of food…I shipped out a box of food back home.  Mainly snacks and protein bars…I have not had a good appetite to speak of.  The two electric strips in the store are full of the many hiker phones and cameras as others wait patiently their turn to plug in and recharge before moving on.  Without a laundry room or a shower house…Tiger Lily and I proceeded to wash everything from head to toe along with our dusty clothes with tea tree oil and a bandana in the campground sinks.

Lyell Canyon
Lyell Canyon

The second stage of this hike is to pick up our next permit which will take us from Lyell Canyon to Mt Whitney.  We had received this permit months in advance by lottery and now the required time and day had arrived for us to obtain it.  Each person that receives a permit of any kind will need to listen to the “Ranger Talk”…where they discuss Leave No Trace principles, campsite closures, National Park rules and regulations and they make sure each person is carrying a bear vault.

Lyell Canyon Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 Tent site
Lyell Canyon
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
Tent site

Having to take a day off to receive our permit, we were anxious to return to the trail…Lyell Canyon and Donahue Pass…

Approaching Donahue Pass
Approaching Donahue Pass

Upon reaching Donahue Pass…you exit Yosemite National Park and enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness.  Donahue has an elevation of 11,066′ and is the 6th highest pass of the 10 total passes that the John Muir Trail will traverse.  In our resupply boxes from TM…we had shipped to ourselves gaiters and Yaktrax to wear up and over the snowy passes…the gaiters nor the Yaktrax were needed and we gladly shipped it all back home from the next town we visited…Mammoth Lakes.

Looking NOBO Donahue Pass
Looking NOBO
Donahue Pass

The definition of a “Mountain Pass”…(also called a gap, saddle, or col) is a passage over a mountain range…they typically occur in valleys between mountain ridges, in low points along mountain watersheds or just the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks.

Southside of Donahue Pass
Southside of Donahue Pass

Once we have entered the Inyo National Forest & Ansel Adams Wilderness…we hike up and over our second pass…Island Pass…Tiger Lily eagerly awaits the viewing of the Thousand Island Lake with the majestic Banner Peak in the background soon after.

Thousand Island Lake Banner Peak
Thousand Island Lake
Banner Peak

Ansel Adams was an American photographer.  His black & white photographs of the American West and Yosemite National Park are widely popular…Tiger Lily herself is an accomplished photographer amongst family and friends.  Her beautiful works of art and photos are proudly displayed in all of our homes.  Ansel Adams black & white photograph of Banner Peak & Thousand Island Lake is stunning and Tiger Lily wanted to capture as many pictures herself of this majestic mountain and lake that Adams has made so popular.

Lyell Canyon Sunday, July 3rd Tiger Lily watercolor painting
Lyell Canyon
Sunday, July 3rd
Tiger Lily watercolor painting
Ansel Adams 1902 - 1984
Ansel Adams
1902 – 1984

Wildflowers…Majestic Mountains…Turquoise Lakes…Songbirds…Snow & Amazing Rock Formations…all in a day!

Until we meet again…

Princess Doah


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