Day 69
Miles: 20
From volunteer peak to Falls Creek

We camped high, hoping to catch the first sun and ride it out of bed. It sort of works… on the trail by 8. I’ll take it. We hop back on the granite rollercoaster ride through Yosemite’s backcountry.

We’re not fast – not here – but we pass tons of people, section hikers and weekenders, mostly. Don’t be fooled, this trail is kicking our butts. I think we’re also low on food. Every time we eat take out all our food and look at it. The huge pile we dragged out of Tuolomne doesn’t seem so big anymore. We eat a few things out of one bag, a few things out of another… We put the bags away, a little hungry. I hope it’s enough.

It’s lovely here, granite with huge shear zones, a wonderland jumble of swells and domes and rock. Flowers line all the infernal stone staircases, like they hired a landscaper after the brute labor of laying stone. Atop seavey pass we swim in the small lakes there, then go down again, down Kerrick Canyon. I’ve stopped looking at the elevation profiles that come with our maps. What’s the point? When the trail goes up, I go up. When the trail goes down, I go down. When the trail goes around I go round and around and around and around and around. 

Coming from the other direction is a familiar face – Halfstep! He’d hitched to South Lake Tahoe for the fourth of July, now he’s hiking back to Tuolomne Meadows, where he’ll hitch back to South Lake Tahoe. It’s easier walking north of here, he says.

At Wilma lake we stop to fish. If we keep hiking, then maybe we’ll run out of miles before we run out of food. But if we can catch some fish, we’ll be ok too. I love to watch J cast, flicking his line further out over the water. No fish though. Nothing, nothing. The mosquitoes are horrendous, everywhere. I’m in full mosquito-armour: windshirt, hat, headnet. I’m still about to lose my mind. J is well down that road… No headnet. He flicks his line to cast and gets his fly stuck in a tree. It’s the only fly that has been getting any attention from the fish, so I stand on J’s hands and pull it out, crashing down myself. I get the fly out, and a bloody gash across my palm for the trouble. J loses the fly completely on his next cast.

Nerves shot from the sharp whine of mosquitoes in our ears, no miles made, no fish caught, it’s time to go. Except when we pass the outlet to the lake, full of trout. J loses another fly, loses his cool. He’s got the mosquito rage! Only cure is a good night’s sleep in a net tent. We take off, desperate to make just a few more miles before bed, and our sawyer squeeze water filter bladder slips out of his pack and pops. We watch the water spurt out. “Good thing we have a spare, huh?”

Not enough miles (never enough miles) we find a spot to camp. my feet feel terrible, shooting pains. My hipbones are screaming against the indignity of carrying my bear canister yet another day. So far I have managed to keep then from turning into open sores. Like last night, we look for a spot that will catch early morning light, hoping to ride the sunrise out of bed. J is setting up camp and I’m cooking dinner, I swat at a mosquito and flip the dinner out instead. Lipton pasta side Alfredo flavor, all spilled in the sand! I reach for the pot as it goes and burn a hole in my windshirt, the one my mother made me.

J and I just look at our food, in the sand. We don’t have enough as it is. So we scoop it up, pasta, Alfredo, sand, and put it back in the pot. We eat our dinner very slowly, discouraged, besieged by mosquitoes. What a day.







One thought on “Day 69: a string of small catastrophes

  1. Wow, hard day! Mosquitoes and those little black gnat things that hover in front of your face all the time are backcountry pests. At least you can walk away from the mosquitoes – those black dots keeps up, no problem. Mosquitoes make up for it in swarming ability.

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