Date: Sunday, 17 September 2017
Start: Camped in Tuolumne Meadows Campground near Mile 942.5, 8596 ft
Finish: Camped next to Wilson Creek near Mile 965.3, 9469 ft
Daily Miles: 22.8 PCT, plus 0.5 from campground
Total PCT Miles: 2286.0
Weather: Mild and sunny
Breakfast: Pop tarts
Dinner: Rehydrated chilli mac with beef
Aches: Nothing new
Highlight: In mid-afternoon, I met coming the other way on the trail, a Canadian girl PCT hiker I had crossed paths with many times in the last three weeks to Canada. At different times, we had both skipped, back in June, the High Sierras north of Kearsarge Pass, and restarted further on to walk to Canada. Now she was completing her PCT hike heading south towards Kearsarge and I was completing my missed section hiking north from Kearsarge. I think we were both very happy to meet on the trail in Yosemite and see the other well on the way to completing their PCT hike. She is a faster hiker than me, and skipped less of the trail, so will finish two weeks earlier. I was envious.
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Neil and I left the campground at 7:15am to head north on the PCT, though Neil was carrying a light day pack and intended to leave me after 6 miles and return to Tuolumne Meadows via a different route. It had been a cold night and the early walking was also very cool, despite the sun. The trail followed the Tuolumne River downstream through beautiful meadows and forest, and occasionally across slabs of light grey rock, with massive domes of bare rock mountains rising on either side. Around 6 miles, the trail descended next to the impressive Tuolumne Falls into Glen Aulin, and there I said goodbye to Neil, glad to have had his company for a few days, and headed north on my own again.
After a long steady climb, I walked for several hours through a high meadow. It was incredibly peaceful, and I had it all to myself. The PCT and John Muir Trail no longer follow the same route and the number of hikers I saw today dropped significantly. The ranger I had met yesterday had warned me that although Yosemite doesn’t have the high passes of the Kings Canyon – Sequoia National Park, it has canyons to cross which also involve a lot of climbing, and so it was for the rest of the day. The PCT took me down into Virginia Canyon, then climbed out of that and descended into Matterhorn Canyon, before climbing out of that. However, the climbs and descents have not been as long (~1000 ft), and in between them have been easy walks through beautiful valleys, high and low, on soft trails.
I reached my goal for the day at 6:40pm, and despite setting up camp quickly, it was dark and very cold by the time I cooked and ate dinner. I’m back to sleeping wjth my electrical equipment and water filter in my sleeping bag to avoid freezing, and suspect this will now be the pattern until I finish in a little over three weeks.