Monday, June 30, 2008

Well, we made it!(or who needs a rainfly?)

Well, after much planning, scheduling, making of lists and packing, my daughter and I actually got out of town on time on Friday and hit the road hoping to hook up with Bob and Robyn at some point before we lost cell service. Traffic was bad but not horrible and it looked like we might make it, and we would have if the drive-thru line at In-n-Out hadn’t taken us 20 minutes…..

So, having lost cell reception as we went up Priest Grade, we figured we’d find them at the entrance to the park, just on a whim though we decided to pull into the parking lot of the store in Groveland and sure enough, there’s Bob’s truck.
We met up in the pizza parlor, had a cold drink and got on the road.

After caravanning to the park, getting our bear canister, wilderness permit, parking pass and listening to all the safety rules, we headed down to the backpacker campground for our first night at Hetch Hetchy.
I’ve never been to this part of Yosemite before, and not only is it beautiful but I was amazed at how few people there are compared to the valley.

Once parked, we got our stuff together and the girls found us the perfect spot for our first night.

Saturday dawned clear and warm so after coffee and oatmeal we donned our packs (dang this thing is heavy) and headed out. Actually, it was so warm and nice out that when I noticed I forgot to pack the rainfly back in the pack, we figured we’d just leave it at the truck since we wouldn’t need it anyway.…

We stopped on the dam for the “before” shot and then headed out. We took our time and stopped a lot for pictures and to rest. We spent a while at Wapama Falls which is spectacular and with all the snow melt, gets you nice and wet (and cool) as you cross the bridge.

Later we stopped for lunch, (mmmm… peanut butter and bananas on pita bread) and then again at another little falls just before the last big uphill to the campsite.

Well, with all the dallying we did on the way out, the last portion didn’t start until about 1:00 pm which means it’s now about 95 degrees. And guess what, the last portion is uphill and pretty barren so it’s not bad enough that I’m walking uphill with a pack that now weighs about a million pounds (it’s a scientific fact that stuff left in a pack all day actually increases in weight as the day progresses) but now the sun is at its peak, its the hottest part of the day and there is absolutely NO SHADE!!

I think the worst part is that we didn’t bring a map since it’s a well marked trail and now we really have no idea how far we have left. It’s one thing to suffer for a while if you know the end is near, but to be walking uphill in the sun with no idea how much longer it will go on really kinda sucks. Thankfully, we were almost there and came to the top of the hill and found the campsite.
After dropping the packs and setting up the tents we went and sat in the river. Ah….to feel human again….

After lounging by the river, filling all the water containers again with the pump/filter we kicked back for a nice afternoon rest. Soon though, the clouds started rolling in….sure enough, the heat of the early afternoon gave way to late afternoon thundershowers….the whole lighting, thunder, rain thing that is common to the sierras in the summer.
And, of course, geniuses that we are, we had decided to leave the rainfly at the truck remember….
It’s ok though, it passed through fairly quickly and we had a great evening feasting on chili that Bob and Christina made and in turn being feasted on by the mosquitoes.

Sunday we got up, had coffee and headed down the hill. Robyn was suffering pretty badly with her blisters and actually ended up hiking about 4 miles out in her flip flops. One of the challenges with hiking in flip flops is they tend to flip and flop off when you’re walking. No problem….we have duct tape!

All in all, the hike out went by in a little more than half the time that the hike in did and other than resting for a bit at Wapama Falls, we pretty much just booked it back out. Both Christina and I decided that when hiking we’d rather just put our head down, go to our happy place and hike until we’re done. The stopping and starting and resting and getting going again seemed to actually make it harder.

All in all an amazing trip and a great time spent with my daughter, brother and niece. Next year though, we’re doing 3 days so we have one day as down time to just mess around.

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