Mile: 942.5 to 959.8
up/down: 2950/2100 feet
New trip and Tuolumne County bird: Swainson's Thrush, a singing male in Cold Canyon.
We move on to northern Yosemite, mostly away from the crowds. We are beyond the reach of the John Muir Trail so won't see the southbounders for that trail any more. It's a part of Yosemite that sees little use except for thru hikers and the occasional backpacker. That is after we get past the first 6 miles and the giant Glen Aulin camp (think canvas tent city in the wilderness.
Susan found a river and stream crossing report for this section online, but it was two weeks old. It spelled out much doom and gloom making it sound almost impossible to get across some streams. We made three crossings of major streams today and all were manageable. One of the young people hiking with us today had gotten a ride this past weekend from a park hydrologist who told him that the peak water flow where we are hiking was two weeks ago. Perfect.
We left Tuolumne Meadows after getting our angel ride from Terri and Brenda. Our weekend rest was grand with much food consumption. A huge THANKS to them both for taking such good care of these tired hikers. The 6 miles to Glen Aulin was easy hiking with bunches of tent city visitors heading outbound. We did pass Tuolumne Falls and enjoy the monster flow.
Beyond Glen Aulin we hiked up the gentle trail of Cold Canyon ever so gradually gaining elevation until we were at 9200 and crossing into Virginia Canyon. A short steep set of switchbacks took us down to the crossings of McCabe and Return Creeks. Nothing too difficult but we put away our electronics and used our best crossing techniques. I did manage to grab a photo of the young men behind us at the crossing of Return Creek. Speaking of young men, we crossed paths with Tom and Josh today for the first time since Kennedy Meadows. These are the two British gents who we met clear back at the Mojave dam at mile 315. I have a photo of them at the Cajon McDonalds for the blog post that day. It was fun to see them again.
Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
Another big crossings was only a mile away - Spiller Creek. We had wet feet so pushed on. It turned out to also be a reasonable crossing so we were happy about that. Susan was still feeling spunky so we decided to push on to Miller Lake, another 2.5 miles and 750 feet higher. It's not the prettiest lake but it is peaceful here. Tomorrow we will hit 10000 feet again at Benson Pass.