Day 155: From Lakes To Canyons

Date: September 16, 2017
Miles: 923 – 942.5

I thought I would wake up in a better mood than I did, but it was still windy and freezing cold, my sleeping quilt was covered with condensation and blown-in sand, and I had a weird emotional hangover from the dream I had in which I attended a party with a bunch of my friends from home but they all ignored me the entire time.  I was also really hungry. With all of this, I desperately wanted to sleep in but instead I got up, put on every item of clothing I had for warmth and hit the trail. The mountains around Thousand Island Lake reflected a fuzzy pink glow from the rising sun and I was really glad to see it since I couldn’t see anything on the way in to camp last night.

Thousand Island Lake at sunrise.

The wind traced ripple lines onto the surface of the lake as I walked by the edge and then headed up a hill toward Island Pass. I passed small lake after lake, crossed Island Pass nearly unnoticed, and kept climbing toward Donohue Pass.

Small lake on the way to Island Pass.

Even though it was not nearly as challenging as the previous passes, my legs moved like wooden stumps and my chest felt tight all the way up the hundreds of steps to the top. I was surprised to find JD talking to a Yosemite Park Ranger. She was spending the day at the pass to see how many people were using the trail in that area. This marked the first time anyone had asked to see my permit other than eating establishments that offered free food or drinks to PCT hikers.  We spent a few minutes chatting with her about her job and Yosemite-related things, then headed down the pass to a campsite to have lunch. We ran into Rabbit, a hiker we hadn’t seen since Bend, and hung out with her until it was time to head out for Tuolumne Meadows. The walk in to Tuolumne was beautifully flat through Lyell Canyon as we travelled by waving yellow grasses and a winding Lyell Creek.

Lyell Canyon

About a mile from the campground, a healthy looking coyote followed us over a bridge until JD yelled at it. We walked through the campground to the store and immediately ordered double bacon cheeseburgers. The worker at the post office was awesome and let us pick up our resupply packages outside of the regular hours, and we headed to the backpackers camp with almost full bellies and arms full of food.

Lyell Creek

Lembert Dome.