Monday, September 21, 2009
Yosemite National Park. Hiking Tuolumne Meadows
The view to the west was quite spectacular,the Cockscomb, Unicorn Peak, Pothole Dome, and Cathedral Peak all spoke of hard granite. Each was uniquely shaped but Catherdral Peak and the Unicorn spoke loudest. To the east Lembert Dome rose above 9000 feet and we could see the hikers and climbers dotting its sides. It reminded us of the sandstone wall one hikes up to reach Delicate Arch at Arches National Park, but this looked steeper.
We were on a days hike in Yosemite National Park, guided and joined for the day with Sharon and Alan Frey. Retired California teachers and Yosemite experts, they had wanted to take us on a hike and share their knowledge and love of Tuolumne Meadows. We couldn't have had better companions.
Hefting our day packs, we left our truck and hiked along the road for a bit before entering the meadow. The dried brown grasses and sedges were interspersed with small hillocks that spoke of a wetter season. As we hiked I kept expecting to see a moose or elk, but we saw no scats or tracks, so obvious when an area contains them.
We crossed the Tuolumne River on a substantial footbridge and hiked along a gravel trail before splitting off along the river. Finding a nice shaded grove of rocks we sat down to enjoy our lunch and were soon joined by a spotted towhee, its orange breast feathers faded from its breeding finery. It quickly grew bored and flitted away, soon replaced by a mountain chickadee.
Finishing our lunch we repacked our bags and headed upstream. The Tuolumne River was a gently flowing stream, a far cry from it violent spring and early summer self. Small trout were abundant and they sensed the vibrations from our footfall and scurried away, each seeking its own hiding place.
Cameras clicked as we hiked and stopped and hiked. Renita pointed out views that I had missed and I could see the little girl in hers eyes as I sure she could she the child in me. Such places bring out the best in everyone and we were blessed to be here. I had to wade and rock hop and I almost fell in as I posed on a large narrow rock, I so wanted to jump in but the water was to cold!
It didn't seem like we had walked for over three miles as we had meandered and stopped, but that's what the gps said. Arriving at the truck we loaded our gear and drove to the Tuolumne Visitor Center seeking more trail inofrmation for later visits.
The drive home was short but still spectacular as we drove down Tioga Pass. A turnoff gave us a great acrophobic view of the river far below and a sign told of the construction of the Tioga Pass Road. Thanking Sharon and Alan for the day we reached home tired and hungry. A good time was had by all. Clear skies.