Location- Tuolumne Meadows
Elevation- 8,606 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 25 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 942.4 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 60s 70s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 3
I got up early, ready to take care of business. I knocked out about 5 miles of the JMT side trail, and reconnected with the PCT, but not before passing some gorgeous mountain lakes that made the side trail completely worth it.
I blazed on until the base of the next Mountain Pass, Donahue. I reached the base around 10:30, and decided to take an early lunch, and load up on energy to get me through the climb, plus the rest of the day.
After lunch, I was relentless from 11 until 6 pm, when I reached Tuolumne Meadows.
Climbing up Donahue wasn’t bad, maybe a mile of snow going up, and a half mile going down.
My goal was to reach Tuolumne Meadows, the gateway into Yosemite National Park. Tuolumne itself is really nothing more than a tourist hub in the side of the road. It’s a camp store, campground, bathrooms, and a short order grill. I really only wanted to get to the grill and have a hot “whatever they were selling.”
I ascended and descended Donahue, then hit a final, flat, 9 mile stretch that would take me into Tuolumne at 2:30 pm. I took it very leisurely, too leisurely. I thought the grill would be open late for the summer…
Being that I was on the edge of another national park, there were plenty of day hikers, section hikers, and JMT hikers. Curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped one and asked what time the grill at Tuolumne closed, “6pm,” they replied. At this point, it was 4 pm, and I still had over 5 miles to go.
I kicked up the pace considerably, but was inhibited by lots of muddy crossings, and curious day hikers wanting to ask me about my adventures on the trail. Almost everyone who gets on the PCT is aware of the infamous crazies that hike from Mexico to Canada. Since we’re not hard to distinguish from day and section hikers, we tend to get stopped and questioned a lot. Not wanting to be rude, I talked to everyone that tried to have a conversation.
As a result, when 5:30 rolled around and I still had a mile and a half, I realized I wasn’t going to make it earlier enough to be able to order. I pulled all my straps tighter, and broke into a jog. I hit the road, jogged another quarter mile west down it, and hit the grill at ten minutes to 6; incredibly pleased with myself.
Well, day hiker was misinformed, or a liar, because the grill closed at 5. My desperate run was in vain, and my lower back is a little more chafed because of it.
I’m camped at a nearby campground now, and I plan to hit the grill for breakfast. After that, I’ll start tackling Yosemite National Park, my final “no dogs allowed” obstacle…