Location- Near Matterhorn Creek
Elevation- 8,474 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 20 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 962.4 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 70s 60s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 4
Today was a leisurely day for me, and an ode to how well I’ve adapted to this terrain/altitude.
Since I missed getting food at the little restaurant yesterday, there was no way I was missing it this morning. Since it didn’t open until 8 am, that meant I got to sleep in by default.
After a heaping tray of eggs, bacon, biscuits, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast potatoes, and a brownie, all washed down with a large Pepsi…I laid around and digested until 10:30 before hitting the trail.
It was my first day into Yosemite National Park, and let me tell ya, the first 5 miles of trail were packed with day hiking tourists. Once I broke out of that 5 mile zone, I was in blissful solitude once again; away from the clean smelling people with their fancy cameras, sunscreen, bug spray, and bear bells.
I hiked steady all day, and never really stopped. Yosemite is beautiful, but for now, Kings Canyon, and Muir Wilderness are prettier in my opinion. I’m only seeing a small part of Yosemite, and I’m not through all of it yet, but so far…I’ve seen prettier. Yosemite is very “talked up” all over the country, but I can’t help but think if that’s because all of the attractions are so easily accessible to the public. I saw things in Kings Canyon that just about blew me off my feet, but those areas are only easily accessed by helicopter, or not so easily on foot. Perhaps the “best stuff” will always remain less known, due to the effort it requires to reach it; I prefer it that way.
Around 10 miles into the day, I began leap frogging with a young male British hiker named “Nana.” I hadn’t seen him since mile 100, back near Warner Springs, but now I’d finally caught up. It was good to see him still on trail.
Around mile 17, and 5 pm, we stopped at a mountain top lake with grassy/sandy shores and went for a swim. It was the first “on trail” swim I’ve done in a Lake on this hike, and it was the most refreshing swim I’ve had in recent memory; snow still covered the far banks.
After the swim, Nana and I sat on the shore drying off and talking for nearly 2 hours. He was waiting on a friend to catch up, and during that time, we had great conversation about the hike, traveling, and all the things we wanted out of life, as well a what we deemed important; a typical thru hike conversation that has all the depth of an ocean, with somebody you barely know.
As 7 pm rolled around, and his friend still hadn’t showed up, I bowed out, and continued the three miles to my recently planned stopping point for the day. I got a late start, hiked leisurely, swam, sat around, had good conversation, and still got 20 miles done with an hour and a half of daylight to spare; it was a good day.
For this final stretch of my Sierra Marathon, I’ve gone old school. The fuel canister for my stove went dry on me yesterday, and they only had giant canisters at Tuolumne Meadows. I don’t need a giant one, nor will I carry one, so in order to boil the water to re-hydrate my food, I have to build a fire from scratch. To be honest, I’m really looking forward to it. I may just send my stove home if I get really used to this method. It’ll be more time consuming, but infinitely more gratifying.
I have only 54 miles to reach my goal and get Katana back. It looks like some tough terrain ahead, but I really want to do it in two days. If I’m able to do it in two days, then one of those days will have to be over 30 miles, a distance I have yet to do on this hike. We’ll see…