yosemite backcountry

Let me tell you something– when it comes to backpacking (or actually outdoor trips in general) I am lazy. It’s a weird kind of laziness. I will gladly drive two hundred plus miles to hike upwards of 20 miles. I will carry a 25 pound pack filled with gear up two thousand feet of elevation gain. I guess that doesn’t sound all that lazy. Where the laziness really comes in is planning. I have been wanting to go backpack in the Yosemite backcountry for a long time, but I never got around to planning a trip. I’m usually too lazy to plan trips to places that require permits, and pretty much anywhere in Yosemite requires a permit for an overnight stay. So when Mary, one of my old coworkers from CalPERS, invited me on a backpacking trip to Yosemite, I of course said yes.

Over the years I have accumulated a good amount of backpacking and camping gear, which nowadays I try to bring as little of as possible. But this weekend the weather forecast called for rain, so I ended up bringing a lot more stuff than usual. I brought my tent, instead of the hammock that I had been bringing for the past few backpacking trips. When we arrived at Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadow late in the evening on Friday the stars were out, so I kinda wished I had brought my hammock.

In the morning we started our hike. The one thing I always get when I go backpacking is the overwhelming sense of how small I am. The trees tower above us, and the mountains tower above them. It takes days to travel through even a small fraction of the Yosemite backcountry. Just hike for a couple of hours and you realize that the world is a humongous place.

Our route took us on a trail that followed the Tuolumne river. There were a ton of impressive cascades and water features.

The highlight of the trip was the impressive waterfalls, many of which we were able to get pretty close to. They were incredibly beautiful, I think anywhere outside of Yosemite they would be relatively famous, but Yosemite has so many amazing waterfalls that these get overshadowed.

By midday dark clouds started rolling in and it started to rain.

In the afternoon it really started to pour, so we hastily set up a camp right by the trail.

After dinner the rain let up a bit so we decided to hike down to Waterwheel falls, our intended destination for the night. I thought it was a pretty cool waterfall, there are a couple of rocks in the path of the water that causes water to spray out as if it were splashing over a waterwheel.

After our hike we made a small fire in a fire ring that Dennis had found earlier. We were able to dry out our wet clothes. The clouds cleared up a bit and the moon came out, lighting up the mountains. I stuck my camera on top of a rock and was able to get a picture of the big dipper over the Grand Canyon of Yosemite.

In the morning we hiked back out toward Tuolumne Meadows. It rained off and on, so it was soggy most of the way. The weather wasn’t very cooperative at all throughout the weekend, but it still ended up being a great trip. The scenery on the trail was pretty amazing. I think someday, if I get off my lazy butt and plan it, I’d want to hike the entire trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Hetch Hetchy.

Pix here:

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