Wow! Its July and the heat is on in Central California! Ever since dropping down out of the High Sierra it has been HOT! After our few days off in Mammoth Lakes, we’ve been alternatively hiking 25-27 mile days and taking short, slow days. Hiking in to Yosemite NP, a big rain system moved in, and we woke up in Tuolumne to cold temps and blowing rain. We had originally been planning to hike in to the Valley, a 25 mile hike, ending at Happy Isles, to finish up the John Muir Trail- but due to rain we ended up hitching in to the valley, to see the sights, and to meet up with Gingersnap, a trail angel I had met while hiking the Appalachian Trail. She also happens to be a ranger in Yosemite, and has a house just below Yosemite Falls- so we called her and piled a few hikers in to the house to dry off and relax on the couch.
Hiking north of Tuolumne, we were basically in a swamp for two days- and with the moisture came the bugs. LOTS of BUGS. We were probably surrounded by 200 mosquitoes at any given moment for about 2.5 days. The terrain was steep, and tough- adding to the challenge. Both Becky and I agree that the section of trail north of Tuolumne was the hardest section yet- we both faced difficult mental and physical challenges.
The tough hiking was rewarded with both some beautiful views and the reappearance of lots of trial magic! The mosquitoes were less of a problem after 3 days outside of Tuolumne, and the views just opened up- see some photos below. Additionally, we got trail magic three days in a row around Sonora pass, which bumped us up to South Lake Tahoe, where we are now, with ease.
Looking forward we kind of don’t know what to expect! We knew what we were getting in to with the High Sierra, but neither of us really knows what the hiking will be like in Northern California. We expect it to be hot- but we also know the walking will be getting easier- really it already has. Less vertical feet climbed and descended per day, and smoother trail should make for plenty of bigger days.
Anyways, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves from here on out- they are in reverse chronological order, so check them out from the bottom of the page, up!