"My first thought is always of light"
- Galen Rowell
At 4 am, we woke up so we could drink tea, eat grits, ramen, sardines (for the one wierd German)... and to kickstart out GI system. It worked for two of us, but the Frenchman's tummy wasn't flyin'.... Soon Brandon dropped us off at the gate, at around 7,500 ft. CalTrans had plowed the road all the way up to the pass (at 9,900 ft). This made for some quick mileage and we hiked at a quick pace chasing the setting moon.
|at the gate... at 6 am?|
|nice long shadows starting off with a long hike up the road.|
|Check out some of the terrain around Ellery Lake... there is endless terrain on the Dana Plateau. Like a fatter, gnarlier brother of Tallac.... both places, it seems like everytime I go, I see a 5 new lines I've gotta put on the tick list. Here some pics from the Dana Plateau when we were last here in 2010.|
|oh why, oh why, did you close? Seriously though... does anyone know why they closed?|
|If you time this right... you could do a bike assisted ascent of Mt. Dana. Ski the Solstice or Dana Couloir, then down the pleateau with an option of skiing down some of the classics like Gutter Chute, Liberty Chute, Ellery Bowl, then down the Powerhouse chutes. That'd be a nice 6,000+ ft descent with a 3,000 ft approach. Dunno what you'd do with the bike...|
... maybe... just ditch the skis and go for a fat bike sierra traverse?
Could easily do it in a day.... just you, your bike, and some cookie dough.
|Alexis' first fall of the tour... many more to follow...|
|Alexis is stoked that it's open...|
|Alexis not so stoked.|
|the phones actually still work... very durable... quite impressed...|
|this wasn't quite the weather we were expecting. This was much nicer. I thought I'd be bundled up the whole tour... A high of 48? Way off.|
|animal tracks... I'm guessing Coyote...|
|The Kuna Crest... another area of Yosemite, I'd like to familiarize myself with.|
|soon we were skiing in the meadows of Tuolumne with blue skies, birds chirping, a stream on our side, and no cars!|
|the snowpack could be refreshed...|
|With an early start and favorable gliding conditions, we were at the hut before we knew it. We had plenty of time to kill as we made it here before lunch!|
|soon we found Johnny's cache, and started eating and drinking the contents. In between each bite, we stared up at the sky and told Johnny of our unconditional love... (that 2 buck chuck tasted amazing! and lasted about 5 min...)|
|and we left for a short tour with a full belly.... we decided to follow the JMT towards Mt. Lyell|
|Check out Johnson Peak's terrain... short but looks pretty fun. If the snow conditions were different, I'd have done laps on that guy.|
|With the Tuolumne River flowing near by, no need to melt snow...|
|Sunset in the meadows...|
|electricity, stove, water... it's easy living at the TM hut... even has recycling and garbage. How easy is that!|
|After checking out the stars and playing with long exposure... (check out Alexis' red face!)... we were ready to call it an early night.|
Our approximate route... we started further up the road. But also went on a 3-4 mile tour...
The Tuolumne Meadows Hut register has quite the history. Having been available, on the JMT, and with it's registers available for anyone to see... it's quite the entertaining read... here are some of my favorite entries...
|Jason Torlano... he and a buddy skied down Clouds Rest earlier this year. You'll see Cloud's Rest on the next post... and it's insane. B-roc also got to ski with him.|
|Galen Rowell! Alexis & Stefan didn't know who this was? Unbelievable... considered ditching them at the hut for the rest of the trip...|
|Trans-sierra with a 7 & 9 year old!!!! Probably the most impressive post in the journal...|
|And for some fun artwork!|
|And the entry from Bernard & Kevin...|