Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 64: Rush Creek to Tuolumne Meadows

We climbed out of the trees by Rush Creek (9,600 ft) into the alpine meadows just below Donahue Pass (11,056 ft). A creek meandered through the meadows. Streams trickled into the creek from all directions, still fed by snow melt from the surrounding peaks.

We climbed over the rocky pass, then descended to a small lakelet for lunch, leaning up against a rock in the grassy meadow to block the wind. A brave chipmunk watched our every move, inching close while pretending to look another direction, then darting away only to scamper even closer the next time.

From the lakelet we descended to Lyell Canyon. Lush green meadows full of tall grass swayed in the breeze. The Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River slowly meandered down from the mountains. Pines lined both sides of the meadow and, in some places, encroached on it.

The canyon felt endless, but we eventually made it to Tuolumne Meadows (8,690 ft), where Jeff planned to go home and my brother, Kevin (aka Monkey's Uncle) and his son, Carson, planned to join us. They arrived with delicious cookies baked by my niece Krista, which we started eating before we even reached the campground.

We were still sorting our resupply when my friend Deb showed up and invited us to join them for food at a campsite nearby. Deb, her husband Chris, and their friend Katherine laid out an impressive array of delicious foods. We returned to camp stuffed and exhausted, but ready to start the next leg of our journey.


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