Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 65: Tuolumne Meadows to Miller Lake

Every cubic millimeter of my empty stomach craved a hot breakfast at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill. But the grill didn't open until 8:00, and we all wanted to get on the trail by 7:00. So I stuffed my pockets with bars and snacks, resigning myself to yet another cold breakfast.

Starting from the campground we crossed the road and headed up to Soda Springs, where naturally carbonated water bubbles up from the ground. Then we followed the Tuolumne River through the forest, stopping to admire the golden morning light on Cathedral Peak and other peaks surrounding Tuolumne Meadows. Winding our way down past the waterfalls, we soon reached Glen Aulin, a popular hiking destination and one of the High Sierra Camps.

From Glen Aulin we climbed gently past rocky terraces and through forest, that meandered through a beautiful grassy meadow surrounded by granite domes and peaks just in time for lunch. We sipped pure mountain water from a side stream. After lunch we soaked tired feet in the quiet creek in the center of the meadow.

Passing through the meadow we entered a mixed forest of hemlock, fir, and pine. Near Virginia Creek, we climbed over and around numerous fallen logs before finally discovering clear trail lower in the canyon. Wading across the creek soothed and cleaned our tired feet, preparing us for the final climb up Spiller Canyon.

We camped on a sandy ridge near Miller Lake. The temperature dropped precipitously the moment the sun disappeared behind the ridge. Shivering in the cold, we quickly vanished into warm sleeping bags, ready for the night.

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