Tuolumne Meadows

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Jim and I practically staggered into Tuolumne Meadows after carrying packs close to 80 lbs for nearly 30 miles in two days. We re-evaluated our situation, and our sanity. We decided the first thing we needed was a big, fatty cheeseburger at the little grill in Tuolumne Meadows, which we did. We had only been out two days, but for some reason it seemed like a week. We struggled under heavy packs, gaining thousands of feet elevation from Yosemite Valley. We made a plan... sleep in the next day, mail dozens of pounds worth of food and film and gear back home from the little post office there, eat a honkin' breakfast, and only hike a few leisurely miles up the Lyell Fork. Boy, did that plan salvage our moral!

We secured a campsite at the backpackers camping area at the Tuolumne Meadows campground, and I told Jim I was gonna take a stroll down along the Tuolumne River. Which I did. Even though my legs were still tard after hiking all day, it felt good to walk without a heavy pack on my back. I watched the brook trout rise in the river, enjoyed the alpenglow on the Cathredral Range and Lembert Dome, and the general quietness of the river and the meadows. Walking slowly along the river was a wonderful experience. I didn't take many photos, but I did take a few. I was more content to just wander. Here's one of the photos I did take, looking up river, well after the sun had set behind the mountains.


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Lembert Dome rises above Tuolumne Meadows as a distinctive chunk of granite. It's very popular with rock climbers due to the great variations of difficulty and the clean granite for secure holds. As I strolled on by, it turned red-face on me. It's funny how just a big wad of rock can have an affect on me. It's just a rock. But it's just a magnificent rock created by God, and hence the "awe" I feel when I look upon it.

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The pointed spire of Cathedral Peak rises defiantly above the meadows. The trees lined before me, as if watching the peak and waiting for the sunset show, ready to break out into applause.


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I just love the color of alpenglow. I'm always amazed at how natural light can color things so differently and can alter the scene so radically. I continued hiking through the softness of the late evening light, marveling at colors and the glows around me. But knowing that the little store along the road back at Tuolumne Meadows was closing at 8 p.m., I headed back, with my mind set on a quart of chocolate milk and a couple beers. I figgered the beers might ease some of the soreness that was setting in from the previous days under a heavy load. This is the last photo I took that evening, and I headed back as the last light slowly faded from the peaks.