Mile 926.1-948.6 (22.5)
When my alarm went off at 5:45am, the sun was just creating the horizon. It warmed me while I packed up.
Just as I started hiking, I ran into Anka, who I’d met at the hostel in Mammoth, coming south looking for a lost cell phone. I found it on the trail a mile north. We hiked around each other all morning.
Donahue Pass was the first order of business today. Few footprints were still visible, so I meandered around the snowfields and walked in the general direction of the pass. Occasionally I’d run into a set of prints and follow them until they vanished. Donahue Pass was not as scenic as others, but I have developed a fondness for empty, desolate, blinding landscapes.
At the pass is the boundary for Yosemite National Park. I celebrated this not only because I was excited to walk through this fabled park, but also because it means the Sierra are wrapping up. I look forward to easier and higher-mileage days.
The descent off the pass was fun and quick. The snow was slushy enough to sneaker-ski downhill, but icy enough that I wasn’t postholing much. I could cross ice bridges. I did a little route finding, but the trail was usually intuitive.
Then I came upon a sweet meadow. The trail became completely flat. Muddy at times, but still amenable to a 3mph pace. My dream! I flew to Tuolumne Meadows.
I picked up my box, filled with a fat resupply for two people, and slowly packed it away. I will have enough food until South Lake Tahoe. Anka and a JMTer named Joelle sat with me at the picnic table and shared snacks.
Some time after 4pm, I hiked out. The trail was flat still, and scenic, following the Tuolumne River. My body ached and I felt lonely. How will I hike without Spider for two months? How will I live in the woods while he lives in town? I miss him so much. I’m camped in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by mosquitos.