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PCT 2015 Day 60: Yosemite Valley Zero

  • Start: 942.5
  • End: 942.5
  • Miles: 0
  • Camp: Tuolumne Meadows

This morning I saw Nell (Fran) for the first time since Wrightwood. She has zeroed a lot so has dropped back in the pack. Sababa and Spider who were hiking with her both left the trail so she is on her own again. Still hiking fast though, so maybe she will make better progress through NorCal.

We showed up at the wilderness permit office as soon as it opened at 8am, hoping to get an overnight permit to hike down to Yosemite Valley tomorrow and maybe climb Half Dome. Ordinarily this would be plenty early, possibly even to get a permit for the same day. But this is the Fourth of July weekend and 30+ people were already in line waiting for 11am when the next-day permits start being handed out. There are only 10 Cathedral Lakes permits available, and I didn’t think it was a high enough chance to justify a three hour wait so we caught the free bus down to Yosemite Valley instead.

We had incredible views of El Capitan and the Yosemite falls from the bus, and of Half Dome and North Dome from where we disembarked at Curry Village. But it is a bit like Disneyland. I’m glad all these people are experiencing the outdoors but for someone who has spent almost two months in the wilderness it was a bit…bewildering.

Yosemite Valley also provided us with a deli sandwich lunch, and a quality resupply – better than we could have done in the Tuolumne Meadows store. However, thunderstorms descended over lunch and again at 3:30 sending the tourists running for cover. I have to say that slightly damp tourist smell makes a change from hiker funk.

I was pretty glad I visited the valley, and glad I got to see the famous sights of Yosemite, but I’m not at all unhappy I didn’t get to hike the trail down there. I think I would have been a bit disappointed to hike 21 miles to a rainy and thundery Disneyland.

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