Initially, Marie and I thought to go to the Mammoth region, one of the major sections that I have never visited, so we bought tickets to Reno. On investigation we found it difficult to plan a route that would not have us gaining elevation quickly. I'm getting wise to the ways of altitude sickness. Some friends have raved about the scenery around Cherry Creek canyon. My previous trip, 2004, was just east of there and was spectacular. The map showed we could easily acclimatize to the altitude. This is how we came to fly into Reno. then cross the Sierra to our trail head.
Day 0: Travel
We know the drill. Fly to Reno, rent a car, drive to the trail head. We stop at Bodie, the California State historic ghost town in which Marie's great grand father lived. We cross the Sierra at Tuolomie meadows, then run out of daylight.
Yosemite park has done something interesting with their camping. All camp grounds are a tract of indescript forest in which they have cleared the under brush, paved loop roads, set sites at regular close intervals, and provided each site with a firepit and wood. I don't see the appeal myself, but it must be there as plenty of people come to camp in the park.
Day 1: Kibbie Lake
Turns out that the road is closed 3 miles from the trail head and we have a long hike to Kibbie Lake. The first half is up hill, through a recent burn. It gets beautiful as we approach Kibbie Lake, a gem of northern Yosemite.
Day 2: Styx Pass
We traverse around Kibbie lake, up valley, then up to meadows on Kibbie ridge below Mercur Peak. This is not particularly pleasant travel and I would try going by way of Many Island Lake next time. The meadow, however, is beautiful.
We cross Styx pass and look down into Lord Meadow. Good camping down there for sure, but we choose to stay high and find a site up on the ridge.
Day 3: Lord Meadow and Pruitt Lake
From camp we cross the ridge and descend open granite slabs to Lord Meadows. The meadows are pretty nice and, being made mostly of granite slabs, not very impacted by campers. There are several nice camps. Still, I prefer ridge camps. We pick up the trail and head up the east fork of Cherry Creek. More granite slabs. I just love this terrain.
We pass more great camping near the train then turn and head up to Pruitt Lake for lunch. From there we wander cross country to a region of open trees, small tarns, and good slab camping.
We spend the evening reading Dharma, cooking a nice meal, and exploring our plateau. At the nearby lake I walk down to the shore, a steep slab. In the algae on the rock beneath the surface I see sets of parallel scratches. It takes me a little while to realize what I'm looking at. Sometime this summer a bear jumped into the lake and climbed out here. The scratches are from his claws raking through the algae as he climbed out of the water.
I am in love with this terrain.
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