Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 163- Where are you coming from?

Day 163, 9/18/14
948 to 940 on the PCT, then up the Rafferty Creek Trail over Tuolumne Pass, then down the Evelyn Lake Trail, plus out and back to Ireland Lake, then down to PCT mile 936
23 miles or so.

When hikers meet on the trail going in opposite directions, we often ask each other as way of greeting, “Where are you coming from?”  The answer used to be simple- “Mexico!” I’d say.  For this section sometimes to keep the conversation brief I’d say “Sierra City” since I was hiking Sierra City south to Tuolumne Meadows.  But today I took a detour off the PCT and did a loop in Yosemite up to Vogalsan, Evelyn Lake and Ireland Lake.  (edit: this is called the Vogalsang-Lyell Canyon Loop

So the answer to the question "where are you coming from" is that I was coming from a lot of different places.  This morning I started by bushwhacking down to McGee Lake, then hiking 0.8 miles to the PCT, then on to Tuolumne Meadows.  But a week or so ago I was at Ebbetts Pass.  A few months ago I was in the High Sierra.  On April 9th I started in Mexico.  Today, I was just wandering around in Yosemite.
On the way to Tuolumne Meadows.
My hike has taken longer than I imagined, circuitous, taking me off the trail, and back on again.  I explain about the stress fracture, and many times hear stories of other people who have had injuries.  I love it when this happens, because we connect at a deeper level and there is this understanding that passes back and forth about how complex and messy and beautiful our journeys can be.
Climbing to Vogalsang.
On the climb to Vogalsang, I feel like I really have my hiker legs back.  They are strong and I fly and I forget about the stress fracture.  I could hike forever.

It’s like I’m on vacation.  I make it a two-swim day.  Lakes all to myself.  Evelyn Lake has a sandy beach, and I stretch out in the sun.
It's cold up here even at noon.  Taking off the hoodie to go for a swim.
The sign to Ireland Lake says “3 miles” but the nice rangers I met earlier told me that it’s only 1.5 miles each way, 3 miles round trip.  Not many footprints.  Ireland Lake is high up there, no trees, wind.  Huge peaks all around.  I am back in the High Sierras.  I love it up here.  The water is so cold it burns, with rocky bottom though it drops off quick.  I laugh like I’m 6 years old.  Goofing off.  Not a serious hiker at all.
Happy feet at Ireland Lake.
I descend on the Evelyn Lakes Trail, heading back to the PCT.  The rangers at the Wilderness Permit Center told me that my PCT permit covers me in Yosemite, but I still want to camp near the PCT.  It draws me back.  I hang up my hammock up a slope out of sight when I get close.
OMG I'm so far from the PCT.  Need to get closer!

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