PCT 2020 Day 18: Tuolumne

Won’t Back Down

Before I get into the days happenings, I feel compelled to go on a little rant. At some point, you may have found yourself wondering, Stevie, how do you navigate the trail and know distances to water sources, campsites, trail towns, etc…? Well. Back in the day, 2019 that is, most folks (myself included) used an app called Guthooks Guides. It had everything and was great. This year, the app re-branded to “FarOut.” It seems pretty similar and I’m sure is great and I’ll be very thankful for it in the future. Problem is that when I updated it, I lost my PCT trail guide. So, rather than pay $30 to get it back, I won’t be including elevation or specific PCT miles for the rest of these 2020 logs. I digress…

On to today…

After a wonderful stay in Yosemite Valley, it was time to continue onward. We were ready. This would begin a 6-day section of pretty remote trail, getting in to “town” on the 6th day. The next resupply would be Kennedy Meadows North, west of Sonora Pass. Our bus didn’t depart until something like 4:00pm though. So more hanging around for a while…

Pretty views on the bus ride to Tuolumne Meadows…

It took more than an hour to get up to the trailhead. It wasn’t very busy at all upon arrival and we were greeted by expansive green meadows and classic Yosemite domed rocks. Stunning. We opted for the classic 6:05pm start time…

After a mile or so we reached Soda Springs and the remnants of a small old cabin. It was a nice interesting little stop viewing the air bubbles percolating to the surface. Calzone had read in Guthooks that someone had used this bubbly water to make a sort of seltzer of sorts and so felt compelled to give it a try. The idea of drinking it kind of freaked me out a tad, but she seemed to like it nonetheless…

video credit @carollcoyne

It was quite pleasant walking in the evening with the suns rays getting low and creating such magnificent lighting over everything!

Especially walking along the peaceful Tuolumne River…

It’s funny how certain spots on trail stick out as particularly special. Over 2,650 miles of trail can blur together, but there are some views or settings that I can still picture in my mind so clearly. Where certain boulders are placed, or how the bend in the trail offers up a view through the trees, etc… One of these spots was in this section along the Tuolumne River. During my 2019 trek when I was hiking through here, I was solo at the time, narrowing in on the end of my journey. All the feels hit me and I remember sitting down, soaking it in, and having a little cry (2019 Tuolumne Post).

This time around I had my friends with me. We felt strong and positive and were truly enjoying ourselves as we continued on to finish their PCT journey’s. I told them I was going to take a break, just pause, and listen to the same song that had prompted that moment the year prior (even though it was getting dark and we had miles still to go to our camp). It was cool that this time they joined me. In a way, I think this act represented how this 2020 hike was so very different from last year’s. Last year was such a personal and internal journey and this time I truly felt we were a team, going through it all together, and opening up with each other more than we ever had before.

As expected, we did end up hiking into the dark and had to turn out headlights on. I’m not always a big fan of this. Usually, I’m dead tired by this time and eager for food and my tent. But… you can’t beat hiking while the sun is setting!

We camped that night at the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp after hiking about 6 miles or so. It was closed for the season, but the backpackers camp was open and we found some nice spots, quickly setup, and crashed.

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