Friday, August 25, 2000
Saturday, August 26 2000

For some reason, no pictures exist from the 25th. The hike down Lyell Canyon is prety enough. I must not have seen fit to take any photographs. So that day is combined with the lazy day after it, which sees the long-awaited return of my hiking companion...

Had myself a bit of a scare at about 2:30 AM. Okay, in retrospect, it wasn't a scare, just a moment in which a decision proved to be wrong. Rain sprinkled on my face in the dead of night. Just a few drops, but it got me out of the tent in a millisecond. I was so shocked. The sky had been blue and kind the evening before, and then out of nowhere, clouds. So, cursing around the flashlight held between my teeth I fumbled the fly over the tent and staked it down. Naturally, the rain never returned, just like Night #2 at Lower Rock Creek, and again in retrospect, I could have just remained in my bag, wiped at my face a little and rolled over with a snore. But of course, I couldn't do that, because what if it got worse…?

I didn't get much sleep that night. That was the upshot of everything. And for some reason, upon waking the next morning, I had "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees stuck in my head. I can't explain it.

I packed up camp and hit the trail, I swear, no more than twenty minutes after I wriggled out of my Moonstone cocoon, and that includes the preparation of some gummy oatmeal on the cookstove.

The weather held, however, and I got to Tuolumne Meadows without a "rain event," whiling away the second half of the trip in conversation with a talkative woman from San Diego whose party had just mounted a four day assault on Mt. Lyell.

Showers weren't available when I got to Tuolumne Lodge. Not for another hour and a half, so I walked down to the campgrounds and snagged a place in the backpackers campground. I have neighbors now, and four Sierra Nevada Pale Ales in my belly. Too many. Desperate for new reading material, I bought the new edition of the Winnett book. But I've already read it through. I'm only reading and drinking to combat the boredom in between attempts to call Keir and Mom. No answer in either case.

A small birthday cake

Fireside trio

Chris, Will, Keir

I left San Luis Obispo at 7:15 AM and arrived here at 1:30. Found the camp site and joined Keir and Joy, who had driven up from Davis and Will, who had come in early yesterday from Lyell Canyon. It's great to be up here again together. We relaxed, took a walk, gathered firewood, played Frisbee, ate beef soft tacos for dinner, drank beer and wine and made a roaring fire afterward. We celebrated Will's birthday early with a mini carrot cake. That night wasn't too cold and the stars were brilliant.
So everything went as planned today. I finally got in touch with everyone, I got us a site in the morning, Keir and Joy showed up at around 11:00 and we sat at the picnic table (site A28) and munched on chips and salse, had another Sierra Nevada Pale and brought each other up to date. When Mom still hadn't arrived by 1:00, we cruised up to Tuolumne Lodge so I could wash the last eight days of dirt off me. By the time we returned she was sitting at the picnic table.

We spent the rest of the day in "sheer relaxation mode," had a cheeseburger. Lollygagged. There was Frisbee involved too. Had a couple beers, made soft tacos for dinner and sorted through food for the next few days. Compared to the rest of the trip, this part of the planning was easy.

When Keir, Joy and Mom went on a walk, I sat myself down at the table, pulled out the CD player I'd asked Keir to bring and the CD's I'd provided and indulged myself in the first honest-to-god music I'd heard since July 30th and that obsession with Liz Phair. With deliberation bordering reverence I opened the Juliana Hatfield disc and placed it in the player, settled the earphones snugly into place and pressed play. The song "Daniel" had at one time taken its place in my internal radio on the trip-a thin, truncated form and I'd been longing to hear it again. Pure joy. Like an idiot I was grinning-from ear to ear when the bassline kicked in, a shot of pure elation into the base of the brain. Aural ecstasy. A cool glass of water sitting on a pedestal after a thirst-wracked thirty day trek through the Gobi Desert. Ahh… I switched to Sasha/John Digweed's "Communicate" for a few tracks. Of all the music I know, trance is devilishly hard to conjure on the trail. One doesn't exactly whistle a Sven Vath tune. Sublime. Almost too dense. I switched back to Juliana, but by that time, the others were returning. I had to cut it short.


The last resupply. Cakewalk compared to the others.

That's thirty days' growth of facial hair.

The stalwart VW Golf