Sunday, August 27, 2000


We started the morning with a good brekkie of scrambled eggs with cheese on a bagel and oranges. Will and I drove the Passat to the trailhead but Will went back to the camp when Keir did not follow us- it was a cold morning and the Golf refused to start. After a jump, they all drove back to the trailhead . Keir and Joy each drove a car (the Passat would be left for us in Yosemite Valley) and we were off.

It felt good to be hiking again. The rest had revived me. I just wish I could've started where I left and been able to complete the entire JMT. After a short uphill climb, most of the hike was level. We decided to camp at Upper Cathedral Lake and had been told of a nice camp site on the far side so we hiked there, found a level spot midway between the lake and the ridge. The clouds behind Cathedral Peak are amazing. Huge, puffy, pink. We spent quite awhile after dinner relaxing at the top of the ridge, looking at the Lower Cathedral Lake far below, distant Mts. Conness and Hoffman and the wilderness to the north.

Will, sitting on a rock at our campsite

Standing in the shadows at our campsite

Lower Cathedral Lake from our rock shelf

This picture fits against the previous one. Just barely.

I'm perched on a rock shelf, backed up against a lobe of granite. Some distance below, Lower Cathedral Lake drinks up the very last rays of sunlight. The sky to the west is clear. The sky above, veiled by a diaphanous sheet of cloud. The east, over Tioga Pass, a cataclysmic orgy of cloud. Beyond the lake below, Mt. Hoffman, behind which I attempted my ill-fated cross-country traverse last Autumn. Past that, the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, and then further east, Mt. Conness and its sheer face, basking in its own solar vestiges, all of it cloaked in a pale blue. And all of it pulses to a trance beat, as I'm listening to the Sasha/Digweed disc. I've availed myself of the music, something I wouldn't normally do. But after all, this is the last, downhill leg of the journey. And as I said before, the main adventure is done. The rest is all coda. And tomorrow is my birthday, so why not indulge?

The clouds have begun their light show, picking up the oranges, the reds, and violets of sunset. The mountain peaks skim what last claws-full of sunlight they can. The rest of the landscape sinks into violet. And my legs have fallen asleep.

Dinner tonight: Red beans and rice and Thai Chicken, both freeze-dried, alas, but tomorrow's day is all of three miles. Not a very big day.

Wild animal sightings: Two naked lovers on the far side of the lake, draped on a rock like entangled ribbons. Pretty daring, considering both their proximity to the trail and its popularity.

The mountains to the south
of Cathedral Peak from the
far side of upper Cathedral Lake