Saturday, May 22, 2004

The Yosemite 7, Saturday, Day Two

OK. I miscalculated again. Didn't think it would be this cold. Or, at least, I thought my sleeping bag was rated for lower temps. We’re figuring it’s getting down into the low 40s, high 30s at night, but I was cold. Had to put my sweatshirt and pants on at some point. Of course, since I was already cold, they didn’t really help all that much. I’ll put them on to start with, tonight. And my little Giants knitted cap.

I think I was up by about five, but I didn’t actually bother getting out of the bag until almost 8. Probably shouldn’t have waited so long – better to get up sooner and start some hot water for a drink to start warming up.

Oh, I don’t think I mentioned Chris’ tent – we’re calling it Tent Mahal. It’s this huge 5-person, “3-room” thing that’s wider than the tarp we put it on. We’ve got 3 air mattresses in it, one for me, one for Chris (it’s his tent, after all), and one for Daniel.

I got to call Rachel and Dawn before dinner. Read two of our favorite Pooh poems to Rachel. Tried to read Forgiven too, but the copy I had (not this link) from the ‘net is wrong. Missing a line, I think. Completely screwed me up because I couldn’t quite remember the line but knew it was missing. Sang the good night song and gave her 3 daddy kisses. Very cute. She seems to be handling my absence pretty well so far, though I know bedtime was harder that normal Thursday night.

We weren’t up very late last night. We had tacos (sans tortilla and cheese for me). It took a while to get cleaned up from it. I hear that trying to clean beef grease off things in ice water (all that’s available at the tap) is a pain in the neck. Glad I wasn’t on that part of the cleanup detail. I was on site cleanup, getting the dishes to the washers, clearing trash, and helping Daniel get everything packed back in the bear locker. Too bad we only have one. Two would be so much more convenient.

Today, we decided to do the trail to Dewey Point. It starts from Glacier Point road about 7 miles or so from 41, and before the Sentinel Dome trail we took yesterday. The trail actually intersects the trail to Taft that starts where we were yesterday. It’s a pretty nice trail – meadows, creaks, lots of trees and blue sky. Gorgeous weather. There seems to have been a fire around 5-7 years ago, and now a lot of the dead trees are starting to fall. The 4ish mile trail has at least 7 or 8 places where fallen trees are blocking the way. There’s also a place where the trail crosses a stream that’s presently a couple of feet deep over the trail.

My guide book (revised and updated in 1994) says there’s not much elevation gain or loss, which is true, certainly as compared to a climb out of the valley or falling off the top of El Cap, but it certainly isn’t FLAT as we managed to interpret that to mean. There were comments about wanting to meet a woman that my guidebook would describe as being flat. Dewey Point also doesn’t seem to have any perspective on Bridalveil Falls, even though the guidebook specifically says that the view is one of the most interesting perspectives of them! Looking at a drawing in the guidebook and a map, it’s hard to tell whether it should have been off to the right (guidebook) as we faced the valley and very obvious, or falling directly away in front of us (the map) and not obvious. I think my interpretation of the map is right, because we didn’t see it, and I was looking for it.

Anyway, the trail was quite nice, though harder than expected and the views spectacular. I made myself go out carefully to the end of the point, once. Another hiker, a woman, who came out there while I was there said, looking down, “don’t be afraid of heights, I guess”. I said, “I am afraid of heights!” She told me I was being very brave. Perhaps. I took a few pictures and high-tailed it (rather slowly) back to wider, seemingly safer ground. I wanted to take another panoramic set of pictures, but I was having too much trouble seeing the overlay and gave up.

Everyone besides Dave and me ate MREs that Chris brought. It was funny to watch him showing them how to use them and everyone having varying levels of success. Interestingly, in spite of their being ‘Meals, Ready to Eat’, Dave and I were finished with our lunches long before anyone else in the group. He was eating cliff bars and I had a zucchini, a hard boiled egg, and some salami. I suppose our meals were more ready to eat.

The hike back was easier because it was more down than up. We did have to make a pit stop, for Daniel to find a place and “move his bowels”, though I doubt he used such a so-called discrete description. I really shouldn’t have stopped to wait; I’d gained some great energy from lunch, but started to stiffen up while sitting, and the rest of the trip back seemed much harder.

We were actually back at camp by 7, which was more or less when I expected when we left Dewey Pt. at 4. Dinner was sausages, beans, & salad. Quicker than last night, marginally easier to clean up after. We’re starting to have more room in the bear locker so that it’s not so hard to get everything in. Though we still have some stuff in the extra locker, we should have plenty of room when we get down to the Valley and have two at our sites, which we know are together. We particularly have been making a concerted effort to finish off some of the copious amounts of liquor we brought with us. I think John’s the only one who’s gotten really noticeably drunk so far, but we’ve all been working on it.

I didn’t get to talk to Rachel tonight, but I left two messages at home, one for her and one for Dawn. I read Missing and sang a little bit of the good night song and gave her two Daddy kisses. It was probably bath time.

Dan, Frank, and I played a little cribbage, while everyone else (except for Dave, who sat snoozing by the fire) had a heated political debate. John was at least very tipsy and amusingly gets a very high pitched voice when he debates, especially when drunk. I almost double-skunked Dan and just beat Frank by 1, playing both of them simultaneously. Frank could have been cheating for all I know; I wasn’t giving either game my undivided attention, obviously. Then we played 3-hand, and I almost managed to come back from WAY behind; I think I was down by 30 at one point, and lost by only 8.

One thing I figured out today is that 1000 steps is about half a mile. I finally calibrated the pedometer for my supposed average stride length of 2 ft. 3 in. earlier this week. The manual comes with very detailed instructions for measuring 10 steps and then dividing by 10 (even gives examples of this); I’d just never got around to it before. The mileage measurements it comes up with matched today’s trail markings fairly closely. Not perfectly, but that makes sense. I did a total of about 21000 steps today, including the 9 mi round trip (3.9 each way on the trail and about .6 each way from the trail head to where we parked).

Daniel, Dan, and I talked about getting up early and driving out to Glacier Point for sunrise. Unfortunately, that meant getting up at 4:30. We (which is to say I) agreed that if I happened to be up at that time, I’d get them up and we could go. Yeah. Right. Guess we’ll see.

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