September 28, 2017: Hiked Miles 956.1 to 942.5 (13.6 total)
Colton shook me awake around 6:30 to another cold morning. I was so warm and comfy and felt like I could have slept for hours. But he was freezing and couldn’t sleep and I suppose we do have to actually finish this trail. I suppose we could have camped out in Yosemite Valley for awhile, but the point of thru-hiking is actually to finish at some point.
I pulled myself out of my sleeping bag and managed to eat without feeling sick for once. What a relief. Of course, it’s the last day on the stinking trail when I finally feel better. Better late than never!
The morning was icy cold, one of those ones where the only way to warm up is to start hiking.
We started off on a good climb out of the canyon we slept in and I was pleasantly surprised how much easier hiking is when you don’t feel like death. We crested the mountain and then walked through a beautiful meadow for a few miles that warmed our faces and our hearts.
We ran into our trail friend, Cole, who we had camped with back in Oregon. He’s doing the whole trail southbound and we just happened to run into him again here. We had a great few miles walking with him and hearing about how his journey has evolved.
Eventually the trail started to look a little familiar and we realized that we had made it back to the part we had hiked into months ago before turning around due to the high water.
We made it down to the Glen Aulin bridge which was the broken bridge we were forced to backtrack/swim across to get out last time.
Then we came to the lower of the two Tuolumne River bridges that we practically died swimming across last time.
The river looked like a nice creek and not the raging river we had seen.
Tuolumne Falls was not even recognizable. Last time we walked by the river was so wide thst we were getting soaked from the spray of the falls. This time, I didn’t even think we were in the same place because the water was so far away from the trail.
Last time we came through, this creek was up to my crotch:
The parking lot was packed with cars and day hikers and more vehicles going our way than we ever have hitching out of the mountains. Such a difference from having the whole valley to ourselves a few months ago. We hitchhiked for about 10 minutes before we got a ride from a nice couple from Oakdale. They just happened to be going up to Sonora Pass, the same place we were headed. We were pretty excited because we expected to have to hitch three different times to get back to the car.
We had some amazing views driving out Tioga Pass.
Luckily, our new friends were hungry as well and we stopped in Lee Vining for lunch. My stomach finally decided it liked food again, thank goodness, and I was able to eat half a French dip and some fries without feeling sick.
We passed the beautiful and full Mono Lake on the way up the highway.
Luckily they drove really slow up Sonora Pass road and I didn’t get carsick from all the crazy curves. They dropped us off at the top, we thanked them immensely and then we got in the truck and headed right back down the way we came.
We’re heading down to So Cal to Colton’s grandparents’ house so we got back on 395 and saw all the gorgeous sights one last time. It was so fun to drive though all these familiar towns and be able to see all the mountains we spent our summer hiking through.
The trail is over for us for this year. We have done all that we can do. The fire closures in Oregon and Washington are still closed so we will have to wait until next year to finish those parts. It’s been a crazy journey and I am so glad that I got to experience it and spend a whole summer hiking and sharing it with you guys. I didn’t expect my blog to reach as many people as it did, especially total strangers. Connecting with all of you had been such a blessing and has made the journey so much more meaningful.
If there is anything I could hope to accomplish with this blog it is one, to hopefully inspire others to hike the trail, and two, inspire others to follow their dreams. I tried to respond to all your emails and comments and questions along the way, but now that I have more time and access to internet, please email me if you have any questions or comments regarding hiking the trail, hiking in general, or anything really. My passion is connecting with people and helping them and I would love to be able to do that in any way and pay something back to this incredible community that has helped us complete this trail. I hope that someday I will get to meet all the amazing people in person that I have met throughout this blog. I will probably do a couple more blog posts in the near future detailing all my gear for the trail and life after the trail, but for now I’m going to take a bit of a break, relax, and ease myself back into society.
Remember, life is about following your passion. Do WHATEVER you have to, to make that happen. Believe me, it’s worth it. And you can do it. This is the time.