Tuolumne Meadows Backend
zScapes Ramble On

Pacific Crest 2006

PCT Leavitt to Tuolumne Meadows 10 Days 55 Miles
This was one of our last minute let just do it trips. I was in Phoenix for a staff meeting and the highest peak in Arizona was just a short drive away near Flagstaff. George flew in Friday night and off we went from shirt sleeve warmth to long sleeve cool in the matter of a few hours. We woke early, well not real early, and headed for the trailhead at the local ski resort. It was a clear, cool and crisp day, just perfect for hiking and the winds at peak elevation were mild at best. We were told by a few regulars that it was our lucky day, as the winds could be fierce, so we enjoyed the view and headed back down for dinner.
Dorothy Lake 13.9 Miles Gain +2693/-426 Steak Kabob
  • Early start at Leavitt Meadows Pack Station and a fast ride to Dorothy arriving @ 1430
  • Temps started to dip and rain turned to light snow, mother Sierra at her finest
  • Our fourth visit, with rain/snow three out of the four stays
  • Hot dinner and then into warm sleeping bags to pass the night in the low 30s
Wilmer (Wilma) Lake 8.9 miles Gain +13/-1478 Thai Green Curry w/Crab
  • A downhill day thru Jack Main Canyon with the wind howling and cool temps
  • George made his first assault of the trip on Keyes Peak (10670ft) and walked into camp in time for dinner
  • It was a struggle to keep his portion from being consumed by the UK boys
  • Lowest night temperatures of the trip, mostly likely in the 20s
Lower Kerrick Canyon 6.0 miles Gain +1919/-1906 Pesto Salmon Pasta
  • Two 1k up and and 1k down cycles
  • The most challenging day of the entire trip
  • A bit of grumbling that was fixed by a re-allocation of food supply
  • A warm night of sleep finally
Benson Lake 7.2 miles Gain +1360/-1748 Kung Pao Chicken Noodles
  • Another day of up and down, but to our advantage - More down than up
  • Benson Lake sits in a granite bowl of looming peaks with a wonderful sandy beach and plenty of campsites
  • George and his uncanny talent of calling owls treated us to soothing melodies as dusk settled
  • However, he also managed to call in Screech Owls breaking the silence of the night like nails on a chalkboard
Smedberg Lake 4.4 miles Gain +2077/-419 Mac n Cheese
  • Straight up is the only was to describe it, with each of us practicing different techniques to keep on-going
  • George was able to bag Volunteer Peak (10481ft) along the way and we crested as he was standing on the summit
  • While Benson was in a deep bowl, Smedberg was wide open to surrounding elements
  • There is plenty of good camping and short hike reveals sunset views that go on and on
Miller Lake (2x) 7.9 miles Gain +2010/-1845 Chicken Cashew Curry & Cheese Enchiladas
  • While planning this trip, this looked to be the most challenging day and we had an alternate stop if needed
  • Not needed, as we made Benson Pass and smoked right thru the Matterhorn Canyon alternate
  • As we lunched at the pass, a rather large deer family roamed by as if we were not even there
  • On our rest day, George bagged Whorl Mountain (12033ft) and the rest of use explored locally
Lower Virginia Canyon 3.9 miles Gain +377/-1282 Jamaican Checking w/Rise
  • A downhill day after a rest day, does not get any better
  • We found a nice campsite on Return Creek and did some polar bear swimming
  • One of the best campfires of the trip
Glen Aulin 7.7 miles Gain +643/-1338 Black Bean Chow Mien
  • Starting to realize the trip is coming to an end after 59+ miles
  • The trail was bone dry for most of the way, so once we got close to water it was fill it up!
  • We stayed at Glen Aulin and strolled into camp as the last of the cowboys had broken down the Hi-Sierra camp
  • Way too much noise at the backpacker camp so we headed away and had afire that burned with intensity
Tuolumne Meadows 5.3 miles Gain +1083/-345 Picnic Lunch & Dinner at the Ahwanee Lodge
  • Last day of hiking and looking forward to meeting the family as we trek into Lembert Ridge picnic are
  • The rest of the gang hurried along while I lazed my way in solitude and snapped some pics as I went along
  • 20 years of plying the backcountry - What a wonderful strange trip we have been rambling on !!!
  • A wonderful greeting as we were serenaded by the gang - Thanks for the great finish
May our paths & errands meet

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