Tuolumne Meadows Backend
zScapes Ramble On

Pacific Crest 2006

PCT Leavitt to Tuolumne Meadows 10 Days 60 Miles
The Pacific Crest has always drawn George and me, however, to do the entire trek takes a lot more time than we could conceivably piece together. So the next best choice, cut into digestible portions and tackle them as time allows. This is our longest trip to date and we had special guests from the old country, my cousins Rob and Tom. Planning was key, especially food for 10 days. A bit of miss on my part, as I planned based on George's and my backpacking appetite, failing to account for our 2 younger companions much hardier appetites! Any planner worth their while anticipates the unanticipated, and had I not, I perceive there would have been a mutiny. Close to it, but we all made some compromises and made it out alive!
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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