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Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2

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avatar JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 05:32PM
Hi all, I recently spent nine glorious days backpacking in Yosemite (July 19-27) and wanted to share about it in this trip report. Lots of pics, I pared them down to about 350 that are in this album, with many posted into this thread. Lots of rambling in this TR – as Mark Twain once said, if I’d had more time I would have written less. So I’ll spread it over separate posts. This thread covers Intro and Days 1 & 2.

Linkies to the whole enchilada:
Intro and Days 1 & 2
Days 3, 4, 5
Days 6 & 7
Days 8 & 9 and finish
Plants & animals

Overall weather was good, very hot most of the trip, cooler and some rain for a day or two in the middle. During the entire trip I did not see any bears, mountain lions, or coyotes, and only a couple of deer. Lots of marmots, squirrels, chipmunks, and ravens. And ants and flies and mosquitoes. Lots of flowers too.

For the first couple of days I was joined by Mike (Old Dood) and Chick-on. I think they felt they needed to rescue me from myself, and perhaps they were right. I know that my itinerary was greatly improved by Chick-on’s suggestions and pointing me to a couple of cool less-traveled spots, and Mike’s driving and generous hospitality was very comforting and allowed me to squeeze the most out of the time I had.

Put these two together and they are endlessly entertaining, better than the full blue-ray collection of the Odd Couple (I'll let you ponder who might be Felix and who is Oscar). I had such a great time with these guys, and I feel that I have made two new, very special friends. They must have liked me just a little as well as I earned the nickname “Billy Joel” (since Joel is my real name, and Billy, well if you know these guys then you know about Billy). As great as the totally-solo trip I had originally planned would have been, it was exponentially so much better due to the guidance, concern, and good company of these two fine gents.

Thurs 7/18

I flew into Sacramento, landed in the evening, Mike picked me up and we rode back to his place for the night.


Fri 7/19 – Day 1

Chick-On met us at Mike’s house early that morning. We grabbed breakfast on the road, picked up permits at Big Oak Flat station, and started at the Porcupine Creek trailhead around 10:30am. (Foreshadowing note: coming from basically sea level I was jumping right up above 8k elevation, which I’d never done before, my idea all along, more on that later...). It was very hot – I had found a forecast online for a Tenaya Lake weather station, seemed the closest approximation to the destinations on my itinerary, and a couple of days before the trip it showed forecast highs of 95°-98°. Not for The Valley but for Tenaya Lake. And it felt like it.

So we went to Indian Arch.






Then we bushwacked down to Basket Dome, went up and had lunch on Basket. Cool how it actually curves under on the eastern side:




Thought this was cool:


Looking up Basket:


Over on North Dome Chick-on snapped me and da Bird taking in the view:


Then we returned to the car. We then drove to the Snow Creek trailhead on Tioga Rd (old quarry), hiked to Mt Watkins, and set up camp. A big first day, close to 14 miles. I felt a little headachey, slight nausea, lost my appetite, but generally felt OK (anyone see where this is going?). I did skip my full dinner that night and just nibbled on some trail mix before bedding down. Night was so warm and gentle we just slept under the stars.








I woke around 4:20am, the moon had set by then, and I opened my eyes to a crystal clear sky full of billions of stars. I don’t get to see the Milky Way very often, this was a real middle-of-the-night treat. Finally did fall back asleep.


Sat 7/20 – Day 2

Plan for the day was to head up to May Lake and ascend Hoffmann, then toddle around Polly Dome area and a special place to camp. But...

That morning I woke up feeling OK, I ate a full breakfast and everything. Then Chick-on took me exploring while Mike headed back to the car to wait for us. We were down in the gully between Watkins proper and its northeast buttress (also called Wazoo Dome?) when I began to feel really bad. Big wave of nausea hit me and I lost my breakfast. Was sweating profusely, even at rest. Heat felt relentless, I couldn’t cool down. Arms and legs began physically shaking. Had to stop every 25 yards not just to rest but to sit down. Legs were gone. Then another big bout of breakfast refunding. So now no dinner or breakfast in my system. Oh, and did I mention we were low on water and none to be found between us and the car?

I don’t know if it was AMS, or dehydration, or heat exhaustion, or something I ate, or some bug I picked up, or some combination. Doesn’t matter, first I was fine, and then in less than an hour I was toast.

Chick-On immediately responded to the situation, shelving all plans for the day. We were near the bottom of Barf Gully, all exposed, so we climbed up the gully best I could manage in order to find a shady spot for me to stay while he went back to the car (I think about 5 mi r/t) to get Mike and water. It was way too steep there to pitch my shelter, so I just lay in the duff for about 4 hours. It wasn't particularly buggy, but if you lay in the dirt in one spot long enough then eventually every able-bodied blood-sucker within a quarter-mile will find you. So I pulled on the head net, slipped on some lightweight gloves I like to carry, and tucked my pants legs into my socks. Napped on and off, had some weird dreams. Mostly, though, I just lay there looking up at massive Cloud’s Rest directly across the canyon, a wall of granite a couple miles wide and a mile high, looming imposingly a good 1,800 feet above where I was laying – my intended destination 4 days later, thinking to myself there is no way I could do it. Feeling pretty puny.

By the time Mike and Chick-on returned I was starting to feel better, but still we planned to just go up on top of the northeast buttress of Watkins right above us and camp there for the night. Mike and I were going to head straight to the dome. He and Chick-on both insisted I leave my pack in Barf Gully and that Chick-on would retrieve it for me, which he did. Chick-on then went to explore Hidden Lake.

Mike and I started to make our way up the gully, then Mike suggested we zig-zag up the granite face of the dome rather than come all the way up through the gully, so we did – and not a minute later we heard a thunderous sound and turned our heads to watch a huge tree fall right in the middle of the gully, pretty darn close to where we would have been if we had stuck to that route. Pretty incredible to watch, but also unsettling – I really think that gully doesn’t like me.

Mike and I found a spot to camp on the dome, then a big windstorm rolled in.






Here is some video.




When it started to rain and lightning we moved off the dome into the forest for cover. Chick-on returned and found us. Eventually the sky cleared and we toddled back out to the dome to camp.

By this time I was feeling much better. Even my appetite came back – I ate my whole lunch late that afternoon and a whole dinner a couple of hours later. Wonderful sunset.








If I had been solo I'm not sure how things would have played out. I probably would have been OK eventually, but I might have tried to push myself or done something stupid. Thanks to Mike and Chick-on I had the care and attention and solid advice I needed, and I have no doubt that it made a huge difference in the outcome. Thank you both!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2013 07:06PM by JRinGeorgia.
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 06:14PM
Thanks for posting this! Obviously responses will be in pieces as well...

You do seem to like sunset photos so far...and I definitely like the sunset/tree shot.

I wonder if you had a combination of heat and altitude reaction. The first part of your symptoms sound a lot like AMS, but barf gully...wonder if that was the heat added onto the AMS.
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 09, 2013 11:34AM
Quote
ttilley

I wonder if you had a combination of heat and altitude reaction. The first part of your symptoms sound a lot like AMS, but barf gully...wonder if that was the heat added onto the AMS.

It might have been mainly AMS combined with a full breakfast. AMS is caused by a lack of oxygen in the body and eating a good size meal, especially one that's high in protein and/or fat will deplete the oxygen in one's body further.

If one thinks they might be suffering from AMS, the best thing to do (beside heading down to a lower altitude) is to rest, stay hydrated, and if hungry, eat small snacks of quick and easy to digest high energy foods like jelly beans or light sugary cereals (like Kellogg's Frosted Flakes with no milk. Wash down the cereal with water.)

.
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 09, 2013 01:23PM
Quote
plawrence
It might have been mainly AMS combined with a full breakfast. AMS is caused by a lack of oxygen in the body and eating a good size meal, especially one that's high in protein and/or fat will deplete the oxygen in one's body further.

Huh, didn't know that. Makes sense. And guess what I had for breakfast? Granola...with milk.
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 06:37PM
Billy Joel, Ewe r berry welcome.

Read them all. Thank you. Come out again. I think it's Wasoo.
Anytime I see Watkins... I'll think of Barf Gully now. smiling smiley

The photo of you and me above is actually atop North Dome on day 1.
(you can see Watkins in the distance)

Still owe you a bunch. Here is one I really like... it shows you as 6' 12" tall: wink

At the Zen Tree on Le Bas-Cat Dome:




Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 06:49PM
Thanks Chick-on! I'll edit the North Dome pic, let me know of any other corrections.

And apparently I will need to change my avatar -- funny as hell the first morning I come downstairs and meet Chick-on in Mike's kitchen, and he's giving me a weird look. Turns out from my avatar (only information he had to go on) I appeared to be 6'12" and maybe 30 years old. Then here I come down the steps, I'm 5'8" if the wind is blowing uphill and just turned 53. I also did not shave for about a week before the trip, and most of my gray is in my beard, so that didn't help matters.

But my avatar photo is from my trip to Yosemite last summer, it's not from 25 years ago. Taken on the bridge crossing top of Nevada Fall.

And hey ttilley, yes I do love sunsets, but you'll see more other stuff as you troll through the rest.

I agree, I do wonder about heat complicating things that morning, it wasn't even 9am and I was baking. Chick-on, though, seemed fine.

Thanks

- Billy Joel
(not BJ for short)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2013 07:08PM by JRinGeorgia.
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 09:21PM
Let's just say I was weeeee bit concerned on this bit of traverse:




Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 07, 2013 09:32PM
Oh, so it would have ruined your day to watch me slide into that canyon, barfing all the way down? I remember thinking it was pretty steep, but that foe-tow really shows it wasn't just in my head.

And the zen tree shot -- yeah I can almost look Mike in the eye, but I'm uphill from him, and probably on my tippy-toes as well. At first I was standing on the other side of him, that would have made me look like Sprout next to The Jolly Green Giant.



- Billy Joel
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 08, 2013 07:25AM
Just a little.

Ok, you got me off my butt to go thru the photos. I hope you have 3D goggles:





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 08, 2013 09:25PM
I have super-cheap ones, as in they were a free promo, but they work. Very cool, it jumps right out of the screen!

Is that a setting on your camera, or do you take two different shots and run them through a 3D program?
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 09, 2013 10:29AM
Put these two together and they are endlessly entertaining, better than the full blue-ray collection of the Odd Couple (I'll let you ponder who might be Felix and who is Oscar).




Still trying to figure out which one of them is Felix, and who would be Oscar. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
avatar Re: JRinGeorgia's TR: 9 Days in Yosemite, Days 1-2
August 12, 2013 05:54PM
I will watch and let you know. Whomever is the smarterer one. Dat one is me. Purty shure.

wink

JR. Calaveras is Z exspurt in 3D. 3D on camera kinda sux. The res is really not that great...
you have to split the pictures apart, etc. And it is only good for close 3D.

If you want far away you need to move 20-30 ft.

But for something like this 3D cam mode would work:



Sorry I was gonna make a "Insert JR Here" sign... but the other ppl on top didn't have pen or pencil.



Chick-on is looking at you!
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