Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I have certain hopes for Tuolumne Meadows and no information except that a road passes there. I’ll use my cell or find a telephone to explain my unplanned exit from the wild and arrange a ride. After that I’ll try to find a hot meal and then a place to sleep.
Everything I hoped for came, and more. The nice lady at the ranger station told me the good news: Buses go both ways—either to my car at June Lake or to Yosemite Valley—and camping for backpackers is five dollars at the campground. My cell phone works, and I got a good meal at the Grill. It seems funny that with all this convenience for a backpacker, the expensive Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is nothing but tents, with breakfast and dinner in a tent, and it’s fully booked.
“You could watch rangers feed the bears—that’s how it started,” says a woman at The Grill. “They set up a grandstand, and at night the floodlights let us watch as they fed the bears garbage from the hotel.” Funny how attitudes change, among bears, among humans. Today, it’s the grandcubs of those bears who give humans so much grief, and the grandkids of the humans who have to deal with bears who simply enjoy people food.
This sign stands at the start of the trail I came in on. Had such a sign been posted where I began, it would have lent a different perspective on the trip. The fine print reads: “Due to heavy spring snow pack, travel into the wilderness is extremely difficult. All hikers should be prepared for trails completely covered in show, . . . dangerous stream and river crossings due to the high snow melt.”
My restless sniffing of the wilderness is satisfied now, at least temporarily.