Sharon's Summer

Sharon's Summer
Sharon Chooses High Elevation and High Temperature

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuolumne Meadows

A morning river walk in Lyell Fork Canyon is easy and beautiful.  Women there don’t treat you mean, and neither do mosquitoes.  The splashing of water speaks as I tread, like a voice half sobbing, half laughing.  Then in quieter moods it rests so clear the bottom details resemble a meadow.  My pack is lighter, carrying one day’s food instead of five.  Every step takes me nearer Tuolumne Meadows, civilization, and home.  It’s good to know that after tonight I’ll sleep in a bed.

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.


  1. Hee hee...You sound like a little bear "with that "restless sniffing of the wilderness"! Is that a gorilla there amidst the wildflowers? A friend of yours... or perhaps kin? You certainly have beautiful photos to show for all this effort, I am sure many more than you have showed us! Look forward to those too!

  2. Not that different from a bear. About as polite in nice company. About as piggish with food. The gorilla is kin to many, friend to the soil and the wildflower and a rodent who's friend to walnuts.

  3. "...the expensive Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is nothing but tents, with breakfast and dinner in a tent, and it’s fully booked."

    A blank sheet of paper and a box of crayons is, to most, inferior to a coloring book and a couple of crayons.

  4. Really surprised that rangers are feeding the bears to a bandstand audience of humans??? This is very unusual behavior for the humans, particularly "rangers". They always tell campers that a fed bear is a dead bear. I am definitely not pleased with this activity in Tuolumne Meadows. : (
    However, I must agree with Kathy that your photos are beautiful and I want to see more! You not only captured the beauty of the wilderness but you also learned what it takes to be truly wild. You did well Sharon! : )

  5. The feeding of bears by rangers stopped back in the sixties. Today, nobody but foolish tourists intentionally feeds a bear. I am surprised that people are so careless with their food storage in the face of so many warnings. Thanks Gail, I’m glad you have come along. I do have many more pictures and may show them sometime on a screen.

    Steven, I agree, and am one who prefers blank paper to preformed boundaries, and the more colors to paint with the better.