July 18, 2016
What a day it was. We started at Little Yosemite Valley and retraced our steps for the first mile before heading away from Half Dome and towards Tuolumne Meadows.
It took roughly 3 days to acclimate on the John Muir Trail. Adrenaline fueled the 5000' climb to Half Dome the previous day, and once that wore off I was exhausted. We were used to living at 150' in Richmond, Virginia, and our training hikes in Shenandoah National Park never saw more than ~2000' of climbing. I love the east coast and Virginia, but age shows in the grandfatherly Blue Ridge Mountains. They slump to half the average elevation of the JMT, worn down by time and weather.
Looking back, the hike from Little Yosemite Valley was relatively easy. While acclimating, not-so-much. I stored my DSLR in my pack, and at that time I wasn't keen on taking it off to reach for the camera, then putting it back on. My cell phone was far easier to access, and that's all I used until getting situated at Sunrise Creek.
We hiked 8 miles and gained another 3000 feet to our campsite at 9000 feet (approx.)
The view here is spectacular.
After arriving at Sunrise Creek, Augie and I pitched a tent at one of the trip-favorite spots. On a granite ledge, we overlooked the meadow and Cathedral Peak
I walked up the ridge behind our tent and snapped some more photographs before convincing Augie to join me. The view really was spectacular.
Across the lush meadow sits Cathedral Peak. Like its namesake the peak features two spires, the tallest of which is joined to the lower with a ridge line that resembles a saddle. It’s a dominating figure, framed between two taller peaks from where I sit. Though it is the lesser, the Cathedral dwarfs the others in prominence.
Will had been saving a bottle of Baileys that a stranger bought him on the plane, so we made coffee and had a drink as we gazed over the magnificence laid before us.
We’ll be staying up late to stargaze tonight. It’s a full moon.