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We had some lightning and rain last night. Thankfully, the lightning was apparently in the Tuolumne drainage as the closest it came to us was 13 seconds from lightning to thunder, and many times we never heard the thunder at all. However, today there is barely a hint of clouds, and the storm cleared any remaining smoke from the air, leaving nothing but beautiful skies and great views.
At around three miles from camp we hit the junction to May lake. And take a photo with our three hiking buddies, Captain, Ducky, and Froggy.
Originally, I had planned for a layover day to bag Tuolumne Peak, but to be honest, I think it may be beyond my skill set. At any rate, I heeded that little voice telling me no. I will get back there one day to do it but this would not be the day. This day would also turn out to be longer than we anticipated. It started out with making the decision on how much water we should carry as the ranger told us that the section from here to Tuolumne Peak might be sketchy for water. As it turned out she was right and we were glad that we tanked up well before leaving Cathedral Creek as we found no water between here and Tuolumne Peak. We made real good time on climb probably because we did not take many pictures. But that is not because there was nothing to shoot.
The fact is that the views were totally amazing.
The climb up was long and dry and I was beginning to wonder if I had pumped enough water in the morning when we came over the top and dropped down into this little peace of heaven.
Here is a shot with Cindy and John to give some perspective on the size of those boulders.
From beneath the snowfield, it is like being on the edge of the world.
We ate lunch and tanked up again, hitting the trail and enjoying the great views across the GC of the Tuolumne.
We had planned to camp on the other side of this saddle between the two creeks that feed into South Fork Cathedral Creek.
I finally got some good shots of butterflies!
And what appears to be a Rock Lobster.
Once again we witness the rapid change of environs. From rocky and dry to lush and green.
Then things open up and there are these fantastic views.
And what appear to be beautiful lakes. (The truth is this was really just a mud hole.)
We decided that although the views were awesome…
…we would head on down to the south fork of Cathedral Creek. The map showed it as about a mile and a half, with 400-500 ft of drop. I would estimate that the drop was close to twice that (Thanks Mr. Harrison) and the mileage more like two and a half. After the morning’s climb, this turned into the closest thing to a death march that we had on this trip. However, once we reached camp and cooled down in the small swimming hole next to our camp we felt much better.
The nice flowers helped with our attitudes too.
A bit of alpine glow…
…and fire glow…
Bring an end to a glorious day.
Day six again begins with brilliant blue skies.
Although we are bit bleary-eyed this morning…
…we are not concerned as we have only about four miles to do today with just a short (we hope) climb. By now our confidence in either the map or our ability to read it is pretty low as we have been fooled three times now.
Since we were not in a hurry, I took the opportunity to use the mornings low light to see if I could get my new camera to show the flow of water. After a few attempts, I figured it out.
Fooled around some more.
Had a visitor come into camp as we were packing up.
This guy was pretty bold as every time you turned around he was right there. He must have had a lot success finding food this way in the past, but he got nothing from us.
The first mile and a half today may have ended up being the slowest of the whole trip. There were simply too many beautiful flowers to digitize.
Plus the mirror in the stream.
But finally we make it out and up the small climb to Ten Lakes Basin. Once again, we are treated to forever views…
…looking out to the north.
We reach Lake 9398 by 12:30. The earliest day we have had.
And what a great place this was to have some time to explore a bit.
I took the time to climb the wall on the south side of the lake and was blessed with some great views north.
While Cindy caught up on some reading.
This doe came almost right into camp. We had seen a doe with a very playfull fawn earlier, and John and Cindy saw a buck while I was up on the wall. (But I think they missed more than I did).
Things cool down quite a bit as the sun sets.
Bathing everything in its golden glow.
We have great time singing around the fire (yes I brought a guitar), then it was off to bed to end day six.
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Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Thanks again, some very nice pics in there. Now I know the rest of your group wasn't camera shy.
Piece of cake.
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