Kam Goes to: Yosemite National Park – Again!

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I posted some tips for backpacking from a beginner earlier this week…and now it’s time for me to share some photos from our trip this weekend.

But first, the important stuff:

The trail: Glen Aulin
Destination: Backpacker’s camp behind the High Sierra Camp off of Glen Aulin
Distance: 11.6 miles roundtrip (about 18.67 km)
Time: It took about 4 hours from trailhead to campsite (with a stop for lunch) and a little over 3 hours from campsite to trailhead. 
The Glen Aulin trail is one of the more popular trails in the Tuolumne Meadows area of Yosemite National Park. It can be a day hike, follows lots of water features, has heavy bear activity, and it is a part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Permits fill up fast for this trail, so I submitted our request via fax (thank goodness we have one at work!) the first day I could send it in.
Overall, this is a great trail for new backpackers or those looking for a trail with lots of water and lots of granite. This isn’t a trail for those looking to escape crowds or people who hike in Converse and listen to music the entire time. 
The trail leads to different places, but we were headed to the backpackers’ camp adjacent to the High Sierra  Camp right off the trail. Being next to the High Sierra Camp (think less rugged camping) is great because there is plenty of potable water, compost toilets, and the possibility of an extra sack lunch for sale in case your stove doesn’t want to work.
Another bonus? You can swim in the water right below a giant waterfall. There are very few places in Yosemite that you can easily do such a thing, but the banks of the river have actual sand (like, beach sand) to it pretty much screams “swim here!” which is nice on a hot day.
Water also means lots of mosquitos. Thankfully I’m not as allergic to them as Alex is, so I only have a few irritations, unlike his 13+ monster bites.
The trail itself only gains about 800 feet in elevation, and you do all of that on the way out. There are plenty of places to pull over for photos and a picnic lunch along the way, and you cross a handful of bridges that are perfect for photo-taking.
The trail is hard to follow when you’re going across granite…and you cross a lot of granite..so our motto became: 

“When in doubt, follow the poop”
There is plenty of “road apples” to spot along the way, and sometimes, that’s the only way to tell that you’re going in the right direction! While there are rudimentary “paths” made by rocks along the granite slabs, the rocks get washed away in the snow or people pick them up and move them. Things happen, but the poop is there to guide the way.

While the trip seemed to be going along perfectly, we did forget to pack proper spoons/sporks/forks and ended up asking a neighbor to borrow one and then rooted out two tiny spoons made for tuna packets from our trash bag. Alex was quite the gentleman and didn’t make me eat my freeze-dried lasagna with the more fishy-smelling spoon. True love, folks.
I could go on and on about how sore I still am, days later, how I need new boots, how I wish I stuck with my usual Frito+chili dinner than testing out a BLT at one of our favorite restaurants in Mammoth, or about how I couldn’t get enough carbs into my system after we got off of the trail…but that’s for a different time.
On the way back, we decided that we would like to do this trail again and possibly bring some friends along for their first backpacking trips! It’s beautiful, totally doable, and really inexpensive (about $5 per person for a permit).
Have you visited Yosemite National Park?
Are you a good packer when you travel?
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Adventure Backpacking Camping Hiking National Park

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Traci July 25, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Looks beautiful. I still have never been to Yosemite or on a backpacking trip, but plan to someday in the future! BTW, I always use the term “road apples” and never hear anyone else use it except old people like my grandpa. Lol!


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