I’m sitting on a bridge thirty feet above the west fork of the West Walker River. We never thought we would set foot on this thing today let alone have a little light left to put a but on it and write. Well, that’s not all true. The day began optimistically enough. Twenty four miles without even the yo-yos didn’t seem like too much of a feat.
Sometime before breakfast we sauntered down, feet already wet, into Macombe Canyon. The slow green waters sliding by didn’t look too terrible. Peace fulness of current did, however, suggest a fairly deep channel. Dyl stripped to his shorts and put in a foot. He went past his knees, quickly over his balls , up to his waist, a little deeper yet. With a yelp Dyl was dog paddling for the far bank. Our first swim. It looked like ten to twelve feet of breast strok e in some cold water. Accidentally feeling the ground slip away beneath you can’t possibly be as bad when you don’t know it’s coming. While stripping naked, I shiveringly eyed him standing in a wee patch of morning sunlight on the far bank. Its not that hard to swim with a pack on, if you must.
My whoops brought a young guy bounding down from the rocks. “I haven’t seen anyone in six days.” If we had done this last year, it turns out, he wou ld have been the one frying up our veggie burgers at Tuolomne Meadows Grill. This summer he isn’t working, just walking, north. While we warmed up, he enter tained us with stories of bears ripping the doors off cars and breaking into the Tuolomne store in order to decimate the cookie isle.
The snow conditions in these mountains are the same as the others. They just set in a thousand feet lower. Towards late afternoon we found ourselves bumbling over miles of sun cups beginning in grace meadow and on up to Dorothy Lakes Pass. The monotony of snow was only broken by wet muddy bogs that had to be apathetically sloshed through. It got late, the wild onions rooted up at lunch quit fueling me, as did the rest of lunch. My candy bag was empty at se venteen miles. Dorothy Lakes marked a passing out of Yosemite. We made it through with only that one verbal warning. “Show me your papers.” I still can’t de cide if “Wilderness permit” qualifies as an oxymoron. I guess he was nice enough forest cop. More onions at dinner and a little extra miles afterward delive red us here. Mile 23.5 for the day. We are happy with that.