Miles Hiked: 4
Elevation: 8340 ft. to 9500 ft.
Oh my gosh…..today is finally the day! 6 months of stress and preparation have all lead up to this day and I can hardly believe it’s actually happening. Our bags are packed and sitting by the door ready to go. We are all itching to start our hike, but of course, today of all days; Cordlan’s assigned registration for his junior year of college classes is at 1:45 pm. The permit we reserved 6 months earlier requires us to be on the trail at some point today. Most trails have quotas to make sure there are not too many people hiking at the same time. So…any plan of switching to another day and avoiding a late start was not an option. Since there is no wifi here in our “basecamp”, as we call it, Cordlan is down in the community center of our condo complex anxiously waiting to register. Luckily, he is able to get every class he needed quickly and we are out the door by 2:15 pm.
We drive to the Mammoth Adventure center where we leave our car for the next 4 days and take the bus with the tourists/day hikers to Agnew Meadows. Oddly, the bus we get on is quite full for this time of day and I am quite surprised at how many backpackers are here. I was thinking we were going to be the only late starters of the day. Cordlan is sitting on the other side of the bus from us and unfortunately, is sitting by the most obnoxious lady. She is talking very loudly and asking the bus driver if there is a way to float on tubes down the Merced River in Yosemite. She is now asking Cordlan what he is doing and is quite intrigued with the fact he is backpacking. Poor Cordlan. He is not one for talking to random strangers, especially boisterous ones! We are secretly thanking God it is him and not us. Thanks for taking one for the team Cordlan! We get off at the first stop, Agnew Meadows, (Cordlan is now secretly thanking God we are the first stop) with another couple of backpackers and head up the dirt road to the start of the trailhead. The obligatory selfie is taken and we are on our way by 3:00 pm.
This trail is called the High Trail. I can see why. It is all switchbacks’ up in the beginning to get up above the meadow area. It is a warm afternoon (mid 80’s) and Cordlan is up ahead of us as usual, eager to get going. We make it to the top of the switchbacks and start walking along a more exposed/open ridgeline.
It is just soo beautiful to see the valley down deep below us. We cross a few small streams and I wonder to myself at each one if we should get water now; not knowing if there will be another one up ahead? It is the debate we have every time we hike and we are not sure where our water sources will be.
We move on past them and just pray there is more up ahead. It’s only 5 pm now, but Cordlan spots an amazing campsite and we decide to snag it while we can.
Gannon takes our dromedary bag (fancy name for a big bag that holds water) and filter to go find some water down the trail. He see’s several streams on the map that are not too far from our camp. Cordlan and I are left to start setting up camp. Instead of being good hiking partners, we decide to test out my new seflie stick adaptor. It is an amazing campsite and we need to test this thing out! We have a lot of fun playing around with it and also find out we have cell service. Hallelujah! How great is that? Gannon seems to be gone a long time and we are starting to get a bit worried about him, but….we still have done nothing to set-up our campsite and are now exploring our area.
Gannon is back, we tell him all the amazing things we find around camp. The one thing we did accomplish was to collect firewood while he was gone. Now we can get our fire going and camp set up. It is the only place on the trail that we are allowed to have a campfire and we have been looking forward to it all day. We are also able to Facetime with several family members back home and share with them how amazing this hike is starting out. It is such a rarity for this to occur and it was a very special night for sure!
I am feeling nauseous and cannot eat much dinner. This is pretty normal for me, so I eat a few bites of regular food and some candy to help me fill up. I never eat well on the first day or two, so I am not concerned. Cordlan and Gannon get to split my portion so they are happy for the extra food.
As we sit next to our campfire under a star filled sky, I am feeling nothing but happiness and contentment in my soul. Although, I do smell something a little off, but maybe I am already starting to stink? I decide that I want to sit closer to the campfire and ask Gannon to move a big rock that is a little too close. We have been using it all evening for various other things to rest on/cook on. The mystery smell is finally solved. Someone pooped right next to the campfire and put a big rock on it! Who does that? How gross! Why would you poo next to the campfire when there are plenty of great trees and rocks to poo by? I just do not get it! Needless to say, the rock gets moved back and we try to forget what is under it. Sigh…..
By 10:00 pm, we are in our tents and ready to call it a night. We have a full day tomorrow with one pass to go over. With the sound of the Shadow Lake waterfall off in the distance, we try to get some sleep despite our excitement for what tomorrow shall bring.