Sierra High Route – Day 1 (7 miles)
I woke up in Yosemite Valley. Packed up and headed for the bus over the pass to the other side of the range. Unfortunately the company had arrived to their winter schedule without updating their website.
I had to hitchhike.
The first leg was trying to get out of the valley and up to Tuolumne Meadows. I got a lift with a grandma and her two grandkids. It was fun as we stopped at all the lookouts along the way.
I arrived at Tuolumne and stuck out my thumbs again. This time i got a ride with a guy that guides hikers through the he Sierra. We chatted the whole way down. He is a trail runner, and we compared the differences between the two sports.
It was lunchtime when we arrived at the eastern foothills and he offered to buy me lunch. I had “world renowned” fish tacos and then said goodbye for he was heading south and I north.
I had 28 miles to get to Bridgeport to get my wilderness permit. This took me 4 hitches and a few hours.
I then started the 13 mile walk up to the start of the Sierra High Route (SHR). About 30 minutes in a young couple gave me a ride to the trailhead.
A day of hitching! Now I could hike.
I found the right trail heading up Horse Creek and began the climb. About halfway up the trail disappointed and I began walking through scree and talus slopes.
As I went higher, the subalpine environment started to appear. Big bolders of granite were mixed in with the brittle metamorphic rocks. If this is what this trail is going to be like from start to finish, I will be one happy hiker.
As I was above treeline in this exposed gully, I saw a thunderstorm start to develope on the horizon. It was moving fast and I did not have a lot of time to find shelter. The best thing I could find was a low point tucked under some huge bolders.
I hid here for 20 minutes as the front past.
I climbed out after it passed and saw another front right behind it. I had a bit more time and backtracked down off the ridge to a lower elevation.
I ended up staying here for a long time. Three more fronts came through as I waited. So much for getting a few miles in to make up for my late start.
After 45 minutes without hearing lightning I set off again into the rain. It was raining hard but I could see some blue sky forming over the mount ahead of me. Within 20 minutes the reason had cleared and the sky was blue again.
I continued to follow Horse Creek up. Or I thought I did. I think I was following a stream created from the last couple of hours of rain. I looked at my maps confused for a couple of minutes until I worked out where I was.
I traversed a talus slip for about a 1/4 mile and I was back on track.
There were small snow patches on the way to Horse Pass, but they were either on a gentle slope or easily avoidable.
I reached the Pass and started making my way down the other side. I was now in a wide open valley with green grass and deer prancing around.
By this stage the sun was starting to set. It was only 7pm. Winter is coming!