Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tioga Lake Camp at Yosemite's Doorstep

You should go to Yosemite, she said. So we did...almost. And she was right.

View out the back door of the camper

The woman seemed to appear out of nowhere, but it soon became apparent she’d been lurking in the shrubbery while we were speaking to her husband back at Serrano camp in Big Bear Lake, as we were telling him how we wanted to avoid the heat and wondering aloud where we'd head next.

She was a messenger, and she discarded our concerns about the fire. Perfect time to go, said she.

It was.

We spent 2.5 days at Tioga Lake, on the doorstep to Yosemite, entering on the eastern road out of Lee Vining. You can savor Yosemite in so many ways, but not in full this trip--the main road through the park is closed a scant three miles from our location. So we nibbled around the edge, staying in place for two full days, hiking 7 rugged miles, having campfires, cocktails, cooking and eating, and watching people catch rainbow trout in this little paradise.

But first, we loaded up our on-board water tank from the pump. The tank holds 20 gallons and we've been camping for four nights.
We're sparing with water, but still the thirsty tank requires five pump fill-ups from our portable blue 5-gallon jug. (There's a hose that makes this easier, but the pump is too far away to connect it.)
Time for bacon and eggs. All this camping works body and soul. Then we stash all our food in the bear safe at our site.
 You'd be fined for leaving it out.

By late afternoon, a scrim of smoke from the big Yosemite fire miles away fills the sky, and while nothing daunting, turns our clear view into this. The wind patterns would continue this way for each of our three days there--clear as a bell in the morning and early afternoon and then the smoke.
A cool breeze blows as the sun sets. It could fall into the 40s tonight. Let's build a fire.
A fellow camper from Santa Cruz catches a rainbow trout. They're biting like crazy, he says.
Two German lads arrive in camp near sunset, on a 23-day holiday that started with their landing in Las Vegas and includes seeing the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and finally San Fran before the flight home. We all know the main road across Yosemite is closed just a few miles into the park. Undaunted, they ask if we thought they could still drive in and hike the glacier trail they had their hearts set on.

I'm so tired I am this/close to saying...


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