We are at the front end of a backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, and things are lining up for a great adventure. Planning is important for trips like this, but so is a bit of luck. If we’d been here just a few weeks ago, the Oak Fire on the edge of the park would have smoked us out. But that fire has since given way to rain, and now blue skies.
We’ve lost a trip already this summer to fires, so we always try to stay flexible in our travels. And fires are the most frequent threat out west. Below are some pics from the Meadow Fire in Yosemite in 2014…thankfully not this year!
The weather looks good, we’re packed and organized, and we’ve got our permits…but let’s just see how it goes. Over the years, we’ve had trips moved or changed quite a bit–from wildfires (four times, including just last month), floods (twice), a bridge outage, fender benders, a blizzard, too much snow, not enough snow, extreme cold or heat, bad flying weather (many times), avalanches, high winds, a ferry closure, a ripped oil pan, a moose on the runway, and of course COVID. Oh, and a broken tooth.
Tonight we are in Mammoth Lakes. Tomorrow we head out to backpack to the North Rim, up past Tioga Pass. We’ll follow with another backpack later in the week to Cathedral Lakes. In between, we’ll join throngs of other tourists in the Valley. Nobody in their right mind would come all the way to Yosemite without seeing the Valley (hence the crowds).
The elevation here in Mammoth is nearly 8,000 feet, so hopefully this trip won’t be modified by hypoxia (although that might beat a broken tooth). But I feel more excited than light-headed. I always get jazzed about the unknown in front of me on a trip, even if it’s backpacking on established trails. Things never happen exactly as you plan on an adventure trip–and that’s kind of the point. If the outcome is certain, then it really isn’t an adventure.