San Francisco and Yosemite Diary
Saturday 11th to Wednesday 22nd October 2003

October 19th
Tuolomne Meadows

Decided it was time to get out of Yosemite Valley for a while, and explore some more of the park. I decided to head to Tuolomne Meadows and do some short trails along the way, perhaps even getting to Tioga Pass, Lee Vining and Mono Lake. I had heard good things about Bodie State Historic Park, an old Ghiost Town, but had no real expectation of getting that far.

It was hard to avoid stopping along the way. There was a great view of the entrance to the valley in the early morning light. Got as far as the Mariposa Stand of Sequioas, and decided I had to see some of the big trees. They were, in fact, a little disappointing. They didn't seem as big as I expected, the trails signs and guideposts were removed for upgrading, and I was very aware that by walking over the shallow roots of the trees, we were hastening their end.

I noticed the actor who played Roosevelt, and asked him a couple of questions. He was on his way back to Hawaii that night, but he was originally from Canada. We chatted about places we had been to and what was worth seeing there.

Entrance to Yosemite Valley
Giant Sequoia

Next I came to Siesta Lake. Never heard anything about it, but it was so pretty I had to stop and have a look. Continued on and saw a car pulled over, so I stopped to see what they were looking at. It was an impressive vista, looking out towards the Cloud's Rest ridge.

Siesta Lake
View of Cloud's Rest from highway turnout

Soon arrived at Olmsted Point, a fantastic bolder-strewn rocky outcrop with fantastic views of Cloud's Rest, leading to Half Dome in the distance. The Tenaya Canyon beneath was marked on my map as a very dangerous area for hiking. There were a lot of erratics - boulders left behind by receding glaciers - and quite a few Jeffry Pine, with the rough red bark which smells of vanilla.

Rocky Outcrop
Me beside Jeffry Pine
Vista from Olmsted Point

Drove on, stopping briefly to look at Tenaya Lake, to Tuolomne Meadows, which were actually a bit of a disappointment. I guess they are beautiful in spring, and a flat area at such an altitude (about 8,000 ft) is quite rare, but at this time of year they did little for me. Also, the visitors centre and gift shop were boarded up for the season, so I had no lunch, just some snacks I had brought with me.

Thought I would do the hike up Lembert Dome just beyond the meadows, as my last hike of the day, but when I got there I decided to go for Dog Lake instead, as I was tired and it seemed like an easier hike. I had not read my guide in enough detail, because the first part of the hike was quite steep uphill, but eventually it evened out and a vista of the lake appeared. Had my snack there, at 9,240 ft above see level. Recorded a bit of tape for Dad, then tried to walk around the lake. My guide said the far end was boggy, but this late in the season it was quite dry, making for an easy level hike, with views of distant mountains.

Tenaya Lake
Tuolomne Meadows
Dog Lake