I took a break from posting for a week or so while backpack camping in Yosemite.
We went on an REI sponsored backpack adventure which began with one night at Tuolomne Meadows Backpackers camp to acclimatize to the altitude. We carried roughly 40 lb packs for several days at nearly 10,000 ft above sea level. We left from Cathedral Lakes Trailhead (around 8,560 ft) and hiked 3.5 miles on the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lake at about 9,500 ft where we camped the second night. The next morning, six miles up and over the Cathedral Pass (9,800 ft) to camp at Upper Sunrise Lake. Then the hike down to Tenaya Lake (about 4 miles) to catch the shuttle back to Lambert Dome picnic area.
Great trip! We went off the trail on purpose a few times to get the feel of navigating in pure wilderness. We practiced essential backpacking survival skills, tested our gear, learned how to filter water from a lake, how to use a map and compass, and learned what we really need and what to leave behind. Training for a few months paid off since we didn’t suffer any serious injuries. It wasn’t an easy trip. If we had not trained, I doubt I would have made it, considering my lingering injuries from being rear-ended in a car accident in January. We still had plenty of aches and pains, some brief stomach problems and some knarly muscle cramps, but nothing that kept us from continuing on.
There were, in 2011, over 4,098,000 visitors to the 747,956 acre national park. Of those 4+ million, over 53,000 were hikers. There were also at least 18 people who died in the park in 2011 according to the New York Times.
As far as the six cases of Hantavirus, five were staying in the new Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village. The new tents have a double wall and we heard that this allowed the deer mice to accumulate droppings there. With the cause of the problem identified, I expect they will make it safe again quickly.
After our trip, we healed most of our aches at the Yosemite Lodge. Due to a problem with our room, however, we were given a free upgrade to a cabin at the Ahwahnee on the second night. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II stayed at the Ahwahnee in 1983. Our room wasn’t the Queen’s room, but it had some nice touches like an extra large bath tub for soaking sore muscles and some live deer to greet us on the path.
The blogging of strange news from around the world will continue in a day or two after I catch up with my urban responsibilities.