Claire, Rae, Emilie, and I went to Yosemite for the weekend with the goal of hiking Clouds Rest from Tenaya Lake. We arrived Friday night and set up camp at Porcupine Flats. After a short but restful night we woke up before the sun to get to the trailhead with enough time to comfortably complete the 13 mile round trip before sun set as the days were getting shorter. The hike went smoothly, taking us through lush forests carpeted with wildflowers, past a beautiful alpine lake, through past burn scars, and eventually above the treeline to Clouds Rest where we were rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the park. We saw Half Dome from a new angle, with the valley behind it and the Mirror Lake valley beside it. Going back down was, as usual, more challenging for my and my knees and toes. This hike was nice since Claire had her friends to stay together with, and I could hike at my own pace by myself without having to worry.
After we all made it back, we drove to Tenaya Lake for a cold plunge. I only dipped my legs in, and despite a promise to all of us, Claire didn’t dunk past her waist either. We enjoyed homemade chili and cornbread around a campfire that evening, until we eventually turned in for the night. I was rudely awakened in the morning by a coyote going bezerk barking in the woods behind the campsite. We slowly packed up camp and drove to Tuolumne Meadows to check it out and taste the Soda Spring water before driving back home. We all stopped for lunch at Priest Station, whose obviously previously frozen burger patties and lack of in-stock beer didn’t impress me much.