Sunday, October 05, 2008

New moon trip to Yosemite (or, Yo Semite, shanah tovah!)

I know I said I was going to do catchup with all of our summer activities, but I'm still excited about our backpacking trip to Yosemite last weekend. We took Friday off and spent 3 days in the back country. Rich and I have always been somewhat reluctant to go to Yosemite because of the crowds, so we reserved our permit 6 months ago. However, we learned when we went to pick up the permit Friday morning that we would have had no problem getting one on the spot. We saw fewer people on the trail than we ever have on a backpacking trip, except for one rainy weekend in Lassen a few years back. We even went more than 24 hours without seeing a single other soul, which was definitely not what we expected.

We hiked north out of Tuolumne Meadows, about 8000 feet near the east end of the park. The trail was a semi-loop, and the way out was about 7.5 miles. We camped at the middle of the three Young Lakes (elev. 10,000 ft) at the base of Ragged Peak.

On day 2 we left our camp and hiked off-trail up to the top of an 11,000 foot ridge. We had meant to go up to a 12,000 foot peak (White Mountain) but I was getting light-headed at that elevation and didn't want to fall off the mountain.

On day 3 we headed back, finishing the loop (another 7 miles) with some spectacular views of the Cathedral range. On our hike home, we could see a storm gathering in the distance, as you can see by going to our full album here.

Overall, the weather was gorgeous - warm but not hot in the day and not too cold at night. We chose that particular weekend because of the new moon, and both nights we lay out in our sleeping bags looking at amazing stars. In the day and especially in the afternoon the fall light and the changing colors made everything golden.

And of course, this was that last new moon of the year, leading to Rosh Hashanah. Happy new year, Yo Semites! (as a Tshirt at the new Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF proclaims)