Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 2: (mile 18- mile 33)

We drop continuously from Cathedral Lakes to Toulamne Meadows. We see cars at 3.5 miles – It makes it hard to focus on the journey at hand when you see civilization 10% into your trek, But we embrace it’s resources and top off with Joe and Eric’s staple, cheeseburger combo and double cheeseburger combo, respectively. Then we get the hell out of Dodge. We follow a wide stream continuously up a gorgeous meadow for the next 10-12 miles.

A guide and two rich clients on horses yell out some rules of yielding to horses on the trail. After yelling back a smart ass comment, The guide flipped his horse around so I am eye to eye with his horse and says in his thick western rancher accent, “I’ll take this horse right over the top of you, I’ve done it before.” As I feel around in my pocket for my knife, I realize that a 3” blade won't reach an artery on this massive beast, let alone reach the ranchers leg. Besides, my first rule of combat is – Don’t ever fight a cowboy. Conflict avoided. We walked away. We now lay by the river and cool off. While Riedner fishes redneck style (no casting involved) I cut my hair with the 1" scissors on a micra-leatherman - I am told I look like a gnarled squirrel., but it helped my head vent better.
Time perception: 1hour on trail = 1 day at office
Distance perception: 1 mile hiking = 50 miles driving (based on sensory experience)
We camp at the head of Lyell fork, big, meandering, beautiful. The meadow is a breeding ground for bears and bugs. We set up at dusk. We get up to fish and out from the forest runs 30 loose horses, charging for their freedom, equipped with cowbells. They roll around and play happy to not be carrying propane tanks up to one of Yosemite’s camps. I could finally sense the true identity of a horse, as a playful wandering creature, compared to the utlilitarian engines that we have come to now. The fishing is a great release. We cook 50 feet from the tents, and 30 seconds later a massive black bear is sniffing our gear. We scare it away with pots and rocks. Every noise we hear this night, we think is a bear trying to hump the tent.

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