This trip was a bit ambitions to begin with. I found it in the same Sierra South book that I inherited from a fiend (with a pile of other books). The book actually recommended to do this route in 3 days. Mainly due to the exceptional scenery. But we don’t have this luxury. Plus, with a strong group we could easily make all that mileage – just 12 miles per day – and maybe even bag some peak. Or so I thought…
Friday, July 13
Starting in the evening from Bay Area, about 7PM. Stopped for dinner in a Thai place called Khoa Thai in Manteca, which turned out to be surprisingly good. After that it was a long winding drive through Yosemite. (sight) Good thing Google navigate took me to the shorter straight up old road as opposed to the winding new road. I stopped at the Tuolome overlook to stretch. It was dark, about midnight, no moon, and the milky way was gorgeous. Right after that spot I almost run into a black bear crossing the road. Nice looking healthy fat bear. He wasn’t in the hurry at all. Yuhua was so excited she was yelling like a little girl. She has some thing for the bears.
We got to the campground at around 2AM. Surprisingly it was occupied. WTF? Once I pull in some guy came up from a tent and was begging to let them satay. I was fine with that. There was plenty of space. He just had to pay a fine to the camp host for extra car. So that genius was looking for a place and since at around 1AM we still didn’t come he figured we would never come. I disappointed him greatly. On the other hand what was he thinking – don’t take what is not yours, campsite reservation in this case.
Saturday, July 14
Getting from basically sea level to 7900 ft and then hiking up to 10000 ft is a quite a fit, even for a set very strong people. In addition to that it was insanely hot and dry. So by the time we made it to our camping spot at around 5PM – Davis Lake – we were done (well, at least I was). Then the proposition to get up at 4AM to do the summit of Mt Davis didn’t look very appealing. Plus it was a bit cold. After dinner we just went offline at 9PM.
Saturday, July 15
Magda, who was the leader for this climbing section, decided to sleep in and got up at 5AM, right at sunrise. I was rather fresh and rested after 8h or off and on sleep. For some reason the weather turned to very warm at some point during the night. After fiery breakfast the four of us under the leadership of Magda set out to conquer the peak. It was fine gong up to the last part which was almost vertical. We struggled a bit. But without ropes or helmets it was not wise to continue (the biggest problem was to actually go down). So we declared that we came up higher than the next peak and went back.
The hike back to the car was exhaustive, mostly mentally. I just kept waiting for it to be over. It was hot, I was dehydrated and hungry. Swimming at the beautiful Gem lake didn’t help things. In addition to that I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back.