Ansel at Tuolumne Meadows Store, Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Your classic High Sierra Trail Guide. Bill at Tuolumne Meadows Store.
PCT hiker "D Cup," and Drucker Family all resupplying at Tuolumne Meadows.

Ansel at Tuolumne Meadows Store,

PCT hiker "D Cup"enjoys resupplying while Drucker Family chills out after everyone backpacked to Tuolumne Meadows.

Bill at Tuolumne Meadows Store.



The Trails



Current Weather Conditions

Weather Notes
Northern High Sierras
Central High Sierras
Southern High Sierras


Gear List
Gettin Started
Testing yourself and your gear
Gear Reviews


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Part VI
Emigrant Wilderness across North Yosemite
Backpacking Trip

This is the End

Unique Experience
Tuolumne Meadows
Rest & Recovery
Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness and the
North Yosemite Backcountry





Trail Arts

The art of walking


Physical Preperation


Trail Skills

The trail
Off the trail
Camp skills





Photo Catagories
Trail Stories
Trail Culture
News and Science


Terms and Conditions of Use

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Trail Culture
in the
High Sierra
2010 2013 Trail

Tuolumne Meadows








maps index

Part VI
Backpacking Trail Culture
Tuolumne Meadow
Crossing Tuolumne Meadows approaching the Store, Post Office, and Grill.
Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Facilities

into or out

Tuolumne Meadows
Trail Options


Glen Aulin













The Southbound guide covering the PCT-JMT to Mount Whitney
is an empty shell only populated by good, but draft MAPS.
I"ll be continuing construction of the Southbound guide soon.

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows
The Backpacking Trip

North Yosemite Backcountry

End of the Trail
After backpacking down to Hetch Hetchy from Kennedy Meadows Pack Station (Index) we find ourselves at the ends of both the backpacking trail and the remote paved road to Hetch Hetchy from the quiet little resort town of Mather.

We stand the line between wilderness and civilization.

What Now?
The backpacking trip is over. Now we have to deal with getting back to "civilization," since our destination at Hetch Hetchy is fairly remote. But first we must ponder the question, "is heading back to "civilization" the correct move?"


I am hot, overheated, tired. We are pretty isolated here at the Hetch Hetchy Trailhead. The answer hinges on the choice between recovery and retreat. Regardless, we've got to get out of Hetch Hetchy. It is just too darn hot down here.

We can begin the hitch-hike back to civilization from here, but the strongest feeling I have is the need for a couple of days of rest, recovery, and recharge before doing anything else. Plus, I just want to cool off at this point in time. That requires elevation.

Tuolumne Meadows
It is hot down here at Hetch Hetchy. It is cool at Tuolumne Meadows. I am very tired, having been on the trail for 11 days on this trip so far. I can set up in the backpackers camp or rent a car campsite at Tuolumne Meadows for a day of cool rest and constant eating before returning to "civilization."

Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
Backpacker PCT-JMT Resupply Spot
Tuolumne Meadows
on the Trail Guide

Tuolumne Meadows
in the Past
Trail Culture
2010 ---- 2013

I find Tuolumne Meadows very entertaining every Summer.
Tuolumne Meadows becomes a crossroads and gathering place for PCT, TYT, JMT, and Tahoe to Whitney backpackers as soon as the trails open.

Before the rock is dry from Winter's snows we find an extensive climbing community informally popping up and centering itself at Tuolumne Meadows. Every year Tuolumne Meadows begins operation as a base where the climbing community meets and greets each other, eats, and makes their plans for the day's climbs, and meeting up after.

I am always amazed at the pleasure, information, and community climbers derive from talking about and sharing the experience afterward.

And, right now on July 18 of 2016 as I stand at Hetch Hetchy I know that Tuolumne Meadows will be in full operation as a resupply stop for Northbound PCT hikers and Southbound JMT hikers. The climbing community will be fully developed, and the car campgrounds will be full.

There will be steady streams of local backpackers starting and ending their trips in Tuolumne Meadows as well as long distance backpackers passing through.

Isolated Endings
Over the years I've come to accept that the demands of many backpacking trips requires beginning and ending in isolated locations. This can make arranging transportation to and from trips challenging, if not downright impossible.

Getting cars to both ends of such trips can be more trouble than advantage. Thus you see people like me hitch-hiking to and from isolated trailheads on the edge of wilderness.

My plan for long distance backpacking trips that end at remote locations far from my starting point is to leave no car at either end. Stashing cars so far apart in such remote locations is just too much trouble.
So I ride my thumb.

Thus I expect to end up in some isolated locations at the end of some of my backpacking trips. This trip ending at Hetch Hetchy is not so bad, as Yosemite has lots of traffic, compared to other isolated ending points.

Some trailheads on the Eastern Flank of the Sierra are so remote and unused that we cannot consider arriving at them to be the "end" of our trip. These isolated trailhead locations demand we carry the extra provisions to reach Highway 395 in the likely case we find there is nobody out there.

Lucky Hikers
Our options from remote trailheads are luck or hiking.
Either we are lucky to meet someone driving in & out, or we hike.

Departing Hetch Hetchy
Our somewhat isolated location on the Western edge of Yosemite at Hetch Hetchy Trailhead means that we will have to hitch-hike to Mather and on to Highway 120 via Evergreen Road to its intersection near Highway 120's entrance into Yosemite.

From there we will continue East up Highway 120 to Crane Flat where Highway 120 bends Northeast to Tuolumne Meadows and Big Oak Flat Road continues East climbing into Yosemite Valley.

Rest & Recovery Plan
That's the plan: From the end of the trip at Hetch Hetchy we will hitch-hike up to Highway 120 and on to Tuolumne Meadows. Our plan is to cool off, rest up, eat, and check out the PCT/JMT/TWT backpackers resupplying there, say hello to the cool folks who work there, and investigate the composition of the crazy climber culture that forms around Tuolumne Meadows every Summer.

Oh, and I hope to be able to talk to various visitors and tourists from around our country and the whole world who come to visit Tuolumne Meadows every Summer.

Tuolumne Meadows' various sub-cultures would be in full operation.

It took me a while to get a ride out of the rising heat at Hetch Hetchy, as there is not a whole lot of traffic down there. But not to worry, as folks who are in the mountains are much more likely to pick up hitch-hikers than folks in the city.

A few hours after arriving at the paved road to Hetch Hetchy I arrived at Tuolumne Meadows, where my adventure continued, but in a society that forms along the edge of wilderness each Summer, rather than deep in the wilderness itself.

Below we check out a thin sample of this year's activities at Tuolumne Meadows and review its classic services and characters.

Notes about Trail Culture

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Hetch Hetchy Roadmap

Road Map specifying locations of the endpoint of our backpacking trip to Hetch Hetchy in relation to Mather, Highway 120, Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows.

Also see the Tuolumne Meadows Road Map on the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River map page.

Out of Hetch Hetchy
I first got a short ride to Mather from a delightful young couple who managed to stuff me into their little compact car. My attempts to cool off at Mather were only partially successful.

Another short ride brought me to Highway 120 and up to the Yosemite Entrance Station.
There I stood for over an hour.

Nice Locals
Jenny at Tuolumne Meadows.

I was standing alongside Highway 120 where the incoming Eastbound traffic backs up approaching the Yosemite Entrance Station.

I was getting sneered at by about 40% of the slowly passing motorists, all of whom were displaying the various material and personal emblems of urban idiots. Another 40% of the passing traffic was ignoring me. About 20% were shrugging, indicating that their car's full load of people and camping supplies was already over capacity. I don't care.

I smile and wave at everyone. Especially the jackasses.

Then one of the nicest people in the world stopped and asked where I was going, then pulled over so I could stash my pack and myself in her delightfully air-conditioned car.

Jenny was heading back to Mammoth after visiting the Bay Area.

We had a delightful conversation covering a broad topography of subjects.

It's a Small World
After talking a while it turned out that we had people in common. Jenney was speaking about her boyfriend, and his name and previous job matched the name and location of a cool dude I know. Jenny's boyfriend Jamie had worked at Tuolumne Meadows the previous season. The previous backpacking season I met a cool dude, Jamie who worked at the store, had loaned me his phone so I could check-in with my sisteer as I hiked through. What a small and delightful world this was.

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A Hub
Climbing Culture & Life
Danielle and her self-contained climbing unit at Tuolumne Meadows during the Summer of 2016.

The Tuolumne Meadows Parking Lot
Meeting Danielle was an instant introduction tapping into the wide range of High Sierra and West Coast climbing culture that was centering itself in Tuolumne Meadows during the Summer of 2016.

Danielle is a dirtbag climber who is a hub of climbing culture.

These climbers compose a delightful, surprising, and unusual strata of folks. Danielle has the attribute of skilfull climbing combined with good intentions well applied that garners notice, recognition, and respect.

This type of personality brings together an eclectic constellation of personalities in the parking lot, on the rock face, and in the campground.

Danielle's heartfelt and realistic approach to climbing, to people, and to Nature Itself makes it easy for her to communicate will all types of climbers, backpackers, and Yosemite tourists and car campers.

A universal appeal.

Though a hard-core, self-described, "dirtbag" climber who's life appears dedicated to climbing, Danielle can talk to anyone.

I know a lot of dirtbag climbers who don't have the ability to universally communicate the sheer joy climbing brings to its disciples.

Danielle can.
She's a fantastic Ambassador of the joy and pleasure of
Climbing and its Unique Culture.

A hub in the wheel of this year's delightful climbing culture.

After my first night in the Backpackers Camp I spent my second and third nights at Tuolumne Meadows in two car campsites Danielle put together with her climbing friends and family, a random backpacker (me), and an international tourist (Yuval).

It was quite a time.

I was a backpacker spy in climber HQ.

"Secret Info:"

This is how to Live Life.

Notes on Climbing Culture

Tuolumne Meadows Resupply

Knotty Conversation
Danielle, Dianna, and Alex studying climbing knot problems and solutions.

Climbing Tech Discussion
Danielle, Dianna, and Alex discussing and studying climbing knot problems and solutions.

"Trifecta of Girls who talk a lot about positive things."

I find there are two things climbers do: They climb, and they talk about climbing. This may seem a bit narrow of a topic to the uninitiated. It is not. Though not a climber myself, I can see the timeless elements of classic experience and expression woven together in climber's conversations.

Climbers generally begin discussing a route from an emotional perspective, describing the emotion, the beauty, and the challenges of a route.

This emotional assessment is typically immediately shifted into a logical, scientific approach to examine every element of the challenges of the route and the required combination of physical skills and gear necessary to meet them.

Ka-bam! We've covered the emotional and logical dimensions of a reality.

Finally, comes the logistics of the route. Some routes at the end of desolate roads or trails require extra backpacking, camping, or car camping.

More than Climbing
Oh, climbers do other things than climb and talk about climbing.
They study climbing, train, and plan their next climbs.

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

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Camp Activities
Climbers Campsite in Tuolumne Meadows with assorted adopted tourists and backpackers.

Climbers Campsite in Tuolumne Meadows with assorted adopted tourists and backpackers.

Morning Coffee and Chill Out Time
L to R
Dianna on far Left, Alex with back to us, Danielle behind Alex, Yuval the international tourist, and the next Alex on the far Right edge of the image.

As my name is Alex also, we had THREE of us in one camp.

International Traveler
Yuval, a tourist in Yosemite.

Yuval, an international tourist in Yosemite.
Yuval was intrigued by, and determined to experience the beauty of Yosemite, both personally and with his camera.

There was a steady stream of very interesting international travelers moving through Tuolumne Meadows. Some were in rented RVs or cars, some were using YARTS to day-visit Tuolumne Meadows out of their Valley motel, and a whole lot were like Yuval, moving with his backpack from city, to country, to backcountry.

(See the Germ dudes in 2010, and another cool Germ in 2013.)

Thus we have a steady stream of really interesting "adventurers" who have donned the backpack to travel across oceans and continents so they can experience the grandure, the beauty, and the massive tourist crowds in the Valley. Most breakout to Tuolumne Meadows to get the "people to nature" ratio under control, and carry their backpacks to their real destinations along the Trails of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

That's Ruth, the mother of the female of the Three Alexes behind Yuval.

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Yosemite Campsite Society
Camping with a group of hardcore Tuolume Meadows Climbers.

Excellent conversation with a wide range of folks who's lives all circle around Natural Engagement.

Danielle smiling from beyond Alex the Female, Dianna seated. Alex's sister's back to us on the far Left side of the image, standing next to Alex.

Brick, out of Joshua Tree is standing on the furthest Right of the image, next to a very cool hard-core climbing dude who's name escapes me right now, and I cannot find it in my notes!

It will float to the top of my brain in its own good time.


Ok, all these folks are climbers. I'm just there to carry a camera.

I do like the "lifer" climbers, the climbing pirates of Yosemite.

PCT hikers Mover and Parker prepping Tuolumne Meadows resupply packages.

Mover and Parker, two PCT hikers considering exactly how to finish their resupply and make the transition back onto the Northbound PCT.

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Northbound on the PCT
Two PCT hikers moving North out of Tuolumne Meadows in July of 2016.
Hiking North Now.
Two PCT hikers moving North out of Tuolumne Meadows in July of 2016.

Austin and Hunter's crazy resupply from Mom in Tuolumne Meadows.

Austin and Hunter's crazy resupply from Mom in Tuolumne Meadows.

That's a bottle of Bosch & Loam contact cleaner.
She sent them fancy neckties and dress slacks.

See the necktie around Hunter's neck?
Formal dress wear was not at all what they were expecting in their resupply package.

Their minds were being blown with each weird item they pulled out of their
"Resupply from the Twilight Zone"

This was by far the strangest contents of any resupply I have ever seen.

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Parker and D Cup kicking it near the Drucker Family at the Tuolumne Meadows picnic tables.

Just Relaxing.

Parker and D Cup kicking it near the Drucker Family at the Tuolumne Meadows picnic tables.

The Tuolumne Meadows homeless dude and Lorax.

Just Relaxing MORE.

The Tuolumne Meadows homeless dude (L), and Lorax the PCT hiker (R).

This year we found an interesting addition to the backpacker trail culture at Tuolumne Meadows: A "homeless" dude.

Calling yourself a homeless dude in Yosemite is somewhat redundant. No one has a home in Yosemite, and most of the long distance PCT hikers have accepted Nature as their home for the duration.

That definition just does not fit in Yosemite's long distance backpacking culture, unless the person persists and insists on calling themselves, "homeless."

People may call backpackers "worthless," but backpacking is very hard work.
Here, maintaining a backpacker's definition of "homeless" is what takes work.

The "homeless dude" was not backpacking, he was doing no physical work, but he was working full time to maintain a psychological perspective of "homeless" that does not physically apply in Tuolumne Meadows. We are all homeless here. Home on the Range, bro...

The backpacking community, such as it was passing through, offered "homeless dude" the advice to, "Hit the Trail," to turn his homelessness into long wilderness travel. The climbers suggested climbing. Everyone suggested picking up little "gigs" to make money to hike & climb.

All the backpackers, climbers, and hikers encouraged him to join the outdoor activities, and find ways to fund a perpetual engagement with Nature.

This is where the "homelessness" revealed itself as the personal propensity towards drug abuse and laziness. I was just too beat and compromised to take him out on a 5 to 7 day "boot camp" backpacking trip to attempt to "straighten out" his misperceptions and misapplications of motivation, but I saw some such activity would be necessary to retrain this fool. He was incapable of escaping his own flaws, even when surrounded by the timeless beauty of Nature.

I do hope homeless dude was able to find some greater meaning for his life beyond simple self-gratification. He was close to the places where meaning is found, but you can't find what you can't see.

You can bring a horse to water...

The backpacking community was simultaneously offering support to homeless dude while part of that support was a good swift rhetorical "kick in the pants," encouraging him to seize the opportunity to engage Nature and clean out his spirit.

I hope homeless dude followed this advice, but I doubt he did.

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Northbound on the PCT
PCT hikers D Cup and Hazard hiking North out of Tuolumne Meadows.

PCT hikers D Cup and Hazard hiking North out of Tuolumne Meadows.

They continue their PCT adventure after a nice rest, recharge, and resupply at Tuolumne Meadows.

Drucker Family having an after-trip meal at Tuolumne Meadows.

The Drucker Family having an after-trip meal and card game at Tuolumne Meadows.

The Backpackers
Dan to the Left, Matilin to the Right, and Jackson on the far side of the table.
The Trip
They hiked 35 miles from White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows in three and a half days.

I observed very hot conditions which added to the challenges of this trip.

After Trip
Clean Up Activities
Every Summer day we find the PCT, JMT, and random local hikers and backpackers assembling at the picnic tables in front of the Tuolumne Meadows store and cafe. Most PCT hikers spend a night at Tuolumne Meadows, meaning they catch up with hikers ahead of them, while the hikers behind them catch up the next day, too.

These transitory trail reunions can get boisterous.

These picnic tables become "backpacker central" starting when the road and trails around Tuolumne Meadows first opens until they finally close at the end of the season. Virtually all backpackers starting and ending trips out of Tuolumne Meadows will find a reason to hang out at these picnic tables.

PCT hikers can get dulled to civil sensibilities by extended trail time.
Some can become a bit crude. A couple of PCT hikers were expounding very loudly, excitedly,
and obscenely about some obscure topic. Their verbiage was gross and very out of place considering the masses of little kids and young adults running around.

Toddlers, to Cub and Boy Scouts age ranges, up through young adulthood. There are lots of kids running around Tuolumne Meadows.

The PCT hikers were not attempting to be gross or disruptive, they had just lost the context of their environment, and forgotten they were surrounded by children. Their words were OK for adults in private society, but totally wrong for public display before herds of kids.

Up walks Mr. Drucker, pictured above, to the loud offending PCT hikers, saying something like,
"That's inappropriate language for the audience of children and everyone else here."
Mr. D had some choice words for the PCT hikers. He reminded them of their surroundings.

Mr Drucker focused the attention of the PCT hikers on their environment, and how they were seriously detracting from it. The PCT hikers instantly recognized their ignorance and apologized. They were truly ignorant of their effect, "having forgot themselves," and having no intention to offend they immediately self-censored their crude utterances, somewhat abashed at their lack of awareness of how they were presenting themselves and how they appeared to bystanders.

No harm, no foul.
Mr Drucker's observations and suggestions to the PCT hikers added to the civility and clarity of the picnic table social scene. After catching his attention with a few well-placed chants of, "Go Bears-Go Bears," I told him so, and thanked him for keeping the standards of backpacker trail culture to reasonable levels of behavior.

Mr Drucker is a stand-up guy, despite his loyalty to the wrong side of the Stanford-California rivalry.
Oh well. Nobody's perfect.

Go Bears.

Observing his positive contribution to the environment of the picnic tables, I decided a bear could do no less. My contribution as a backpacker would be to police up the picnic table area every few hours for the few days I was there. Backpackers were leaving bits of trash and scraps about, now another backpacker would clean them up before they blew away, or became a bigger problem.

I learned to clean up from Dave Yearian and Ansel. They always pick up scraps of trash when they hang out at the tables. I figured I should do no less.

Let's all inspire each other to better behavior, as did Mr. Drucker.

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Tuolumne Meadows Post Office
A Well-Oiled Machine

Tuolumne Meadows Resupply Facility

A small opening on the outside...
A small opening on the outside.

Reveals Extensive Internal Terrain
2016 Tuolumne Meadows Post Office staff.

Jeffery Ballard, Andrew Castle, and Michael Kochakji.
2016 Tuolumne Meadows Post Office crew.

Tuolumne Meadows Post Office
Resupply Information

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Tuolumne Meadows Store
A Well-Oiled Machine
In the Tuolumne Meadows Store

Tuolumne Meadows Store
Resupply Page

Ansel has come in from the cold
The Artist
Ansel, artist, observer, clerk at Tuolumne Meadows store, 2016

Some guys will do anything to stay at Tuolumne Meadows.

Ansel's long term love affair with the Sierra Nevada has found many expressions, finally drawing him to work on the edge of the wilderness itself at the Tuolumne Meadows Store.

I've observed Ansel hiking, writing, drawing, and hanging out at Tuolumne Meadows over the years. Well, he might as well get paid for it.

Writing: High Sierra Topix

We've hung out and talked with Ansel while hanging out at the picnic tables a few different times over the years. Now we've got to go to the store to see him.

2013 at Tuolumne Meadows

Another reflection of Ansel's love for the Sierra is seen through his art, a couple of examples hanging in the Tuolumne Meadows Store during 2016, below. See a few more on the

MarcSkor High Sierra Gallery

Ansel Art:
Ansel's High Sierra art on display at the Tuolumne Meadows Store.

Ansel's High Sierra art on display at the Tuolumne Meadows Store.

I had a hard time shooting this with the glare, but it was worth it to give some idea of the fine style Ansel represents the beauty of High Sierra reality.

Below: another shot with better lighting:

North Dome Yosemite Valley by markskor.

Markscor High Sierra Gallery North Dome.

MarcSkor High Sierra Gallery

Ansel Art:
A second piece of Ansel's High Sierra Art on display at Tuolumne Meadows.

A second piece of Ansel's High Sierra Art on display at Tuolumne Meadows.

I enjoyed this, having observed many High Sierra Sunsets.

Below: another shot with better size, perspective, and detail, but a bit of glare:

Yellow Sky over North Dome Yosemite by markskor.

Markscor High Sierra Gallery Yellow Sky over North Dome.

MarcSkor High Sierra Gallery

More about the TM Store:
Tuolumne Meadows Store
Resupply Page
Tuolumne Meadows
Trail Guide

Bill moving the hungry, thirsty line through the Tuolumne Meadows store.

Bill moving the hungry, thirsty line through the Tuolumne Meadows store.

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Tuolumne Meadows Grill
Resupply Page

A Hard Place to Work

Dominic working the Tuolumne Meadows Grill during 2016.

Dominic and the dude working the register were real chill. They maintained good perspective even when the line going out the door was three people thick, it was hot outside and even hotter inside, and the tourists were antsy.

I always tried to make their days better.

If a smile does not work, then a tip, "Thanks," and "Good Job," always helps!

Oh, and I insist they take tips, if I have to leave a couple of bucks on the counter when I depart.
A beer for the bros, that's what I say.

All the folks working at Tuolumne Meadows face some serious challenges from the working conditions that only other parts of the working conditions, being us "customers," can fix.

Be nice to the locals!

The new 2016 Tuolumne Meadows Cafe menu.

The new 2016 Tuolumne Meadows Cafe menu.

Check out more about the Tuolumne Meadows Cafe on the Resupply Page.

Tuolumne Meadows Menu
Prices Detailed

Breakfast Lunch

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Skeptical Look
Cool chick at Tuolumne Meadows Grill.

Cool chick at Tuolumne Meadows Grill.

She was exceedingly skeptical of my positive greetings each day. Eventually she seemed to figure out that I have no ulterior motives, that I am just naturally interactive, that I enjoy creating/sharing good experiences with the folks I encounter.

I almost got a whole smile out of her!

Personally, I would prefer wearing a smile than a frown. But I must defer to, and prefer that folks honestly express their perspectives rather than present fake smiles.

If honest expression is really our goal we must directly confront the aspects of reality that bring pain as well as pleasure, and be prepared to deal with both.


Tuolumne Meadows
Staff Culture

The Twilight Lounge, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite.

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Picnic Table
PCT Hikers

Parker and the shoe repair guy.

Parker and the shoe repair guy.

Parker is in the foreground.

The guy in the orange hat had a tube of shoe goo and was carefully repairing any PCT hiker's shoes or boots that were falling apart.

He would carefully bring all the tattered and torn scraps together, reinforce the torn seams, then seal it up under Shoe Goo.

He had lots of PCT customers.

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Interesting climber, John, ready for an extensive climbing scramble.

Interesting climber, John, ready after a good lunch for an extensive climbing scramble.

The Plan: Matthes Crest North to South, Cathedral Peak, and back.

His trip sounded like an aggressive loop requiring he hike to the far North end of Matthes Crest, where he would climb to its crest. Following Matthes Crest North to Cathedral Peak, which he would climb and descend before hiking back to Tuolumne Meadows.

His plan made me think he was going to drop down to Budd Lake from the top of Cathedral Peak for a cross-country scramble back to Tuolumne Meadows. I was essentially correct. Mr Robinson provides details:

Alex: Good to hear from you. My plan was to do the triple.
(Tanya Peak, Matthes Crest and Cathedral Peak).

I wanted to do them solo and without a rope, (many parties use ropes to do these objectives but I am comfortable soloing at that level).

I started at Tanya Lake, up Tanya Peak, then cross country passing just above Echo Lake to the South end of Matthes Crest. I then did the entire Matthes Crest traverse (many parties only go from the South end of Matthes Crest to the South summit and Rappel from there).
The north end of the traverse is the most interesting and difficult so I also wanted to include it. As I was descending Matthes Crest I took a bad tumble and hit on my kidney which caused a bunch of pain and I commenced to vomit. I went cross country (passing just west of Budd Lake to the base of Cathedral Peak.
When I got there, I decided it best not to expose myself to additional danger in my condition plus I wanted to get back to the Cathedral trail head before the shuttle stopped running to return me to Tanya Lake.
Turned out the shuttle had stopped but I was able to get a ride with some nice folks in a Jeep convertible. I only saw two other people on the entire traverse until I got to the trail from Cathedral to the trailhead. Even though I am 72 it seems I have the energy of a 21 year old. Maybe I'll get the triple next summer. It was good to share my chicken with you.
John Robinson

Notes on Climbing Culture

Tuolumne Meadows Topographic Map

Looking for the John Muir Trail to Yosemite Valley.

This dude was wandering about on the West end of the Tuolumne Meadows Car Campground looking for the John Muir Trail to Yosemite Valley.

Though most folks hike from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows we always find a few hiking the other direction.

This particluar example is Mark, from BC Canada.

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Kicking Back with Dianna,
Tito & Cruz in Tuolumne Meadows

A Very Pleasing Sunset
Kicking back with Dianna, Tito, and Cruz in Tuolumne Meadows as Sunset approaches.

Kicking back with Dianna, Tito, and Cruz in Tuolumne Meadows as Sunset approaches.

These climbers work at White Wolf. I figure it's to maintain deep contact with Yosemite's natural resources. Their favorite resource is rock. Steep rock faces...

On the Slab
Alex looking skeptical.

Alex looking skeptical. Alex had a big nasty split callus typical of the bad-cracking skin climbers experience.

Alex has a nice red van set up as a portable climber's campsite. Alex drives from climb to climb. For the past few days we've all chipped in to rent a couple of Tuolumne Meadows Campsites.

Danielle's other female "Alex" friend (another Alex, three now), arrived with her sister and mother, Ruth.

Our campsite and the surrounding Tuolumne Meadows and the mountains surrounding it were full of excellent folks when I departed on July 22nd of 2016.

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into or out

Tuolumne Meadows

Trail Options

Glen Aulin
Tuolumne Meadows



Tuolumne Meadows
Donohue Pass




Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite Valley



Last page: Tilden Lake to Hetch Hetchy             top of page                      Next page: Trail Guide Home Page

High Sierra
Trail & Trail Culture

Tuolumne Meadows

A Thin Slice of a very Big Pie





Experience at Tuolumne Meadows
Experience at Tuolumne Meadows is beyond the grasp of my individual perspective.
But, I can see the outlines of a wide range of deep experience many participants enjoy.

It is rich and fulfilling in many different ways to many different people.

That is the slice of experience I hope to make clear to draw you here.


Tuolumne Meadows Resupply

Yosemite Permits at Tuolumne Meadows

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Alex Wierbinski

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Frosted Backpack

Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to the High Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

Snug tent after Snow Storm
© Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail