Today we made our exit from the populated sections of Yosemite National Park and resumed our journey on the PCT. It was an easy day of hiking and we were able to make pretty good miles even with starting at 9am.
During lunch we were greeted by Allie, a Park Ranger. She asked where we came from and where we were going, and we returned the favor by asking her how she landed such a cool job. She told us she was an EMT, nurse, had gone to ranger school/training, and was also trained in law enforcement, and also worked in the Tetons prior to getting a job in Yosemite. Clearly I have some training to attend if I want to have such a job.
Just after lunch below Tuolumne Falls and the White Cascade, we ran into the worst section of mosquitos yet as we climbed up from Glen Aulin and toward our future creek crossings. I donned my bright orange makeshift bug pants and mosquito headnet and continued hiking relatively protected from the mozzies.
Once we got down into Virginia Canyon, the Mosquitos had abated, but we were on to our next obstacle: creek crossings. The first two crossings were virtually back to back. Jim Rick, Annie, 12 Ounce, and I used the group crossing technique to cross McCabe Creek, which worked wonderfully. We then hiked about a quarter mile up where we found a place to cross the infamous Return Creek. I was tempted to try jumping across from a rock on one side to a lower one on the other, but decided against it since there was a log just upstream. About 1/4 of the log was underwater with small surges occasionally pushing water over the top. We were all able to make it safely across by scooting our butts along the log to the other side.
The final crossing for the day was another mile up the trail, so we continued on, proud of our success thus far. Spiller Creek was the final test of the day, and by the looks of it was going to be the most difficult. Luckily Lovebird and his girlfriend had already crossed and pointed out a good place for us to cross as well. We crossed a narrow, but swift, channel to get to an island in the middle of the creek. We then proceeded upstream to the end of the island where we waded upstream another 10 yards and then made our way the rest of the way across in a wider but more shallow section. Phew! The only thing left to do at that point was hike up in the valley, away from the creek, and find a snow-free place to throw down our sleeping bags.
Tomorrow it's on to Piute Creek, which we will hopefully meet with the same success!
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