BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

John Muir Trail Diary - day 0

       It's been almost two months now since I have completed the John Muir Trail (henceforth to be called the JMT) and I am now ready to start writing about my adventure detailing what I saw, experienced and felt as I hiked this magical wilderness.  The word magical keeps coming to mind so to describe what it was like out there I did a thesaurus search of that word and came up with these that also seem to fit well:  enchanting,entrancing, extraordinary, fascinating, magnetic, marvelous, miraculous, mysterious, mystic, mythical,spellbinding, spiritualistic, and wonderful.  During my hike, I did keep a journal and my plan for the next 21 days is to try to recapture the spirit of those words here and give you a sense of what it was like out there day by day.  Each day on the blog I will write about one day out on the trail and do my best to recreate for you with pictures, videos and words the places and I went and the highlights along the way.

View facing north from the top of Lembert Dome in Toulumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park

Day 0 - Friday, June 29th
June 29th, the day I load everything in the car, go pick up my friend, his stuff and drive to Yosemite National Park.  We set off from Las Vegas at about 9:00am and arrive at the park in Tuolumne Meadows, the start point of our hike, around 4:00pm just in time to scoop up one of the last campsites.  After all the planning, excitement and anticipation everything was falling in place and to finally be in the park with its crisp clean air, tall trees, granite cliffs, and clear flowing streams was magical.    We had some time left before nightfall, so off we grabbed the fishing rods to go explore the Lyle Fork which flows right past the campground.  Things look promising as we Cross a bridge over the stream, where we can look down and see some small fish.  After half an hour and not getting any action in the first location, we start walking upstream.  At this point the stream winds through a green grassy meadow with Lodgepole Pines studding its banks and we follow the dear tracks that parallel it.  My friend and I leapfrog each other trying different spots until he comes to a small waterfall that has created a pool and we can vividly see the fish swimming below as they hunt for food down there and on the surface.  In just a few minutes I have hooked my first Golden Trout of the trip. Not big, just a little over 6 inches, yet it already displays all its species glorious iridescent coloring with its deep red belly and light gold body spotted with dark olive spots which all shines brightly in the High Sierra’s famous brilliant sunlight.  John Muir himself called the Sierra Nevada’s , “the range of light.”

Lembert Dome

However, all afternoon my eyes have been going toward the tall grey granite cliff jutting up about 1000 feet out of the meadow less than a mile away.  I find out its name is Lembert Dome and I swear that it’s been calling out to me to climb it.  We still have an hour or so of sunlight left after we get back to camp so I change into my running gear, put on my running shoes and head out toward that towering rock.  Across the street a ranger is giving a nature talk to a small group and I interrupt them for a second to ask if there is a trail that leads to the top of the dome.  I quickly gather in the information and on the next beat I take-off making by best impression of a deer bounding into the woods as I hear one of the group members remark, “and there he goes.”  I feel as if I am gathering energy from the mountains as I head uphill on this forest trail with the soft earth of decaying pines and mulch beneath my feet.  Thinking I am unstoppable, bounding up the trail, I am suddenly stopped in my tracks as the forest has another surprise for me. 
The alpenglow reflection at sunset

 It’s the sight of Lembert Dome reflecting in a lake surrounded by pines trees.  With the sun going down now the lake is reflecting back a rainbow of reds and deep purples and I am forced by the wonder to stop and snap some pictures.  A deep sigh and I am off again, steadily climbing the woods up and around the back side of the dome.  Another mile down the trail, and I spot a large grey wolf looking animal to the left side of the trail. (I later find out that it had to have been a coyote because the park does not have any wolves, but it was gorgeous with its thick mat of hair.)  It stopped what it was doing took a couple of glances at me and ran off up the hill making my running look like a slow plodding trudge.  The animals all seem to move some effortlessly though this land blending with it seamlessly.  About 45 minutes and 3 miles from the campground, I begin to approach the rocky outcropping of the dome.  I am walking now because the terrain is getting steeper.  I pass a group of three hikers who came up earlier having a small picnic up there.  To get to the top of the dome actually requires climbing about 10 feet or so of cliff.  It’s not too steep, and there are lots of places to grab hold of but still I analyze the risk.  I look back and those hikers I passed are already leaving.  If I slip on the way up and get hurt I will probably be alone as it is getting late.  And the problem for me is usually not climbing up, but how do I get back down.  Yet Lembert keeps calling me and I gather my nerves and after a few minutes of climbing I am on top overlooking Tuolumne Meadows and its surrounding forest.  I tell myself that tomorrow is the day that the adventure begins and I will be hiking my way through all that I am now witnessing.  I take some video and pictures and head back to camp passing a small herd of deer grazing in the meadows as the sunsets.

Deer in Toulumne Meadow at sunset

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