Back on the trail, I feel much better. I’m in Yosemite now. It has a different feeling than the Southern Sierras. It’s like visiting a different neighborhood in the same city. Or, like the difference between Oakland and San Francisco or Williamsburg and Manhattan. The alpine Sierras are intense, technical, rugged, sublime, emotional, gripping and challenging. It’s on “11”. Yosemite, in contrast, tones all this down. It’s gentler, more accessible, and more “understandable” as a place. There are meadows – actual flat places, lakes with warm waters, and it happens to be wildflower season! Climbing to 10,000 feet is no longer a challenge and so the lower passes in this region seem simpler. The only thing(s) that is more difficult are the mosquitos. They are legion, they are relentless, and they make a person crazy. I want to bathe in DEET, though it barely deters them. I hike and swat and smell like sweat, sunblock and bug repellent. I stop to pee and fear for my lady parts. I’m telling you, it’s that bad.
When I arrive at Tuolumne Meadows (a general store, post office, and camping area), I get a cheeseburger, soda and a brownie. It’s drizzling (by Seattle standards). I have a resupply box at the post office that I don’t need yet. Michael, Tuolumne Meadow’s post person, has created an amazing and generous post-based fiefdom committed to hiker happiness. He lets hikers charge their gizmos, makes them hitching signs, and hands out garbage bags (aka pack covers). A true postal angel.
I forward my box to South Lake Tahoe and get back on the trail. I pass Soda Springs – sparkling water burbling from the ground, groups taking pack rides, and trail-side info panels.