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Yosemite Trail Ride – Part II

...42 miles from Reds Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows

Day 6 (continued) – Reds Meadow to Gladys Lake
The second half of the Yosemite Trail Ride began at Reds Meadow, and three new people joined the group for the ride to Tuolumne. Rob joined the crew, and Jim and Pam joined as guests. After the mules were re-stocked we were on the trail again since we still had many miles to go until we made it to our campsite. On the way to Gladys Lake, which would serve as camp for the night, we rode past Devils Postpile National Monument and through a large thicket of mosquitoes. Like virtually any mountain lake in the Sierras, Gladys Lake was a beautiful resting spot for the night. And the lakes only got better as we continued to ride…

Day 7 – Gladys Lake to Rush Creek Meadow
This day of riding presented some amazing scenery in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, namely Garnet and Thousand Island Lakes. Additionally, our streak of dry weather and sunny skies ended this day, and the afternoon brought with it some heavy showers. Luckily everyone had rain jackets and the horses didn’t seem to mind continuing on towards camp at Rush Creek Meadow, which was the last meadow before crossing Donohue Pass into Yosemite.

Day 8 – Rush Creek Meadow to Lyell Canyon
Donohue Pass was a short two-mile ride from camp, and Mark and Rob left earlier than the guests to scope out the situation with the snow. As we neared the crest, we noticed that Mark and Rob were shoveling a path through the snow for the horses and the mules. When they were finished, Mark called over Mike, and Mike led us up the pass through the snow and down the other side. Fortunately there were no accidents, but there were definitely some questionable spots that presented some of the more difficult terrain thus far in the trail ride.

It was all downhill (literally) from Donohue Pass. We rode down into a valley called Lyell Canyon and setup camp for two nights at a stock campsite. The rain early in the evening was enunciated by the excellent ghost stories around the fire at night.

Day 9 – Day trip to Ireland Lake Junction
With nearly all of our riding done and only a few miles left to Tuolumne, this was a day for rest. After the previous evening’s downpour, the sun had returned and it was easy to enjoy the beauty of Lyell Canyon. I spent the morning fishing the small creek near camp, and during the afternoon we rode the horses to the Ireland Lake Trail Junction. The last evening of the trip brought with it an especially memorable sunset on the mountains and me trying my hand at taking photos of the stars.

Day 10 – Lyell Canyon to Tuolumne Meadows
As we rode into Tuolumne Meadows, it was clear that every step was bringing us closer to civilization, and the longest trip into the wilderness for me to date was coming to an end. Eventually we reached Hwy 120, which is the main road through the northern part of Yosemite. After crossing it and briefly stopping traffic, we reached the pack station in the park where we gathered our belongings, took some last photos with the horses, and caught the shuttle back to Rock Creek. With a final group photo in hand and promises to share our pictures, we all said our goodbyes and began our journeys home. Another trip to the Sierras was a great success.

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