Trials on Snowshoe

Just A Day, Trips
Cramped Up Yosemite Merced River Valley
New year, new…. activities? Sure, why not! That wasn’t exactly the plan. We’ve been wanting to try out snowshoeing for over a year now, but last winter’s extreme lack of snow, and our poor efforts to seek it out, resulted in a year-long delay. So for the first weekend of the year, after the Sierras have been appropriately dumped on for a couple months now, we decided to take our snowshoeing ambitions to the white mountains of Yosemite at Badger Pass.
Yosemite. A love-hate relationship. We love it for its beauty, its history, its ability to inspire a love of nature in anybody. We hate it for those three things, too, because they have an annoying ability to attract droves of tourists with selfie sticks. But the other glorious thing about Yosemite is the moment you go about a half mile away from any trailhead, you’re usually in relative solitude.
And that is what we found on our turned-out-to-be-too-short first snowshoeing trek. We explored the back-trails of Old Glacier Point Road and found deep, snowy trails, so insulated and quiet. Fresh snow all around, and small trails leading every which way. A decent climb led us to a view of the peaks surrounding us. And an expansive meadow turned out to be a perfect place for lunch.
We began our return trip, and found ourselves back at the car all too soon; and back in the Yosemite crowd madness. We were left wanting more. We had found something new; a new way to explore the backcountry that we loved, and that was exciting in itself. Next time we’ll just have to choose a longer trail…

Cramped Up snowshoe Old Glacier Point Rd 2

Cramped Up Yosemite Merced River winter 2

Cramped Up snowshoe meadow

Cramped Up snowshoe Old Glacier Point Rd

Cramped Up snowshoe meadow lunch

Cramped Up Yosemite Merced River winter

Cramped Up Yosemite Merced River winter valley

Cramped Up snowman

All photos in this post taken on a Canon Rebel SL-1.

Closed for the Winter: Yosemite High Country

Trips, Weekends

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls fly fishing

Hike to Glen Aulin Falls

Out and Back – 12 miles
Saturday – Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin – 6
Sunday – Back to Trail Head – 6
An abandoned high sierra camp and a picturesque waterfall gushing into oblivion.  It’s a quick trip, basically 6 miles each way leaving from Tuolumne Meadows, typically bustling with folks seeing all of the Yosemite high country that they can muster, but not so for us.  For us, this is basically the last weekend of high country backpacking with a weather system promising the rest of California some much needed rain and a good dump of snow at elevation, needless to say Tioga Pass will close.
We park down a dirt road off Tioga road, throw our packs on and get on trail right on schedule; knowing that the distance is short makes the journey light and easy, fun and we are generally excited to be hanging out with friends from the east side.  Making our way in, we don’t see a soul, one of Yosemite’s favorite trails and not one person do we pass heading in, it’s kind of remarkable.  Passing cascades, waterfalls, and iced over puddles, we all fall in love with the day, crisp and in the 60’s, sun out with some cartoon clouds to interrupt the blue expanse of the sky.
Glen Aulin leaves nothing to be desired.  A beautifully lonesome and quiet seasonal camp a couple weeks past it’s close date and now some great friends throwing lines into the water to try and nail one of those little Sierra Brook Trout to snack on before dinner.  As afternoon progresses, we laze about, basking in the sun as we know it will dip into the 30’s this evening.  The sun goes lower and lower until it disappears behind the wall of pine; its instantly cold and the small fire is the only source of heat for us now.  Snacking on our friend’s lucky catch while we wait for dinner to rehydrate, we sip red wine with a whiskey chaser and reflect on good times past, present, and future.
Dinner is backcountry chicken burritos, wrapped in foil, and thrown in the fire to get that extra heat and cheese melt; again we are thankful for a dehydrator back home and the leftover chicken carcass from last week. The night rolls through, the cold sneaks in, the whiskey warms, and voices get louder as the “cheers governor” games get belligerent.  Drown, stir, and off to sleep; warmth in a bag and a high country cool just kissing all of our faces.
Waking up, we linger in our bags, holding on to that last bit of heat until the need to pee is too much and we’ve got to get the day started and confront the cold of the outside as the sun meets the frost and warms the forest. Coffee to melt away the headache that the Turkey 101 birthed in the night and whatever is left for food to put in our stomaches.  Break down camp, pack it away, give it a stretch and make sure no T’s were L’d; we are off, marching from whence we came, up up up and along the trail this time passing a few folks out on a morning day hike in the Yosemite High Country.
A quick one out, and we are back at the car ready to head back to the city, refreshed and relaxed.  The ticket on the windshield could say otherwise, but fuck it.  Note to self: dirt roads off Tioga road are apparently still part of the Tioga Corridor on which there is no overnight parking allowed past 10/15.

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls Trail 2

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls Trail 5

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin fly fish flies

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls 6

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls fly casting

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls fish

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin brook trout

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls Trail 6

Cramped Up Yosemite Glen Aulin Falls Trail

Cramped Up Yosemite soda springs rd

Photos in this post taken on Canon Rebel SL1