Yellowstone National Park

June  Aug 2007 Yellowstone 029
Yellowstone National Park August 25-September 2, 2007

August 24th, Nancy, June and Connie left Phoenix early.  Arrived at Ogden, Utah around 7PM.  Spent the night with Michelle and Steve, June’s daughter’s best friend.  Could not ask for a more gracious family! Wine and Pork Chop dinner!

August 25th arrived at Colter Bay Tent Cabins, Teton Park, around 4 PM. $46.00 a night for 3 of us.  The amenities are very simple just 4 bunk beds with thin mattress, potbelly stove, and a shelf.  Picnic table just outside with a wonderful view of the forest!  Shortly after preparing for the *****tail hour we were surprised by a neighbor telling us very quietly, “there’s a bear out here!”  We ran to the front of the tent to find a big bear right by our car!  Great photo opp!  He wasn’t interested in our *****tail snacks or us.  When we returned from dinner at the Colter Bay café we learned that another bear had come! One that had been tagged before, not good for the bear.


August 26th, Spent the day acclimating and viewing the park. Old Faithful was right on time.  Saw elk, deer, buffalo, and lots of squirrels.  $3.50 to take a shower.  Can rent towels and purchase soap.  Turned in our confirmation for our permit at the Back Country Office.  Watched a film on bear encounters and was blessed when they offered to lend us a can of bear spray with holder.


August 27th ate $10.95 breakfast buffet at Colter Bay Restaurant. Very Good! Lots of fruit.  Arrived at the trailhead around 10:30 AM.  Hiked 7.7 miles on the DeLacy Creek Trail, 80 degrees.  Arrived at 8R2 campsite 3:30PM.  We were met by Amanda and Jeff from the Forestry Dept. doing their job to study environmental impact at each of the area’s campsites.  Our campsite was beautiful!  Located on a cliff overlooking Shoshone Lake. The full moon rose over the hills located on the opposite side of the lake creating a dance on the lake.  Couldn’t have been anymore perfect!  As the moon rose and the forest became dark, Connie noticed a shadow go across the camp and squealed.  We tried to see what it was by turning on our flashlights.  Whatever it was didn’t like the 3 lights shining at it and began growling and screaming, Scary!  We turned off the flashlights and it calmed somewhat but began the screaming again when we turned the lights back on.  This was not going to be a very restful night.


August 28th, lazy AM as we only have 3.3 miles to 8R5 campsite.  The man at the Back Country Office told us that this is the most coveted site on the trip.  Rated 5* in the book. 8R5 is just a short distance to Shoshone Geyser Basin, (not counting the 12 mile hike after you leave the trail that goes back to the campsite.)  As we hiked we noticed an animal in a tree that was the same size and shape as the animal Connie had seen the night before so we took a picture.  Later at Shoshone Geyser Basin we ran into Amanda, the Forestry Dept. worker.  Showing her the picture she said that it was a Pine Martin and that it was very unusual to see one of these in day or night.  She also mentioned that she had seen cub bear tracks down by the lake that morning.  The Geyser Basin was very interesting.  Lots of features and saw one geyser go off.  Only shot up about 15′.  Spent the rest of the day on the beach by camp.  Saw Canadian geese and 2 cranes.  The night was very noisy!  Elk, male and female were talking to each other all night.  Ran by our tent too.


August 29th, up at 7 and down the trail by 9:10 AM.  40 degrees, 5.3 miles today.  Shortly after hiking through the Geyser Basin we saw Moose track, bear scant and a very unusual family.  One of the girls pack was 36 pounds not counting the guitar she was carrying.  Found out through conversation that the 3 kids are home schooled and they hike all over the country.  This 17 year old could also play the flute recorder and played an Irish jig for us. Check them out! Very interesting family.  Had a little trouble finding the trail by the creek crossing.  Trail gets very steep after leaving the lake.  Gained 300′ in very short distance. ”Real heart pounder”.  Got to camp around 2 PM. Beautiful! 8M2.  We all agreed that this one should be a 5* location.  Celebrated Nancy’s birthday with a bath, washed clothes, a campfire, balloons, candle, punching bags, Oreo & fig Newton cookies and Nancy’s favorite, Cheetos!  Had a contest with the punching bags, June won. Judy, who couldn’t come, supplied us with Straight Poop trivia for more entertainment. Coldest night! 30 degrees! Ice water bottles


August 30th, 5.5 miles today to 8S1 campsite.  Nice hike.  Crossed Lewis River Channel with light rain but without incident.  Camp is super!  Right by the Lake complete with an actual out-house.  We all agreed that the out-boxes were better as they didn’t stink. Located next to camp was the Forestry Dept. cabin.  Jeff was there but we only saw him when he went into the lake for a fast bath.  Super cold water.  Evening brought us several deer.  They let you get real close to them.  The sunset was the best ever. Heard elk all night.


August 31st, woke to light rain, 6 AM. 7.6 miles today.  Cold breakfast & coffee.  Left camp at 8 AM.  Stayed cloudy all day which gave the hike more ambience.  Saw an owl and a male & female sage grouse. Cute!  Arrived at car about 12:30 PM.  We had placed all our food snack items in the trunk of the car because we were told not to leave anything in sight as the bear can recognize them.  Maybe so, but the mice seem to be able to smell food in the trunk and had ate holes in every bag!  Nothing is safe.  Returned to the Back Country Office to return the Bear Spray.  Stopped back at Colter Bay for a shower.  As we left Grand Teton Park we saw a Moose in the creek and a Red Fox.
Got to Jackson Hole around 5PM.  Had drinks and dinner with Monte, June’s friends.  He was with his wife Kay and 3 friends.  Had drinks at Cutty’s and dinner at Sidewinders. Recommend both places.  Checked in at Antler Inn.  Had sauna and hot tub but we didn’t know it till the next morning.  Walked all over town, ice cream and fudge!


September 1st, up at 6AM.  Breakfast at Teton Steakhouse, good fruit again.  Walked through Farmer’s Market.  Most beautiful fruits and veggies I’ve ever seen.  Bought some berries and snow peas for later.  Left for Richfield, Utah around 10:30 AM.  Shortly after leaving we had a detour that took us through some back country and what a surprise to find a rancher trying to round up his cattle right on the road.  Fall colors were beginning to turn.  Osprey nest right outside of Jackson!  Lots of beautiful scenery.  Arrived at Hampton Hotel in Richfield around 7 Great room!  Walked to KFC for chicken to go with fruits and veggies from Farmer’s Mkt.  Along with wine, yummy!  Took advantage of hot whirlpool for 20 minutes to help the sore muscles.  Lights out 11 PM.


September 2nd, up at 6AM to a hot breakfast supplied with hotel room.  $89.00 for room, whirlpool and breakfast through AAA.  Great deal!  On the road by 7:30AM.  Only strange thing on the way home, Manikins sitting in Police cars at both ends of town in Mt. Carmel.  Did slow us down.

AZT Four Peaks

4 peaks 017

judy writes

Four Peaks 5-8 2007 thru 5-11-2007


Picked up Connie at 8:30am Tues, made it to Rd 143 off of HWY 87 in good time. We did a lot of stop N go do to the great cactus & flower blooming heading up to the peaks. To my amazement the road was excellent. Even a car passed us going up
We made it to Lone Saddle Trail head in great time & found our camp spot for the next 2 nights with a perfect view of Roosevelt Lake & firewood at our campsite. By 11:30a.m. We had our tent set up & hit the road to find the North end of AZT going towards Sunflower, It took us 3X’s longer as the wildflower display just kept getting better on Rd 143 then on to FR422. Just past the El Oso mine we came a cross the funniest white tail deer that thought we could not see him (check out the pic’s) The AZT book was good & found trail 73 in the middle of no where, not much of a place to park the jeep. You can drive almost 11 miles of the Azt before it goes cross-country. We only hiked up .5 miles on this trail & found out it will be a challenge do to the terrain, very rocky, & cat claw everywhere, long pants a must & gaitors would not be a bad idea. A good hike for Nov if not Dec & start early, make sure maps & GPS near by as the trail is rough, overgrown in spots making carins hard to find.
            Time we got back to camp it was 5p.m., nice that it does not get dark till at least 8p.m. Had a bit of wine, I had rice & meatloaf that I warmed up over the fire. I had got up at 4:00a.m. So ready for bed by 9p.m. Connie stayed up to let the fire burn down. Slept good, a bit warm 52 degrees when I woke up. A car went by a 6a.m. to my surprise, but we were well hidden that know one knew we were there. By the time we had breakfast we got going by 8:15a.m. For a great hike from Pigeon springs to an unknown saddle 3.5 miles in to where Connie carried a gal of water to cache. The springs had water in them which was Pigeon, Bear, & Shake Spring.  The scenery was breath taking at times with the Roosevelt Lake in the back ground, large Ponderosa Pine & a great trail, again to my surprise.  We are hoping to do this hike in Oct/Nov. We cached our water, logged the location with the GPS, took pic’s, & headed back, as it was getting warm. Connie was back stepping real fast when we came up on a black rattlesnake (not Blacktail), I counted 12 buttons & it was coiled at least 3 times. It was not a happy camper. I did my best to convince him we were not there to hurt him we just need to get by on the trail, which we did accomplish (Check out the web’s pic of him). Not sure why we did make it make back in such good time as once we got to camp we had nats that loved our sweat!  Now I know why I see those funny looking hats in magazines with net around them. Found a knife, picked up a couple of nice rocks for Possum’s souvenirs. Supper was sausage, grilled zucchini, with the rest of my wine.

  5-10   54 degrees, again a warm night. We picked up camp, & left over’s from other campers & hit the road by 8:30a.m. Towards Roosevelt Lake to cache water from the east end. Oh, my what a difference in the terrain, but we did see many cactus in bloom. We drove up road 445 to Mills Ridge Trailhead about 5 miles. Hiked in 1 miles & cached water, it was about 100 degrees, so very warm. Terrain straight up about a 1,000 ft in a mile to 1 ½ miles. I was glad to see we would be coming down that very rocky & dry trail. We felt we needed to cache more water so at the trailhead we cached about 3 more gals. Made good time going home about 2 hrs from Hooker restaurant down the road from Punkin Center. ” 

Seventy miles of Arizona Trail through the Mazatzal Mountains

Seventy miles of Arizona Trail through the Mazatzal Mountains April 19 through April 28, 2006
Day 1 & 2:   Twin Butte to Polk Springs, 11.2 miles           Started at trail #14, located outside of Strawberry, AZ.  Crossed White Rock Mesa which looked like skulls due to all the white rock with holes.  Scrabble Rock got it’s name due to the rocky terrain. At White Rock Springs discovered small wooden water trough with plenty of birds, water and wildflowers.  ***Beware to take correct path towards Polle Mesa.

Found Indian pottery in this area.  At approximately 10 miles there is a very steep rocky, ankle twisting, (once upon a time a road) trail leading to our campsite which is Polk Springs.  Great camp!  Lots of birds, Thermal water, watercress, shade, fire ring with logs around to sit on. **Look out for Chiggers and no see-ums nats.  Bring bug repellant! We used biodegradable soap, that we did not wash off on our bites and that eased the itch! (Spent 2nd day resting a exploring the area.  No need to rush because we would be waiting for Nancy to show up at next campsite)            Today was a leisurely warm day Discovered Peach, Fig, Apple and Walnuts trees!  Area had many kinds of birds, Hooded Oriole, Fly Catchers, Verdio, Red-faced Warbler, Ducks, and Herons.   Day 3:  Polk Springs to City Creek Trailhead, 7.5 miles           Hiked by LF Ranch.  Beautiful area with many Vultures airing out their wings in a dead tree. Yikes!  Using FR406 towards City Creek Trlhd. Met up with Nancy who was being dropped off by David.  Last beer and chips for 7 more days.  Camped near the East Verde River with croaking frogs and lots of bugs with possible sick bat flying around during the day.   Day 4:  City Creek Trlhd. To “The Park” 9.5 miles           First 6 miles to the Mazatzal Divide was straight up!  Very strenuous! Meanwhile, lots of wildflowers and vultures playing in the wind.  The next 3.5 miles, due to the forest fire of 2004, had beautiful views, no animals but getting cooler at 6,300’ elevation, we could see Flagstaff in the distance.  The camp was really nice but water was ¼ mile away.  To our surprise while getting water on Mineral Creek, we met up with the only two other people with saw on this trip.  They were miners looking for “color” in the creek.  No fire due to the wind conditions.           Walkie-talkies were a good idea if they run on batteries. Turn off when not in use to reserve power.   Day 5:  “The Park” to Horse Camp Seep, 5.25 miles           Good skills in GPS and map reading essential in this area!  All signs were burnt.  Only marker we found was a burnt post with a horseshoe hanging.            The trail became more and more difficult with most of it was burnt out.  There were 3 areas that were completely washed out from erosion.  Had to lower backpacks to the bottom and then find a way for us to get to the other side.  Footing was very unstable.  Connie fell down hard here and we were surprised that she only bruised her leg. But low and behold her new Titanium Pot saved her butt!           ****No good camping or water at Hopi Springs due to the 2004 fire.           Reached lovely Horse Camp Seep by 2:00 pm.  Had time to wash all our clothes, soak feet and relax for the afternoon.  The day was filled with lots of scenery. Mount Humphrey with snowcaps to the North and the Superstitions to the south.  Noticed Bobcat prints in the area.  Again, no fire due to the windy conditions.   Day 6 & 7:  Horse Camp Seep to Bear Springs, 9.25 miles           The trail gets steeper and deeper into the burn.  Just when we thought we were at the top we would have another steeper mountain to climb.  (Do not take Chilson Camp Trl.)  Close to this junction, was the last water source we had in this area for another 7 miles.  We hiked right under the Mazatzal Peak.  From Fisher Saddle we could see Gisela to the East and the Bradshaw Mountains to the West.  **Beware of the steep switchbacks after the first two steep declines.  The whole area is washed away here and very difficult to maneuver down.  Again required GPS/mapping skills to find the trail.  Lowering backpacks were necessary again. Reached Bear Springs around 3:00 pm.  Not as nice as Horse Camp Seep.  Water was .2 miles away (South) in a “rock, well type” spring.  This is the first time we were able to have an evening fire since Nancy joined us.  Day 7 was spent doing whatever we wanted.  Nancy did her beading, Judy did some trail maintenance and Connie read.  Judy also carved a stick with our logo, “” and wired it to a burnt post.   Day 8:  Bear Springs, past Mount Peeley to Thatcher Springs, 10 miles            Magnificent views at the Saddle, One side Mazatzal Peak, the other side Weaver’s Needle and 4 Peaks.  Most of the trail was on a ridge and parts were very brushy.  Saw a Big Horn Sheep on Sheep Mountain.  How ironic!            Finally got out of the “forest of death” and saw lots of baby pine trees and Hedge Hog in bloom.  Made good time to Mount Peeley where we had cashed 4 gallons of water the month before.  To our shock, critters had bit holes at the bottom of each gallon leaving us with only 3 qts. of maybe, uncontaminated water.  Oh &*#^!!!!!!! After a prayer we checked the map and decided to hike to Thicket Springs, one more mile.  After scouting we found running water but no campsite.  Middle of the trail became home for the night due to the thick vegetation.  Hung our food bag high in a tree.  This really looked like bear country.    Day 9:  Thatcher Springs, past Mormon Grove, to Marion Springs Jct.: 7.5 miles           Past lots of Manzanita and Pines, possible silver mine and running streams.  Stopped off at McFarland Canyon for a break and found the McFarland Mine.  What a find!            From here it was straight up where we found the turnoff to the Story Mine.  Had lunch at Potato Patch that was an open meadow.  Made good time to Mormon Grove Jct. Where we had cached snacks, water and trail ale.  Life’s Good!  This was not a good campsite because of lack of water.  Continued on to Marion Springs Jct. Thinking we could wash and soak our feet.  However, there were only a couple of puddles and was quite a distance from our campsite.            A storm started to roll in and looked quite threatening but only got a few sprinkles.  Tried to get a cell site to call Ronnie to come one day early but none available.  Spent the evening inside the tent playing cards.   Day 10:  Marion Springs to Cross F Trailhead, 4 miles           Woke this morning to light rain.  Strange that we could pick up a cell site to call Ronnie.  Started out about 11:00 a.m. Hiked through a beautiful riparian area called Cats Springs.  Lots of Sycamore trees, wildflowers-Paint Brush, Columbine, Lupine and many others.            Reached Cross F Trailhead by 1:30pm and Ronnie finally found us at 3:30.  Yeh! Salty Chips and Beer and clean clothes….Life’s Good Again.  Ronnie treated us at Red Robin Restaurant in Scottsdale for lunch.  Got home around 6:30 pm.   NOTES:  We are approximately half way through the Arizona Trail at this point!  Check next hike:  Yosemite, High Sierra-Hut to Hut to Hut!

Blue Ridge Resv to Pine Trailhead hike


judy writes Blue Ridge Resv to Pine Trailhead hike  

35 miles 4-14 thru 4-17 2007                                   

Drove Blue Ridge to Allen Lake 30 miles 4-18 2007   Connie, Nancy & Judy  

Had a great system worked out with 1 car at Pine Trailhead,
drove to the top of Blue Resv, & started hiking at 11a. Nice
trail out of Rock Crossing, a bit rocky going to East Clear Creek
but a great day, weather perfect. Antisapating snow & rain the
next day I wore my sportstiva boots, that with the 1st 4 miles
I developed a great blister, along with falling a couple of days Prior, made me look like hop a Long Cassidy. My first time I felt like my hiking poles paid off. E. Clear Creek had water in it, a few small tree’s down, but most of the trail was great. Followed a old dirt road part of the way, which made it an easy Section & with a blister was glad of that. We stopped at Box Canyon 8 miles around 3:30p. A great place to camp with sandy beach, trees for bear bag, & plenty of fire wood. We have switched over to tablets to purify water, which made Nancy happy as she was our pump gal. Connie still is not Satisfied with the taste, so anytime she can boil she does.  Wind died down to have a nice campfire, food was smoked Pasta dish & trail ale. We heard some type of animal that Made a loud scream, I thought maybe a female elk, Nancy thought Mt Lion, & Connie a rabbit, we will never know. Tried out a new sleeping bag – REI Sub Kilo 15, not sure I like it as it got to 35 digress & felt draft.
4-15 Got started at 9am, made good time to General SpringsCabin, a beautiful area that we hiked thru (near FR 300) Very windy, so girls went into cabin as I sat outside & changed  out socks & tape on blisters. History was abundant in this area, concerning the Battle Big Dry Wash,  Apache Indians, General Crook, etc. As we continued hiking south, we past the Battle Big Dry Wash marker, & started a very steep, rocky decline past the “tunnel”, which we decided we would check out at a different time.   Found the head waters of E. Verde River, past aqueducts,& many springs. Reached Washington Camp but did not stopas cabins in area. We are now on the Highland Trail for the next 17 miles. We past the gaging station, & beautiful cabins in the area, lots of ups & downs, & also getting into the burn area. Chase Creek had water, but past this location up thinking N. Sycamore would be a better location. 10 miles & at 4:15pWe reached our evening stay. Chase now looked a lot better!Wild pansy’s by the creek & evidence elk all thru the area. Nancy was extremely tired & got the chills, so we let her Rest as Connie & I got a nice camp in order. No trailAle tonight as we were to tired to enjoy. Beans, tortilla’s, cheese Hot sauce was the evening meal. 28 degrees sleep ok, but realized  The cool air was coming thru the zipper, the baffle would rollBack every time I turned.
4-16 Did my morning duty’s & got a fire & coffee going for the girls by 6am.  Saw a Painted Red Start had not seen one in over a yr.  We started out at 9a, we decided to make this an easy day, so we Hiked till 12:30 & stopped off at Weber Creek outside of Geronomo Camp, 4.5 mi. A lovely spot with a fire ring, & plenty of trees’s & water. Washed clothes, bathed, hot tea with trail ale, some beaded, Others took a nap or journeyed. 67 degrees for the high & a Least 6 Painted Redstarts flittering around. Low 39 degrees.
4-17 Warmer a.m. plus a long day as book said strenuous. Our earlier start was 8:45a, hum?  Was hiking out of the burn Area, so was continuing to get green, & scenery we could see for Miles. We resupplied water at Pine Springs,but trough full ofLeaves, & tank had only about 2’’ in it.  ConnieFound the spider plant that she had read about, which had many Spiders all over it & I got a boot full of mud. About a ½ mile farther was red Rock Springs that had a great trough over flowing & nice campsite near by. Started to see Robins, abundance of spring flowers. The last 2 ½ miles Was very steep, switchbacks & rocky till you get to the bottom & become a great day hike/picnic area. Made to the truck by 2:30p with a cold beer waiting for us. 7.6 miles. Great lunch at the strawberry Lodge, I would recommend. After a car camp at Blue Ridge Resv we drove the next 30 miles on dirt road highly recommend the Coconino National Forest Map & Gps. Do to so many roads criss crossing & signs down it’s essential to have at least 1 if not both. Saw lots of Elk & deer herds along with squirrels, wildflowers & plenty of dirt tanks with water in them.  Sharp rock gauged the side of my tire so the 1st time for all of us to change a tire, with one person reading the manual & the other 2 changing we were done in about 30 minutes. We were well prepared in case we had trouble with backpacks & plenty of water. Made it back to Phoenix in less than 3 hrs.”

Superstition Hike


Superstition Hike
2-2-2007 54 degrees Groundhog Day (He did not see his shadow)

Connie, Nancy & Judy started hiking at 11am on trail 104 Dutchmen’s Trail to Bluff Springs 6 miles.  ¾ of this trail is uphill so a good work out & beautiful scenery, passing Miners Needle. Arrived at 2:30p & made up a nice camp near the spring that has spring water trickling out of a pipe. We went lighter than normal, leaving our water filter at home & just taking purified tablets. Along with this Judy left her air mattress at home, & Connie bringing the wrong fuel. We worked around it by laying a layer of clothes underneath & cooking off of the fire. It got down to 31 degrees.

2-3 Decided to have a leisurely am so left at 11 still on trail 104 towards La Barge Canyon. About 2 ½ miles found beautiful campsites & water running into a trough. Stopped off at Charlebois Spring for lunch. Again the spring was running in the trough, at both locations no water in creek. The day was warmer in the 70’s. As we passed Marsh Valley we saw no water. We continued pass Black Top Mesa towards Terrapin Pass. We decided due that water not running in the creeks prior we would go on to East Boulder Creek to camp. A lovely camping area with nice trees in area. But again water was scare. Walked about 2/10 of a mile down creek before finding water in potholes, it was doable. 8-mile day got down to high 40’s.

2-4 A day to lay around, read, bead, & journal. In the low 70’s.

2-5 Woke up in the 50’s 6a.m. Started to get ready early due to the long upward stretch pass Weaver’s Needle & over Fremont Saddle. Left camp at 7:30a.m. in the shade for a couple of hours. Beautiful day but warming up. Reached Fremont Saddle in 3 ½ hrs time for lunch, along many other people up there. Started down an came across a dog that looked like he was heat stressed, & a man that had fell & busted his head open with lots of blood around. Reached the trailhead at 12:30 with refreshments a waiting. After putting clean shirts over dirty bodies & croc’s on we headed to get real food. A hot day in mid 80’s 6 ½ miles

Great trip, would have liked to have my therma rest, & more water running in the creeks. Heard owls hooting each night & lots of quail & other birds but no animals other than tracks.



Connie writes “

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK   August 13-19, 2006

 The Hiken Girls took a hiking trip to Yosemite during August 2006.  I’m thankful to say that all went very well!  We took 7 days for the entire trip, August 13-19.  We could have completed it in 6 but we decided to take time to become accustom to the altitude change.  Went through Delaware National Companies for our reservations to hike the “High Sierra Camps.”  The staff in Yosemite Valley seemed very confused when we used the term “hut to hut to hut”.  Phone number 559-252-4848 got our reservations in 2004.  (See end of story for other web sites.)  Our trip was to happen in 2005, however, it was snowed in and the trip was cancelled by DNC.  Most of the people in our camps had the same experience.  Here is a “journal” and pictures of our trip.

August 13, 2006
            Leaving Phoenix at 6:30 am we arrived in Fresno at 4:30 pm.  Found a screaming deal at Days Inn located on Parkview Rd. just off the highway.  The room had 3 queen size beds to accommodate all 5 of us.  Using an AAA discount number we got the room for $95.00!


August 14, 2006
            We left Fresno after breakfast at Denny’s located in the same parking lot with Days Inn.  Our waiter was very attentive and was very friendly.
            Upon arriving at Yosemite National Park we headed to Wawona Hotel and took a shuttle bus to Mariposa Grove, Sequoia National Park.  Taking a tram through the park cost $16.00.  Well worth the cost!  Sequoia trees are just phenomenal!  FYI The pinecones need fire to open so the seeds can spread!  Some of the huge Sequoia trees have burnt places on them half way up the bark.
After the tour we arrived in Curry Village. What a shock!  People everywhere and nowhere to park!  Curry Village is the place locals come for short vacations.  There was a line 20 people deep to get a pizza!  Next time we will consider White Wolf Lodge.  Our living quarters for the night was a tent-cabin.  Came with a table, 4 twin beds, sheets, pillow, blankets (all was clean but we had to make our own bed) and candles for light. Very comfortable!  Of course, beer, wine, and gin & tonic would make anywhere comfortable.  The evening cooled off very quickly after the sun went down.  It was mandatory to put our ice chest and other food items in a bear box.


August 15, 2006
            Up early this morning to get a bite of breakfast at the Coffee Shop.  This is the only eatery open at 6:00am. in Curry Village.
Afterward, we stood in line by the office to get our one-way ticket to Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. The cost for the shuttle was $14.50.  The bus comes at 8:00 am.  The scenery was spectacular!  Went by Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Village Hotel, several lakes and lots of “post-cards pictures” to see.  We arrived at 11:00 am.  Elevation at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is 8,500’. The cabin-tents were the same as in Curry Village, very cute and adequate.  Each one came with 4 twin size beds (beds were made up fresh when we arrived), table, potbelly stove, wood, and candles for lighting. Restrooms and showers with hot water were available.
With the rest of the day to relax and get accustom to the altitude we filled out postcards, played crossword puzzles and took pictures of the river that runs right by the Lodge.
Dinner was rather pricey!  Trout dinner was $17.95 and glass of house wine was $6.50.  Hamburger, which was very large and lots of accompaniments was $13.95.
The Lodge Store had several items for sale such as snacks, T-shirts, sweatshirts, candy, postcards and trinkets, etc.  You can buy wine and beer all day.
In the evening there were 2 bonfires.  One for the guest to relax and another that was put on by a Park Ranger.  We chose the Ranger for the evening.  Found out that you can hike with her/him as a group and do a long loop hike, around 60 miles.  She prepared all her followers with information about what to expect.  There is a cost for this but we didn’t hear what it was.


August 16, 2006
            We all awoke the next morning around 6:30 am.  Breakfast was all the traditional selections at the Lodge. There was no need to hurry as we only had 7.8 miles to hike for the day. Our elevation gain would be 1,800’ over the eight miles.  No problem…..We finally got started hiking around 9:30 am.  The uphill would not have been too much of a problem had it not been at such a high altitude!  There was still snow on the mountain that we walked towards all day.  We all could feel our chests getting heavy from the lack of oxygen.
Arrived at Vogelsang Lodge at 2:30 pm.  The Lodge had very little to offer as far as snacks or anything else.  No beer, wine, or showers.  They did have free lemon-aid for anyone who wanted some. Toilets were a hole in the ground over a toilet.  Sinks had running water. Yipee!!!!
We took a .01 mile hike to Fletchers Lake. The water was cold but felt wonderful to soak our feet.  The water in the creeks and lakes at this location were ok to drink.
Getting settled in our tent-cabin was a little different.  We were responsible for bringing our own sheets or liner to use on the bed.  We knew it was going to be cold here due to the number of really thick wool blankets left on our beds.  The usual came with the cabin.  However, these had a wooden cubby hole shelf to put your stuff in.
Dinner was very good!  Ravioli, French rolls, salad, squash soup, green beans and carrots, and peanut butter chocolate brownies for dessert. The chef was able to put together a curry tofu vegetable soup for one of our hikers who is gluten intolerant.  Would have been really good without the curry.  After dinner we tried to walk off the hugh dinner we consumed.  We saw 3 deer but were unable to take good pictures because it was getting too dark.
A good sleep sack is essential at Vogelsang!  The wool blankets are good quality but don’t work well without the sleep sack.  We used silk ones we bought at the Sportsman and some through Campmore catalog.  The rectangle one worked best but the pot-bellied stove worked really good around 4:00 a.m.!  Judy said the mummy one worked ok for her.


August 17, 2006
            Woke up around 6:00 a.m. with plenty of time before the 7:00 a.m. kitchen ring to come and get coffee, several types of tea or hot chocolate. With eggs, pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, orange juice, and fruit, how could we resist!
            We started hiking around 9:00 a.m.  All is downhill from here.  Vogelsang to Merced Lake was around 9 miles. We had to cross a stream here and there with no difficulties.
            Once we got to the downhill side of the mountain there was the longest water cascade we had ever seen!  In early spring when the snow is starting to melt this area must be awesome!  Wild flowers along this area were also abundant!  Wild Chives with their lavender flowers and daisies were everywhere.  We felt very blessed that we were going downhill as it felt like it went on forever!  We had only gone a few miles when we came across this happy elderly couple, about 80 coming up the hill.  We told them that the uphill from there was still a ways to go to get to the top.  They said they had done the hike before and was aware of what was ahead of them.  We were shocked!  Only when we reached Merced Lake did we realize just how much uphill they had come before our warning!  We stopped for lunch at Bab***** Lake.  Wonderful stop for lunch!  Lots of places to soak your feet!  And picture opportunities everywhere.  Still going downhill we reached the Ranger Station only to realize we had another mile to go…..shoot!  However, I would not have missed this next mile for nothing!  Sugar Pines and Sequoias made the area feel like you were in a fairy tale!  We took several pictures here trying to show how small we felt but the pictures didn’t do it justice!  This is a must see area!  Pinecones from the Sugar Pines were the size of our arm!  Huge!!!  We finally reached Merced Lake Camp around 3:00 p.m.  There is no need to hurry to camp as dinner is not served till 6:30 p.m. Lemon-aid was free and very refreshing!  Showers were very refreshing but only luke-warm. We all needed to wash out some clothes.  This was a definite adventure!  The sign said to go to the back of the showers to wash your clothes in a tub.  After finding the tub we discover that the technique for washing clothes is quite different than the usual “scrub between your hands”.  In the tub you’ll find a bucket with instructions on how to wash your clothes. 1) Place your dirty clothes in the bucket 2) Fill bucket with water just over dirty clothes. 3) Add bio-degradable soap (was provided)  4) Use TOILET PLUNGER Till clothes are clean!  (Plunger is for clothes only)  5) Rinse in the same manner 6) Wring clothes with wringer (provided on the side of the tub).  This was a hoot!  However, I was really amazed how clean my clothes got with this process.  A community clothes-line is provided in between two tent-cabins.  The clothes that were on the line appeared to be mostly long sleeve shirts and pants.  Masculine looking stuff.  Some of the “Hiken Girls” thought flashy colored bras and bikini under-ware would dress up the line….(I hung my Granny under-ware and bra by the tent-cabin.)
            Merced Lake Lodge was set up very nicely.  The tent-cabins were set up in a horseshoe configuration and a nice fire pit in the center with lots of chairs and benches to rest your tired feet.  Thanks to Colleen and June we had afternoon “ale” to go along with one of the hikers at the fire pit who played a flute for entertainment.
            Dinner was the same time as the last camp.  Had Haddock fish for a main course and watched several deer from out table but still we have seen no bear….darn!
August 18, 2006
Knowing we had 14 miles to hike we got up earlier so we could get packed and start hiking right after breakfast.  It was all downhill again…..shouldn’t be too bad.  (Grand Canyon hike is downhill for 10 miles…..what’s 4 more miles!)
Leaving camp we followed Merced River.  There was one spot where the river turned into a small lake and it was so calm that you could see the reflection of the trees and mountains around it.  What a photo opp!
We tried to pick up the pace but the scenery was to die for! Everywhere the path took us was another post-card picture!  We passed through riparian areas and wooded areas and then all turned to smooth granite.  Small boulders and rocks were in place to show the way of the path. Still all was downhill.  In many of the paths large boulders had been cut for a foundation and smaller rocks placed in between to make a perfect path. Some areas were slick to walk on. We thought perhaps the WPA in the ‘30’s may have done the work.  Not sure?
The 2nd half of the hike was quite a surprise!  Just before Nevada Falls there were J-Johns.  Nevada Falls and Verdal Falls were magnificent! More (clean) people were appearing at this point.  They were all coming from Curry Village for day hikes.  The path was more like stairs.  About 5 miles of stairs!  (OK, now I want up-hill!) From here you can see the valley below.  Story book pictures!  We were unable to get the depth of the valley on camera. However, at this point all was downhill and nothing but man-made stairs ahead of you.
People were interesting in this last 5 miles.  Girls wearing their bikini and one guy in his 20’s was hiking the entire thing barefooted. He said he does the hike every year and has done so the last 3.  “Liked to feel the earth beneath his feet…….?”  He also had a collapsible spoon on a chain and lots of earthy looking beads around his neck to go along with the beanie cap on his head?  Pretty strange.
June overheard some kids saying, “we stunk”.  She told them, in no uncertain terms, that if they had walked 14 miles that day that they too might not smell so good.
We finally reached the main road where we caught a shuttle that would take us to Curry Village.  Not long after getting on the bus we sighted our first bear!!!!!  The driver stopped for a minute and then informed us that we could get off to observe the bear.  This was a mystery bear.  Watched the bear for a minute walk by a log and poof!  He was no where to be seen.  We walked back to another shuttle stop to resume our trip to Curry village.
As before, Curry Village was a buzz with people.  Next time we may stay at Ahwahnee Hotel or Yosemite Lodge.  Curry Village is just too crowded. We made our way to the cantina for a cold beer.  Yipee, we made it again!  Instead of dinner at the pizzeria or the buffet we decided to buy some “dinner” type stuff at the grocery store.  Smoked salmon, crackers, cheese, beer and some other stuff would do.
While still in the planning stage of our trip we decided that we would splurge a little after our hike a rent an actual cabin, one that had showers and beds.  What a treat!  However, it was quite a walk to the cabin.  And carrying our ice chest and stuff was no easy task after our long day.  When we arrived we found that the office had given us a set of wrong keys…..deciding that it was too far to walk back, Nancy opened the window and climbed in.  What a picture!
It was Nancy and Connie’s birthday, give or take a day.  Colleen, June and Judy  planned a surprise birthday party for us.  Because we were in separate cabins they were able to decorate their cabin with balloons, candles and gifts!  We had a super birthday party on the deck of the cabin.  What a super birthday for me and Nancy!
After going to bed thinking they would sleep sound a couple of mice had another plan for Judy and Colleen!  Jumping from food bag to food bag the mice found some chocolate pieces that they thought they could get into their mouse holes.  Jumping 5 inches off the floor the mice found that the chocolate wouldn’t fit and the pieces would fall to the floor.  Can’t get entertainment like this just anywhere! About 3:30am Judy decided it was time for the mice to go outside. Upon opening the door she couldn’t believe her eyes!  Walking right in front of the cabin was a bear!  Running to get her camera and squealing, “BEAR”, Colleen, (thinking about the Salmon from dinner that was in the cabin) ran over and slammed the door shut!  No picture again……but fun memories of the incident.


August 19, 2006
            Today was a “tour” day to see Yosemite Valley.  Took free shuttle which we highly recommend to go anywhere.  Had lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel.  Really good!  Before going sight seeing it would be worth the time to get a schedule of all the happenings around the Valley.  Free sketching classes were one of the things we would have liked to do but missed. There were other things available for a fee too.
            We left Curry Village around 6:00pm and arrived in Fresno around 8:00pm.  We were able to get the same room at the Days Inn.


August 20, 2006
            Woke up early this morning and headed for Phoenix around 6:00am.  Stopped at “The Cookery at the Flying J Truck Stop” for breakfast.  Don’t do that again.  Keep going till you get to IHOP.  Arrived in Phoenix about 5:30pm.


The total for the round trip for gas as $210.00
To do the High Sierra Hike with 7 nights, 3 breakfast, 3 suppers was $550.00 each plus a couple other meals.


Next time we hike Yosemite National Park a route could be Tuolumne Meadows, Glen Aulin Camp, May Lake, back to Merced or loop Meadows, Volgelsang, Merced, Sunrise Meadow.
Reservation phone numbers: 559-253-5635 or 1-800-436-7275