Mile 971 to 948
Dish Cloth wants to be within striking distance of Tuolumne Meadows, so we set our sights on Glen Aulin. It is a high Sierra camp 5 miles from Tuolumne Meadows, but 23 Sierra miles from us. Sierra miles seem to be significantly more difficult than normal miles. The passes are steep, the terrain rocky and wet, the elevations high, and the mosquitoes active. Several of the lakes are boiling with trout. I would love to stop and wet a line, but the mosquitoes are screaming something that sounds to me like “Come back in August!” Even the deer by the lake are twitchy from the clouds of ear biters. I almost offer them some of my Deet, but frankly I need it.
I run into a northbounder who warns me of a ranger ahead checking for permits and bear canisters. He just got a $125 ticket for improper food storage. He is not happy, but frankly got off easy. I have heard of much larger fines and hikers being escorted out of the park.
After a couple of passes, BLT and I lose Dish Cloth. He is back there to be sure, but we have not seen him. For the last few miles into Glen Aulin, BLT loses me. I am tiring, plus I stop to video a mother grouse and her adorable three chicks. Later I video a marmot, who seems to be blocking the trail, demanding what I have no idea.
When I arrive at camp BLT is grinning from ear to ear. The guy setting up the high Sierra camp, which will open in a week, has given BLT some fresh caught and cleaned trout plus a loaf of bread made by his girlfriend. Yes the biblical fish and loaves clearly comes to mind. BLT and I setup our tents then swim very briefly in the freezing river. Eventually Dish Cloth shows up. He is now determined not to recommend more than 20 miles a day in the Sierras.
While cooking the fish in a fire made in the sand, the ranger shows up. She wants to see bear canisters, permits and points out that fires should be in existing rings. The fish and bread are shared by several thru-hikers, including some northbounders. I am not sure we could have feed the masses, but we did pretty good. We fall asleep on the beach by the river, to the roaring sound of the massive cascade.