It was a frigid night in Lyell Canyon as the clouds dissipated and the cold air roared into the open canyon. I’m not sure what the low was but things that were left out of the tent froze and I’d image it was in the low 20’s.
It took me a while to fall asleep, as I tried everything to get warm. And over the course of the night, I never felt like that was achieved – constantly trying to snuggle up next to my brother and absorb any warmth he was emitting from his sleeping bag.
A very cold morning
The morning was just as bad. We were up and out of bed around 7:00 am, but before the sun’s rays were hitting the base of the Yosemite canyon. In other words, we were pretty chilled packing up. But it got worse.
We had to filter water and in freezing temperatures, our hands were screaming at us to stop and get warm. (While at the same time our bellies were screaming for something to drink.)
By the time we were all packed up, I’m pretty sure I had on four to five layers, and my hands didn’t work.
On the way in, we stopped a good amount to take photos and keep my heart rate down. On the way back, I felt great and we didn’t need to take photos so we cruised at about three miles an hour over the eight-mile hike out. Luckily, the terrain didn’t change in the two days since we hiked it and it was flat as hell.
Back in Tuolumne Meadows
Once we were back at the car, we were all pretty excited to get our packs off, hit the bathroom (me), and change into more comfortable clothes. I also realized I had been wearing my leggings backward – so that was cool. Anyways, it took us a good amount of time to get the car packed up and I think it was around 11:30 by the time we started heading back to Tioga Pass and then down to the eastern side of the Sierras.
As opposed to the way in when the mountains were covered in clouds, we were given the full display of the Eastern Sierras – which are magnificent. I’d argue that it’s much better than the drive in from the other side where you enter through the tunnel.
We stopped briefly to shoot some photos of the route up and down before starting the full 12-hour drive back to Phoenix.
The drive back
It was a pretty uneventful drive back to the desert. We stopped in Lone Pine (about three hours south of Yosemite) for burgers and milkshakes. They were well deserved.
Other than that, it was smooth sailing after an incredible weekend in the mountains with good people.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.