Day 88: Dorothy Lake Pass and Goodbye to Yosemite
Saturday, June 16, 2018 8:15 pm
Location: Kennedy Canyon Creek (1005.9 miles)

A brisk 18.5 mile day today brought Quoi and I over Dorothy Lake Pass, out of Yosemite, and past 1000 miles.

The day started off a bit cooler than yesterday, which was nice once we got around to start hiking. However, rather than leaving early to try and beat the mosquitoes like we planned, we chatted with Sea Biscuit for a while. (My shoes, not completely dried from yesterday, were pretty cold on my feet during the conversation, and I was slightly itching to go so my feet could warm up.) While we were talking, the ranger from yesterday came back, presumably on her way back up to the rock she was sitting on yesterday checking for permits.

Quoi and I finally started hiking at 7:30, following the trail as it lead towards Dorothy Lake Pass. After a short area through mostly rocky terrain, the trail continued up a mostly gentle slope in or alongside a meadow.

Quoi remembered this meadow from last year as being heavily mosquito infested, and that was again the case this year. There were so many mosquitoes that they were swarming around us even when we were hiking, and for the very first time in over 3400 miles of long-distance trail hiking, I put on my bug net while I was hiking. It worked reasonably well at keeping the pesky critters off my face, but it did make for a stifling hike, as the mesh trapped heat around my head, making it harder to breath, and causing me to warm up quite a bit.

The mosquitoes especially posed a problem when I suddenly became hungry, and we stopped for an early snack break after just over four miles. Eating snacks with a bug net on is a bit of a pain, though it’s certainly doable. (And much better than the alternatives of taking the bug net off, or not eating anything.) After a few miles, as we gradually gained elevation, the mosquitoes decreased in number, and I was finally able to take off my bug net and breathe fresh air again.

We stopped at Dorothy Lake so Quoi could collect water to treat, and then wound up sitting there talking for longer than it took to actually treat the water.

Dorothy Lake
Dorothy Lake

As with all the other passes we’ve crossed, there was a snow field for a good distance north after Dorothy Lake Pass. The pass also marked our exit from Yosemite National Park. We took a snack break shortly after the pass, once we could find a relatively flat rock to sit on out of the snow.

Lake Harriet
Lake Harriet

A couple miles down the mountain, just after a creek crossing at mile 999, I saw horses on the trail for the first time. There was a group of about six, led by a cowboy with two mules in tow, riding to a cabin on a lake.

Around 2:35, we reached the 1000 mile marker, a significant milestone. With 1664.1 miles to go to Manning Park, BC, we’re not yet at the halfway point, but we’ll be getting there soon enough.

Over the past few days, I’ve been refining the “I’m Dreaming of No Bear Can” song I thought of. The 1000 mile marker seemed an appropriate place to record a video of me singing it.

1000 Miles!
1000 Miles!

Shortly after, we ran into a US Forest Service ranger, who was doing some trail maintenance. We stopped to talk with him for a short while, before we let him go so we could take a snack break.

From there, the trail went downhill, crossing the Walker River, and then heading up the mountain on the other side. It’s a bit hard to describe, but the mountains definitely started to look different on the way to the river, and especially after crossing it. They feel less like the jagged and rocky High Sierra, and more like something else.

It became cooler and a bit windy after we got to our campsite, around 6:20. We cooked our dinners from our tents to block the wind, and then settled off to sleep, with Sonora Pass and warm beds and food waiting for us at Kennedy Meadows North tomorrow.

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