Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A not-so-good trip.

I had been retired from the California Highway Patrol on October 1, 2001.  Wife wanted to move to a more rural location, so we found a builder, bought 5 acres outside of Ramona, CA, and put up a new house 

On our way to do a Final Inspection on Feb 27, we had stopped at a gas station in Poway, CA. While I walked back from the Cashiers, I was looking to my left--where cars usually came from, and suddenly was laying on the concrete looking up at a rear bumper.  An inattentive middle-aged woman, backing in to the gas pumps,  had hit me and knocked me down.

I had been wanting to see Water Wheel Falls in Yosemite Park. The ONLY way to get there is to hike down Tuolomne Canyon from Toulomne Meadows . Since I get flyers from Yosemite, I saw a back pack trip that went to Water Wheel Falls. I signed up. The trip was set for June 30.
Drive up June 29, camp over night at Toulomne Meadows, then hike 6 miles to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, camp over night, hike 3 miles to and from Water Wheel Falls, camp over night, then return to Toulomne Meadows the last day

The  injury from the woman backing over me resulted in knee surgery on May 30.

On June 29, I start driving up. Around Lone Pine on Hwy 395, the throw-out bearing on my clutch ceased to be. I had a 97 Ford Explorer Sport with a 5 speed. Thank the Lord, I grew up with manual transmissions, and knew how to ( Call it one or the other) Double-Clutch or Speed Shift. Means shifting gears without a clutch.

Got to Toulomne Meadows. Camped and socialized with the 11 others hikers, the Guide and Assistant Guide. That night, mosquitoes feasted on our blood. I itched for several days

We hiked down to Glen Aulin. The flyer had said to bring a swimsuit to bathe/cool off in the river. Did that, as the temperature was ninety-something.
Coming back to our tents, I went to step up on a step. I was wearing Flip-Flops, as that was another item the flyer had said to bring.  AS I did my right  foot slipped out, and went down the the previous step. I heard a pop, and felt a sting in my right foot .

After a while, there was swelling, and one of the other hikers was a RN. I asked her if she thought it was broken. She said yes. I told her NOT to tell ANYONE.

I shoved that foot into my hiking boot and laced it up. It would be there the next three days.

We hiked down to the falls next day. Luckily, I had bought hiking poles to take some of the stress off.

The next day, we hiked the 6 miles back up to Tuolomne Meadows.

This site tells you what is like.
White Cascade from the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp

Glen Aulin (Tuolumne Falls & White Cascade)

Trail Map  ·  Satellite View  ·  Reviews
Distance:  13 miles (21 km) round trip to White Cascade and the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
Trailhead Elevation:  8,500 feet (2,550 meters)
Glen Aulin Elevation:  7,900 feet (2,400 meters)
Total Elevation Change:  600 feet (180 meters)
Hiking Time:  7 - 10 hours
Why hike to Glen Aulin?  To see the picturesque effects produced by a manic-depressive river. For three miles, the Tuolumne River curves lazily through meadows like a time-lapse video of a cat on a sunny windowsill. Then it perks up and dashes over a series of cascades and waterfalls, terminating at Glen Aulin - envision, if you're enjoying the metaphor, the same cat as you try to herd it into a cage to take to the vet to have some highly private bits snipped off. Below Glen Aulin, if you go that far (and even if you don't, for that matter), it becomes even more sedate than it was at the top of the trail - under anesthetic, perhaps. Then it rouses again for a raucous trio of waterfalls and the descent into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - not unlike a cat that's just conducted a self-exam and realized exactly what you've done to it.
Difficulty:  7 out of 10, let's say. Besides the distance and the starting elevation, most of the elevation change is packed into the half of the hike closest to Glen Aulin, so you notice it more, and much of that stretch is rocky as well, requiring you to slow down to pick your way through the riprap.

As we arrived  at Tuolomne Meadows, one of the hikers asserted that his pack seemed heavier than any previous hike. The Guide had a scale a,d weighed it at 50 pounds. I got mine weighed too, and knowing it was lighter than the trip down, it was still 48 pounds. 
That evening, I went down to Lee Vining to a hotel room, spent the night--after a shower, and drove home the next day. 
Showed the wife my foot the next day. Now, it was black and blue around most of the top side. Wife went into a tirade--something about "You could have died". 

My Ford Explorer went into the shop. They found that the radiator was also leaking and that had to be replaced along with the clutch. 
You might be sitting there asking: Why didn't you tell the Guide?  Answer: Liability. 
The Guide would have been responsible to send the assistant guide out to contact Park Rangers. Meanwhile, I would have not been allowed to walk. Another hiker in the group fell ill the morning we returned to Tuolomne Meadows. The Assistant Guide contacted the Rangers. A paramedic--on foot--responded. A Ranger responded, riding a horse and leading a second horse for the trip out. The ill hiker was alter charged $1500 for that attention and the ride. He was taken to a location and placed on a helicopter, which was a $12,000 ride. 
And, I would not have been able to see Water Wheel Falls 

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