Dave, Kay, and Nick were best of friends, old sailing buddies. After a race, they would often meet at one boat or the other’s and have Scotch (Johnny Walker Red Label, a taste they acquired during a 2 week Caribbean cruise) or wine, BBQ steaks, and more wine. Nick also liked backpacking, but Dave, the old curmudgeon, did not. Nevertheless, his wife Kay and daughter Leslie were enthused, so the 3 of them planned a trip in Yosemite to start at Tuolumne Meadows and go to Camp Vogelsang, one of the Yosemite High Sierra Loop camps, a hike of 6.9 miles with a 1,400 foot elevation gain. The plan was to stay at the Tuolumne Meadows “lodge”, really a small tent “city” that provided food and lodging, on Friday night, and then stay at Camp Vogelsang, that provided food and lodging, on Saturday night. All they had to pack in was a sleeping bag, lunch, and personal items – a nice moderate introduction to backpacking in the High Country. Nick, being an old hand at backpacking, gave Kay and Leslie the lecture:
Get good lightweight hiking boots with lug soles and good ankle support.
Clip your toe nails, otherwise walking down hill could be quite painful.
Get a flashlight that you can hold in your mouth. This allows both hands free to root around inside your backpack, or whatever.
Bring sun glasses, a foldable hat, water bottle, Sierra Club cup, camera, ...
Do not bring anything heavy.
After several hikes to break in the new boots, to make sure no one would get blisters, and to get in shape, they proclaimed them-selves ready. So one Friday evening after work, they all piled into Nicks car, rented sleeping bags, backpacks and all, and headed for the hills. They stopped for dinner along the way and then made it to Tuolumne Meadows Lodge by about 11:00 pm. The next morning they had breakfast at the lodge and picked up a brown bag lunch. About then, neophyte Leslie confided in Nick that she might have packed too much and wondered if Nick might help carry some of the load if it proved too much for her along the way. Uh oh, how was this possible? Leslie was a strong young lady and her load should be quite moderate. Nevertheless, Nick had plenty of room in his pack and his load was light compared to what he was used to, so he gallantly assured her that he would assist if need be. So they started off heading southish. First, a short way through the remainder of Tuolumne Meadows until it turned into Lyell Canyon, and then a short way more until they got to Rafferty Creek where they turned an oblique right and followed the creek uphill all the way to Camp Vogelsang, arriving there in the early afternoon.
After settling into their assigned tent, they strolled over to Fletcher Lake to eat their lunch. Nick did some fly fishing along the way. No luck. They found a comfortable lunch site and commenced munching. And then a miracle happened – Leslie found a bottle of wine in her tote! And a corkscrew too! If you have never had wine in a stainless steel Sierra Club cup, with your lunch, at the end of a long day of hiking uphill, then you haven’t lived. Ecstasy. Amid incredibly beautiful surroundings.
After some more fishing (still no luck), lounging, reading, and cleaning up, they ambled over to the mess tent, i.e. chow hall for you city folk, to partake of a well prepared hearty dinner. And again, a miracle happened. Leslie found another bottle of wine! Wow, what a treat. So they wined and dined in great luxury, comfort, and camaraderie. What could be better? After dinner they lingered at the table a while to chat with their dining table neighbors, and eventually made it back to their tent. And guess what, another miracle! – Leslie found a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label to finish off the evening. That girl has all the luck. She should have been a fisherman. The next day they went home, smiling all the way.