August 11, 2012U – Sunrise Ridge to Lyell Canyon
Mileage: 16 Elevation: 8900 feet
Sunrise Ridge held to its name and gently awakened us at about 5:30 am. This worked well, since we hit the sack early last night. We were primed for an early start, but ran up against Big Bear Barrel issues! We could not open one of our bear barrels. We both tried; we pried with a knife, one of us would hold the other would turn…nothing! Finally, after much anxiety we got it open, but we have to figure out why it sticks!
We got on the trail just before 7am hiking toward our first of the ten passes on the JMT, Cathedral Pass. We could feel the weariness in our bodies from the day before. After second breakfast we felt much better. The hike down to Cathedral Lakes was gorgeous. As we hiked down into Tuolumne Meadows more and more people were on the trail. We were suddenly hit with civilization. We enjoyed the restrooms at this eastern access to Yosemite National Park, but felt crowded by all the people. We located the JMT and hiked through the meadows to the Lyell Canyon trail. Thunderheads were gathering and we could hear rumbling in the distance. Light rain off and on with a cool breeze made for a comfortable hike up the Lyell Fork. The trail was flat and easy up a tranquil canyon through a wide meadow with a lovely river. When we exited the no camping zone after a 16 mile day we quickly found a great spot to camp. Far across the valley we could see a herd of elk.
We set our tent up with the fly since weather was questionable. Our brainstorm solution on the bear barrel issue was to wash out the barrels, especially the rings at the top and the inside of the lid. Grime from past backpacks had accumulated and hopefully cleaning it off would smooth out the lid movement. Well, when we tried it still stuck…so we greased the inside with sunscreen! That seemed to help, but the truth would be told tomorrow when we attempted to open our bear barrels for breakfast. Tucked in our tent for the night with raindrops clattering down, we slept well!