August 12, 2012 –Lyell Canyon to Rush Creek Fork
Mileage: 11 Elevation: 9600 feet
Woke up to clear skies but a wet tent, so we spent a little time drying out. There was low fog hanging over the river, our coldest morning yet. To our shock the bear barrels opened pretty easily this morning…we still have little faith! We were hiking by 7. The trail was pretty flat going up the canyon, then climbed like crazy to Donahue Pass at 11074 feet. This is our first major Sierra pass and we are excited. We rise from one bench to another as water cascades down via wild rushing streams and gorgeous waterfalls. It felt like the gateway to the Sierras!
As thunder clouds gathered and the sky darkened, we kept up a good pace. Reaching the pass at 12:30, there was thunder all around us. We quickly dropped down through beautiful meadows of yellow and purple grasses, dotted with the last of the wild flowers. As the rains came the colors deepened and the valley was glowing.We reached camp at 2:30 deciding to stop due to the weather. We threw up the tent and fly, got water and hunkered down. It was great! The weather created rest our bodies needed after some grueling hiking days. Our read aloud for the hike is In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. Don cut the book into thirds and placed the last two portions in each cache. So, during the storm, we went to Australia! The writing is both interesting and hilarious! Between that, maps and the New York Times Crosswords we were truly happy campers.
The rain began to let up a little so we crawled out of our tent and found a sheltered area for cooking dinner. A brilliant rainbow appeared across the valley. We took a short walk as the skies cleared, then hit the sack!