Backpacking in Yosemite Part IV – Conclusion

Wawona Dome

To Read Part III Click HERE

“One, Two, THREE!” I called.

Sarah, Monica, and Sam stood in front of me with packs on. Our entire campsite had vanished into our backpacks and except for the smoldering firepit there was hardly a sign that anyone had ever been there.

I clicked the shutter on my tripod-mounted camera and ran over to join the group. The camera ticked for exactly 10 seconds before snapping a time-delayed photo. I hurried back to check on our group shot.

“Looks good. Ready to go?” I asked.

“Almost,” replied Sarah. “ But first we need a silly one…”

Group Chilnualna Falls
Our last photo before hiking down

March Towards Civilization

Within 5 minutes we were on the trail heading back down from Chilnualna Falls. We were leaving a day earlier than expected in order to meet up for Tom and Sue for our last night in the Wawona Campground. When Tom had met us a couple days earlier we had promised to pick us up at the bottom of the trail.

The route down was far less strenuous than it had been on the way up. At the halfway point we were far ahead of schedule and we could allow ourselves an extended stop without risking a late arrival. A little further down we came to a small exclave in the river. This particular section of river jutted away from the main course of the river and was partially enclosed by a fallen tree trunk.

I stopped for a moment to survey the movement of the water. The current certainly didn’t look strong enough to pull me downstream if I decided to get in. I sat down and slowly began to untie my hiking boots, still surveying the water for any hint of danger. Sarah, Monica, and Sam stood behind me.

“Looks good to me!” I called to them.

Waterfall Wawona
Sam and Monica cooling off at our swimming hole on the hike down

With that I stepped into the ice-cold river until I was waist deep. I leaned forward quickly so that there could be no going back and immersed my whole body. I came to the surface with a gasp, propelled into a state of sensory arousal by the sudden blast of cold. I stood there for a moment taking in the curious feeling of hot sun on my body and numbing water on my legs.

Suddenly I was hit with a startling realization. Had I forgotten to leave it behind? No. It was still there in my pocket! With a four letter expletive I lunged back towards the shore and climbed out with cat-like quickness. From my shorts pocket I pulled my IPhone 6, shining in the afternoon sun and dripping from all 4 corners. Live and learn I guess.

Reunited with Tom and Sue


Chilnualna Falls
Back with Tom and Sue at the trailhead

“Hey good to see you kids again,” called Tom as we approached the end of the trail. Tom and Sue were there to meet us right on time and gave each of us a congragulatory hug after we had set down our packs.

“Theres a store 5 minutes away from here,” said Sue. “They have ice cream and beer.”

That was about the best thing anyone could have said to me. The first meal back in civilization is one of the best part of any backpacking trip.

Tom and Sue had managed to get us a campsite back at the Wawona campground so that we could spend one more night in Yosemite. I tried to resurrect my phone with the overnight-in-a-bowl-rice trick but without success. I think that only worked on the old flip phones.

The following morning we said our goodbyes and prepared to go our separate ways. Sam had to rush off to a friends wedding. Tom and Sue were heading north to Oregon on their own summer adventure. Sarah, Monica, and I all piled into the van to head back to Oakland.

It was hard for me to believe that our trip to Yosemite was already over. Our trip may have lasted for just 5 days, but the memories that we made will last a lifetime.


1 thought on “Backpacking in Yosemite Part IV – Conclusion

  1. Living my Yosemite dream vicariously through you! The memories will stay with you forever. So glad you are making this dream a reality! Look forward to more of the travelogue❤️

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