Day 7 - June 12, 1999 - 47.3 miles - Yosemite Valley to Tioga Rd.

Got new reading glasses at the Yosemite Store. I can read again! Today was up and out of the Yosemite Valley and onto Tioga Road. It was rough. The climb began right at the entrance to the Valley and just went non-stop. Average speed today was 8.6 mph, a grind.
Tioga Road climbs gradually to the pass. It's time to explain the orographic effect. As you all know, prevailing winds come from the West (Pacific Ocean). When those moisture-laden winds hit the mountains, they drop their moisture. By the time they reach the peaks they're dried out. Over a million years or so you have mountain ranges like the Sierras and Rockies that have severely eroded on their western slopes, but their eastern slopes are still very steep.
And that's why slogging up the western slope of the Sierras is going to take me two days.

Elevation: 8000 ft
Yosemite Valley floor is about 4000 ft. elevation. I climbed 4000 ft. in about four hours.

Basically everything up on the road is closed since the road itself was just opened last week. I rode down one side road about a mile downhill to where there was supposed to be a motel and restaurant. Not open until early July. Back up to the main road. Starting to get a little concerned about where I was going to spend the night.

I spotted Porcupine Flats campground on the map, but I couldn't find it. Then I ran into 3 backpackers walking down the highway and they led me into it (see pictures). There was snow all around and mud, but we found a dry place, a picnic table, even rest rooms. But most importantly, bear boxes. We washed up in the river and then cooked dinner. It got C-O-L-D and we were in our tents by 8:30. I was asleep in a few minutes. The temp. was probably in the 20's, but I was warm in my sleeping bag. Next morning, we didn't dry out until about 9:00.
I was really grateful to have run into Oscar, Nghia (pronounced Nee-ya) and Adrienne. They are old high school acquaintances from Orange County. They had climbed up to Tioga Road out of the Valley, pretty much the same thing I had done, except they did it on foot, carrying those full packs. Nghia is a police officer for the Buena Park P.D. and I think he's a good one. Oscar and Adrienne are finishing college (Long Beach State for Oscar, and UCLA for Adrienne).

Oscar, Adrienne and Nghia
Oscar, Adrienne and Nghia at our gourmet dinner.

Entrance to Porcupine Flats
Entrance to Porcupine Flats. Not a very inviting campground, is it?

Bear Country
Bear Country. No joke. You don't mess around in back country. Every food item, even containers that once held food, even toothpaste, shampoo, suntan lotion... you put it in the bear box. I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture of a bear box.

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