9 Jun 2007

Tuolumne Meadows and a hike in the snow.

Tuolumne Meadows is the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Tuolumne River meanders here, rugged mountain peaks and domes surround it. To reach the meadow from the Yosemite Valley, one has to drive on the Tioga Road. The road is a scenic drive with fabulous views of meadows, lakes and granite cliffs. It is open for vehicular traffic in early spring, and closes sometime in fall when snowfall gets heavy. In May, there were still huge piles of snow on roadsides and on the mountains.

This picture neither looks like the photo in my travel book nor how I imagined the meadow to be. The book showed a green meadow with beautiful sub-alpine flowers and I was excited to see it in person. This view is what I got. But then again, this is not the season for the flowers to start blooming.

Beautiful Tenaya Lake, located at an altitude of 8141 ft.

Hiking in the snow:

We had come to see the meadow and to do a hike around the area. We decided to hike to the Cathedral Lake and set off enthusiastically. What we were not prepared for was the amount of snow on the way, in places knee deep. After 4 hours of ploughing through the snow with wet shoes and cold feet, one could tell our enthusiasm was beginning to wane. After a brief meeting, we all decided to turn back. Though we did not get to see the lake, the distance we hiked in the snow was an enjoyable experience. We even came sliding down a few slopes, when our legs needed a rest, which was pure fun! One of the most enjoyable hikes I have done in the US.

The snow was not too much when we started

Views along the way

Then the snow got too much to walk on. It was great fun to figure out where to put the next step and see how deep it would sink in. In some places the snow came up to our knees!

After we abandoned the trek, we spent some time enjoying a steaming bowl of maggi and thawing out our poor toes in the warm comfort of our RV. Parked here it looks like an ad for an RV company!


Manisha said...

Shilpa, sounds like fun but hiking in the snow without appropriate shoes is a pain. Your pictures are fabulous even though you were disappointed.

Came back home to Maggi?! Even in the Sierra Nevadas!

shilpa/eon said...

Yeah, I was very disappointed that we did not get to see the Cathedral Lake. There is always a next time!

Ah, maggi! It was so comforting. All of us had to make puppy eyes at SIL for that who does not approve of junk food!

Prashanth M said...

beautiful landscapes