Hip Hip Mostly Hooray

July 30, 2015

Not to be too dramatic, but this was kind of a big day for me. It was the test-driving of my hip after seven months of sorta-rehab. The hike we took today was the first real exercise I’ve had since messing up my hip last January. I’ve not walked more than about a half mile (the distance to downtown Davis) in all this time and wasn’t really sure what a hike would do to me. I’ve been okay with the idea of forgoing serious hiking in Yosemite this year, but I’ve been hell-bent on ensuring that I can hike like a real person in Norway and Switzerland (next week!).

About all I can say is I hiked, my hip was fairly sore, but nothing really bad happened. I limited myself to a modest hike to Spillway Lake (and back). Jim and Peter went on to explore the Kuna Crest–Lakes Helen, Bingeman and Kuna. They did all that and got back to the car just 45 minutes after me… that’s how slowly I went on the way back down. Stopped a lot to stretch, too.

We’ll see….  I’m hopeful.

Here are the particulars:

Trailhead Elevation:  9,700 feet
Spillway Lake Elevation:  10,480 feet

Distance: 8 miles 
Elevation Gain:  800 feet 

Here are some pics from a very lovely first hike day…

The crossing here has been a lot more challenging in years past… the water’s very low:


There were a smattering of wild flowers left:


Remains from a miner’s cabin from long ago..


View across the meadow to Mammoth Peak (12,117′), the eastern-most of the peaks along the Kuna Crest (we climbed this about seven years ago):


The outflow from Spillway. This will flow into the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River. The Kuna Crest is to the right, Parker Pass just off to the left, and Mono Pass to the left of that (through Mono Pass, you can see Mono Lake.. of course).


I just love this area. I am pretty sure this was our absolute first hike when we first came to Tuolumne Meadows in 2000 with Rick and Gigi (and Peter, just 2 years old, in a backpack they gave us). I remember tearing up because it was so beautiful along this particular stretch of trail. I remember the water was roaring at numerous points in the climb up to the lake and the wlld flowers were dense. Bigger water years, for sure.

Here is a picture Jim took of Peter and me up at Spillway Lake (the lake is behind Jim):


At this point, we’d seen only one other person, and that was just beyond the trailhead. Over the course of the whole day, I saw and spoke to about 4-5 people.

Jim divided the food since we were splitting up… here’s my half:


Then they took off for the crest and I ambled slowly back. The weather’s looking iffy, but they got in before any rain fell. They are headed around the end of Spillway, which is almost visible to the right, and then up the ridge, also on the right.


Here is a shot Jim took of Spillway from the crest.. and the arrow points to the rock where Peter and I were standing/sitting above. You can see Mono Lake in the distance.

spillway from atop

Here is another picture Jim took, this one of Peter at Bingeman Lake. That is Mammoth Peak off to the right!


They had a great day up there.