Julie and I planned a last minute escape for 4th of July weekend to our version of a spa getaway – running 15 miles to Merced Lake High Sierra Camp, spending the night, and then running 14 miles back out through Vogelsang. This was exactly the medicine our souls needed, including the luxurious 8 hours of sleep in Bishop the night before and the decidedly non-alpine start including mandatory stops at Schat’s and the Looney Bean, which put us at the trailhead at the responsible summer thunderstorm season trailhead time of noon. But the Sierra weather was nice to us this day, granting us no thunderstorms, perfect not-too-hot conditions, and empty trails. We pulled in to Merced Lake HSC at around 5pm after a casual 15.5 miles and swam in the river for half an hour before dinner. It was a legit spa experience.
We decided on the fly to spend the second day running down along the Merced into the Valley rather than going back the way we came through Vogelsang HSC. This turned out to be a great choice – every time we turned a corner in the beautiful granite valley, we were stopped in our tracks by how incredible it was. The burned zone above Little Yosemite was not fun for running, but felt like being on another planet. Our poor suffering quads soldiered on for the pounding descent down the JMT to Happy Isles, where we swam in the Merced again before catching the free hikers’ shuttle back up to Tuolumne Meadows, capping off our trip with fish tacos at the Mobil station (yep, these are still my favorite fish tacos in California) and views of the crazy thunderstorm over the Sierra as we drove down the 395.
High Sierra, it’s been too long. Let’s hang out again soon.