In the morning, the lake was smooth as glass. This shot is looking straight across the lake from our campsite.
Laura became violently ill last night, and it was clear in the morning that we had to get her out. She also hurt her back, so it was very slow going as I carried her pack down the mountainside. Here we are at the halfway point.
Pale but triumphant, Laura makes it back to the trailhead. After setting her up at Tuolumne Lodge (really false advertising -- just a group of tent cabins with no electricity or running water), I headed back for the lake with my day pack.
Here I am back at the halfway point, taking a lunch break.
August is the season for wildflowers in the high country.
Once I got back and told the others that Laura was going to be OK, Peter and I went for a swim, then Dave and I headed up the slope on the west shore.
This is the view of Cathedral Peak and the upper lake from about halfway up our slope.
Visibility was amazing to the north, where we could see out over the Sierras in Tuolumne County.
We found a small pond that was no doubt covered in snow just weeks before, with bear tracks leading up to it!
Since we had climbed another 1000 feet up to an elevation above 10,000, we were both feeling a little winded, and Dave decided to hang back while I went the last bit to get a view of Yosemite Valley. There was a bit of unmelted snow on the rocks I had to climb to get to the final peak.
At the top, I saw trees stunted and bent over from the harsh conditions, displaying life's tenacity.
The last climb was rewarded with this view of Half Dome. I had to apply a little Photoshop magic to make it visible through the haze of my photo, but in person it was magnificent.
Here I could see Upper Cathedral Lake, with the peak overlooking it to the left.
This view of Lower Cathedral Lake shows that we'd climbed to quite a height. The slight tilt to the horizon is probably vertigo.
Returning to camp, Dave and I looked back at the rocks we had climbed. They don't look so intimidating from this angle, really.
Despite suffering from an upset stomach herself, Rona had to help us to cook the Pad Thai meal she had planned for the last evening. It was fabulous.
Peter and Dave awaiting dinner.
Our final sunset.
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