7/17/18 – Tamarack Lake

Day 27

Miles: 1,081.90 to 1,064.37

The morning sky is crimson today as the sun rises through the layer of smoke. The fire is far away, on the West side of Yosemite, unfortunately the wind blows the smoke over the passes towards us.

We have to cross Carson Pass today. It’s one of the passes with a road paved over it and a visitor center where we are welcomed by the volunteer in charge. He offers us soda and snacks – goldfish and an apple. It’s a refreshing stop.

Our of Carson Pass is a 500 foot climb graded so well we hardly notice that we are climbing. We share the trail with many day hikers. At least the first few miles. Then we are alone again in meadows full of wildflowers. There are some new ones today – a blue wild iris, wild onion, and couple more we don’t recognize.

At around mile 10 we sit by a creek ready for lunch. The creek is cold and refreshing. We make coffee and eat tortillas filled with Canadian bacon, dried apricots, and cheddar cheese. The smoke scent intensifies. Too much. It’s as if we were sitting by a campfire…. and then we see it. There is a campfire on the other side of the creek. It’s smoldering. With everything around us bone dry, this is a scary scenario. Dave tests the coals. It takes him two small breaths to produce a flame.

With the fire property put out, its time to climb again. This time we face 2 climbs, about 500 feet vertical gain on each. The scenery is gorgeous. Ridge walk along lava rock formations with views of beautiful lakes bellow us. Then there is a drop through a large lava field and we are back into a forest.

Tamarack Lake becomes our home for tonight. Swayed and Roller arrive just as we done setting camp. We filter water and cook dinner together on a large granite slab. Tomorrow our southbound bubble of four might burst. Dave and I are considering a lake 14.5 miles away while Swayed and Roller are hoping for a longer day. We’ll see.