Tuolumne Meadows, about 4 miles Southeast from Backpacker's Campground.

Day 03 of JMT Revisited (June 25, 2004)

Recovery day! I am writing this at Tuolumne campground for backpackers. We all feel great. We got to the grill before they closed and had cheeseburgers and fries, and a diet coke. Jon had chill fries – and I never saw such a big smile on him. I was slightly worried about how he was taking the trip, but no longer. Best thing yet: Ken eat the whole cheeseburger and hasn’t thrown it up yet. And it has been almost three hours!

Before I give an account of the whole day and night since the bear attack, here are the basic facts: We left on the trail at 9:00 am this morning. Lunch was at 12:30 pm, past the first big climb. I did the climb in two hours: 7860’ to 9600’ = 1740’.

We had lunch a mile or two later at the same place we did three years ago. At 1:00 pm we passed a sign that said we had 10 miles to go to get to Tuolumne. We arrived at the Tuolumne grill at 5:30 pm (at least I did). Ken, Curtis, Elliot, Tim, and me pretty much got there at the same time, because Ken and Curtis got lost, and Tim, Elliot and I went searching for them.

Now for the interesting stuff: After moving our campsite last night to avoid the bear, a bear came back and terrorized us for what seemed like the whole night. Actually, it was from about 1:00 am to 3:00 am. He kept throwing the food canister around. Every 15 seconds or so, we would hear another crash. Finally after he couldn’t open the canisters, he came to our packs, right by our tent. I had expected this. I raddled some pots, and shined a flashlight, and he left.

In the morning, we had to look quite a while to recover the canisters. Then, Elliot, Tim, Wes, and Curtis went back to recover the other four canisters from the first campsite. They returned, and none of the canisters where broken. But the food in two of them was ruined because the bear had dragged the canisters down to the stream and let them soak in the water. The canisters are not watertight. All the zip locks had broken due to the impacts.

We had oatmeal for breakfast. After breakfast, ANOTHER bear came! We all left in a hurry. So much for bears! I hate them – and hope not to see another.

Ken didn’t eat for the entire hike today. I got him to take one bite of my candy bar – he said he threw it up. He threw up all day long, non-stop. But he kept hiking all the way. According to my map we are one mile past the visitors center, so we hiked at least 15.7 miles today. Ken still feels queasy, but he is finally keeping his food down.

We reported the bear incident to the rangers – pictures and all. The pictures clearly show the tag on the bear to be #19.