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A Yosemite Hiking and Camping Experience-5 Summer Nights under the Stars from Virginia Lakes to Touloumne

Updated on February 17, 2013

Beautiful Yosemite, a treasure to be discovered again and again.

A hike on a trail that began in Virginia Lakes beyond Yosemite's borders, touching on the Pacific Crest Trail, through Virginia Canyon, Glen Aulin, and ending in Tuolumne showed me hundreds of shooting stars streaking across the skies, the beauty of fast flowing rivers and waterfalls, wild flowers, expansive meadows, mountain passes above the treeline, rocks and trails along mountains of sheer granite .....the beauty of Yosemite.

Summit Lake
Summit Lake

I carried a backpack that carried a tent, a sleeping bag, a pad and other necessities needed for several days. It was a heavy pack but once on my shoulders it felt light as I trudged along Yosemite's back country trails across rivers, over mountains, through pine forests and green meadows.

There was trout in the lakes. My friends brought fishing gear. We cleaned the fish, salted, grilled and fried them for a wonderful dinner.

We set up our tents, relaxed, and basked under the glowing skies especially at sunset.

Settling inside my tent, I forced to stay awake even though I wanted to get the rest my body needed after hours of walking.

With the rain-fly set aside, it seemed that I could just reach out and catch a shooting star. The dark sky enveloped the earth in its immensity. Hundreds of stars studded the sky like shimmering large diamonds. And hundreds more streaked across the sky covering thousands of miles in seconds - a Perseid meteor shower! Perseid meteors "rain" into the atmosphere from the constellation Perseus in mid-August.

I forced to stay awake and even propped open my eyelids with my fingers just to catch a few more shooting stars. But sleep eventually wins out until the next morning when I have to take down my tent, collect water and pack up for the next day's journey.

Did we encounter a bear? We did. Did we have bad weather? We did not. Did we get sick? Some did. But through it all, I wondered if my 25 year old backpack would make it to Tuolumne. It did!

The Trail

Trail Details
Virginia Lakes to Summit Lake
6.8 miles
Trailhead at 9790 feet
Pass at 11000 feet
Summit Lake to Return Creek/Trail to McCabe Lake Campsite
7 miles
Cross into Yosemite National Park
Pacific Crest Trail
Crossings at Return Creek
McCabe Lake to Glen Aulin
7 miles
Glen Aulin at 7,800 feet
Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp
Glen Aulin to Touloumne Meadows
5.7 miles
Touloumne Meadows at 8,600 feet

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