Yosemite Galavanting*

On October 24, 2008, in Running, by Meghan

*By the way, I know that “galavanting” is not a real word. If you know me in person, then you know that I have my own language, and this word is just part of that. Thanks, though, to the grammar police who emailed me the last time I used this word here. 🙂

Winding paths through deep woods are sufficient places to spend some time, as there is much to examine and explore along the way. However, if a path begins to climb to a high place, it might with it inspire a growing sense of anticipation for impending views, or whatever it is that’s over the next rise. It also seems that these crescendos are as present in real life as they are in the wilderness. I’m pretty sure that, at the moment, I’m on a steeply rising life path. I’ve so far had little glimpses of the imminent overlook, and the view is absolutely intoxicating.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, all of this is code for, “Life is really freaking good, people!” Included in the goodness of life have been two superb weekends of play in the Sierra Nevada that were highlighted by watching several sunsets light granite walls on spectacular fire, runs along trails that were more tracked by animals other than the human one, observing for hours the play of sun and clouds on expanses of rock only occasionally punctuated by craggy pine trees whilst lolling on sun-warmed rock slabs. Oh, and doing all this in the company of some amazing people.

Because I only have pictures from one of these events, I’ll write a bit about a long trail run with a new Yosemite friend, Kelly. I had learned via the close-knit ultra running community that Yosemite National Park possessed its own speedy, trail running woman of about my same age. Yesterday, the stars aligned and at 6:00 am, we were introducing ourselves in a dark parking lot. What ensued from that meeting was a great day of trail running. Kelly has run all over the Sierra Nevada in her ten years of living and working in Yosemite, and her trail knowledge and experience is fabulously deep.

Our run began at Tenaya Lake, located at what must be about 8,500 feet elevation, along the Tioga Road. As we began running, it was a frigid, late October morning. However, the sun was beginning to light the mountains surrounding us and the weather quickly evolved into an outstandingly warm mid-fall day. We spent much of the next 23 miles above 9,000 feet elevation, climbing 3 moderate passes and descending into their dividing canyons. This portion of the route wound through the Ten Lakes area, where we saw maybe 6 of the purported 10 lakes.

At 23 miles on trail, our route crossed Tioga Road at the Yosemite Creek Trailhead, and we stopped here for some refueling with previously stashed drinks and calories. The second half of the route was an 11 mile jaunt down the Yosemite Creek Trail to the top of the famous Yosemite Falls, where we would descend back to Yosemite Valley via the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail.

Notably, we saw both mountain lion and black bear tracks along the way and one robust-looking coyote running around at 9,500 feet with its winter coat ready to go. Bits of snow from an early season storm lingered in the shadows and on north-facing slopes, a sign of what will shortly ensue in this high country. There were a few late-season wildflowers blooming in great quantity, as if they somehow knew that the warm weather is fleeting at best. And, finally, at the lowest elevations of our journey, along the descent back into Yosemite Valley, aspen trees were streaking the canyons with a vivid, technicolor yellow.

Overall, it was a disgustingly fun 34 miles on trail, and I’m so glad to have made a new, local trail running friend. Further, I think this trail run was an adequate representation of the awesomeness that is the rest of my life right now and I hope that the uphill viewpoint climb goes on for a long while.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday’s fun. They are out of order, but I have limited Internet time, so I hope that they suffice. Enjoy!

Typical scenery at about 9,000 feet in Yosemite National Park

One of the Ten Lakes in Yosemite National Park

Another one of the Ten Lakes in Yosemite National Park

Kelly on the Ten Lake trail

Sprawling granite outcrops poke around at around 10,000 feet on the Ten Lakes Trail.

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12 Responses to “Yosemite Galavanting*”

  1. Rick Gaston says:

    It’s not a word? I would have used it, I might just insert it on a future post just to do so:) Oh sweet you finally got to run with the other fast girl in Yosemite. I hope you two have many more runs to come. Life is good when an ultra runner finds another like minded person(s) who is willing to share the trails with them.

    Overall it seems like a really nice run that is making me disgustingly jealous!:) Lakes, mountains passes, wildflowers, slopes….I can’t read anymore.

  2. Journey to a Centum says:

    It’s a word around these parts sister!

    Wow those trees along the hillside with the shot of Kelly must be about a zillion years old!

    Wonderful photos, looks like another paradise. Very happy to hear that you are settling in to your new surroundings.


  3. Leslie's Keith says:

    So glad to hear your life is on an awesome and intoxicating rise!! Enjoy the climb…!

    Can’t wait to hear more…2 weeks!

    Off to run in a snow squall!


  4. JeffO says:

    also gal·a·vant \ˈga-lə-ˌvant\
    1 : to go about usually ostentatiously or indiscreetly with members of the opposite sex
    2 : to travel, roam, or move about for pleasure

    Either you’re getting naughty, or… you’re getting to know Yosemite!

    Very beautiful granite, lakes, trees, and Kelly!
    Just like Keith – off to the other side of the Divide to run in the snow. (MUST remember to bring camera!)

  5. elizabeth says:

    hey meghan. Aren’t you glad you won’t have to deal with hunters this year! Hunting season starts here tomorrow in MT, time to put bright orange on the dogs and myself.

    Do you find any places to take your dog for off leash runs in Yosemite?

  6. Tom says:

    WOW! thats all I can say.

  7. Sunshine Girl says:

    Shiiiiit, it took me like 2 years to find some runner boys and girls in my National Park home!! How exciting is that??

    It’s SO good to have company for these adventures, I’m glad you have connected up with a new running friend! Hopefully, she will introduce you to some other freaky-deaky ultra running fools in your neighborhood.

    Incidently, I went running with Tannis for 4 hours on the trail today and we caught up on life post T.R. It certainly made the time fly!!

    I’m anticipating running on some of those sweet trails soon, a little yiiiiiiihaw, please!

    Oh, is “awesomeness” a word?? And are you galavanting, again?? Behave, girl.

  8. saschasdad says:

    Oh, I’m pretty sure our sweet little Meghan is getting naughty!! Keep enjoying your galavanting. And remember to not over-share the details with your fans.

  9. olga says:

    Girl, you are living, and IK am not sure in my new non-running state I can take it!!! I may not even like you anymore! So jelous, you have no idea…and very very happy for you. Now I know what I am doing next spring, once the snow comes down a bit. Make sure you have a place to throw a sleeping bag!

  10. Danni says:

    I’m so happy that you made a frend already and that life is so awesome!!!

  11. Trail Goat says:

    Yosemite appears to be a great place in which to galavant.

  12. Meghan says:

    Wow, you guys! I’m astounded by how these comments degraded in my absence! Good grief, y’all! What if my mother reads this! 🙂

    Er, thanks, anyways! And, yes, I will continue with my galavanting.


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