Monday, September 14
We took our time in the morning then hiked three miles. We passed two waterfalls, California and La Conte. Even in September the river flows with enough strength to kick up water at these falls, which are somewhere between cascades and falls. The Tuolumne falls form a giant staircase thru the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. And that adjective is well deserved. The canyon walls are polished granite and towering at places, looking much like Little Yosemite Valley. If this place were not so remote due to the dam, it would be a popular destination year round. As it is, it is unaccessible after the Tioga Road closes, and we saw noone else but our fishermen friends and two hikers from the Bay Area. The forest at this point includes many large pines and firs. Eden found us a hidden but well used campsight in a pine grove at a bend near Waterwheel Falls.
After we set up camp, most of us hiked down to Waterwheel. At the top of the falls, the valley opens up in a spectacular vista below. The falls plummet down a long incline in the granite that at times points upwards, causing the water to swirl. Eden and Patrick zipped down the rocks. Theresa and David followed, but Stefen, Pete and I stayed back. Later Stefen and I took the steep path down to the base of the falls and found swimming holes.
On our return up the hill, we ran into Gabriel and Sonny, who had separated from the other fishermen. When their companions found them hours later some lecturing followed. After dinner, the fishermen joined us, shared their liquor, and Maxwell described elaborate hazing incidents that were no longer tolerated when women were first allowed into the force.