Slogging up Wilts
Col with Cathedral Peak behind (Yosemite National
Nothing Ever Goes As Planned
As usual, we had big plans for
the weekend. Head up to Tuolumne and bag a few of the
Echo Peaks on Saturday; then climb the classic West Ridge of
Mount Conness on Sunday. But things went a little
haywire when some crazy friggin deer ran out of the meadows at full
speed and nearly killed us. I guess it proves the old
crux of any backcountry trip is always the drive.
Anyone who regularly visits
the Yosemite high country knows the spot. Driving east
on the Tioga Road beyond Tenaya Lake, you pass through steep
forested hillsides, catching only the occasional teasing
glimpse of the towering granite domes hidden above.
But at the narrow gap between Fairview and Pothole Domes,
the road emerges from its narrow chasm; the steep hillsides
fall away and the unrivalled beauty of Tuolumne Meadows
spreads out before you. Most people, when reaching this
spot after 4-5 hours of driving, are filled with elation --
the day is beautiful, the trailhead is near, the drive is
finally over. That is exactly how we felt for the
ten seconds until the deer ran into our car.
Yes, the deer ran into our
car. I'd like to say we hit the deer instead of
vice versa, because
at least then it would remove some of the randomness from
the event and make it possible to think that I could have
avoided it by employing more skillful technique behind the
wheel. But this deer was on its own agenda, and it was
apparently late for an appointment with my driver's side
window. It happened too fast for any reaction:
The early morning sun on the meadows, a brown blur out of
the corner of my left eye and suddenly I'm face to face with
A quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed that
the deer had the wherewithal to pick itself up off the
pavement before the next car administered the coup de grace.
It scampered off into the trees, never to be seen again.
Fortunately, nobody was injured (save, one may assume, the deer),
and the damage to the car did not render it undrivable (see
Since there was little we could do about the situation
except complain, we packed up our climbing gear and hit the trail.
Photos and Trip Report Continued