On our last day, we drove north of the valley, up Tioga Road, to do a hike near Tuolumne Meadows called Cathedral Lakes. I was excited about this one -- it was really the only hike I definitely wanted to do.
The trailhead was just before Tuolumne itself; we pulled off the road and parked beside the other cars and the group of port-o-johns.
There are two lakes, Upper and Lower, and we only went to Lower. I wish we'd done both, but Lower was not lacking in scenery. To me, it was the epitome of a high-altitude mountain lake, with peaks in the background and a nice view out the other side.
Look at this place!
We found the spot where the lake spills over when California's NOT in a drought...
There were a couple of tents set up here; I'd definitely attempt a night near this lake next time I'm in Yosemite! It's so beautiful and peaceful, and way less crowded than anything in the valley, for sure.
As we were leaving the lake, Marcus spotted "something" a ways off the trail. I looked and saw a beaver. Marcus HAD to take about a billion photos -- beavers (and raccoons) are apparently novel to the Brits.
On the way back down, we stepped aside to let a parade of horses (mules?) by. They were led by a woman who said she takes the animals up to High Sierra Camp every couple of days to drop off groceries and bring back garbage. What a job!
So yeah, this was probably my favorite hike of the entire week -- very highly recommended!
Squirrels: one million
Chipmunks: also one million