Friday, October 15, 2010
June 26, 2010 - Yosemite Valley (Saturday)
I was looking down, focused on making sure my own feet landed on the right logs, but up ahead, I heard a loud crack. I looked up from my own precarious crossing just in time to watch Dan teeter under the weeight of his pack--and fall into the river.
The spot he went into happened to be a deep trough under a huge uprooted tree on its side, so he was able to keep himself from going in completely by scrambling, flailing and struggling to grab hold of the roots. He went in up to about his chest, pack, boots, and all.
Pretty alarming... the current was strong here, and I was too far away to be able to reach him in any sort of rapid fashion, but I called out to him to make sure he was ok. Peter, who had crossed first and was already on the far bank, heard the same loud CRRRACK! I did, alertly spotted the problem, dropped his own pack on the shore, and bounded back out the fallen logs to help. He grabbed Dan's pack and helped haul him out of the water, and then grabbed one of my Nalgene bottles that was floating away. (Like an idiot, I'd dropped it while fumbling to get it onto a gear loop so I could go help Dan.)
So we walked back to the car and drove to the backpackers campground. Ugh. After we got camp set up, it was starting to get dark, and we began to consider our food options for the night: get the stoves out, or walk back down to the village and get pizza and beers at the lodge. Hardly a choice, so we zipped up the tent and hoofed it once again BACK toward the village. Along the way, we walked past the spot where Dan and the Merced river got to know each other. It was a long way to the lodge in gathering dark, but the payoff was awesome. A good pepperoni, olive, mushroom, and bacon pizza can cure many ills, and we were soon laughing and chatting again.
After dinner, we decided as long as we were in the area, we should track someone down who could help us figure out when the earliest shuttle to Tuolumne departed the valley, and we found what we thought was the best POSSIBLE person: the head shuttle dispatcher herself! We told her of our troubles, and after much hunting and radioing of other people to double-confirm, she informed us that the earliest shutle in the morning left at 10:55am. Perfect... no early rising necessary to break camp!