Step Into Pictures – Yosemite High Sierra Camp Trail

September 19, 2013

. . . A New Perspective on Relationships
Number 12

Discover the spectacular scenery and have an adventure when riding mules in Yosemite National Park with a friend.


Ladder leading to pictureThis post is part of the “Step Into Pictures” series that offers you a new way to explore both difficult relationships and those you treasure. Visit the Step Into Pictures Archive to learn more about it.


Click on picture to see enlarged view
On the trail between Yosemite’s Glen Aulin and May Lake Sierra Camps
On the trail between Yosemite’s Glen Aulin
and May Lake Sierra Camps

Step into this picture now, or continue reading to learn more about it . . .

NOTE: If you’ve been following the step-into-picture posts, you may notice that this is the first one in which I suggest you tell someone — a good  friend or one with whom  you have had problems — that you would like them to join you in the scene.  I suspect this will make it a different experience than simply imagining that they are having a conversation with you in the picture.

The first photo in the step-into-pictures series, on February 7, 2013, was taken at Merced Lake, during a Yosemite High Sierra Camp mule ride my husband and I took in 2004. We had frequently backpacked in the Sierra, but this is the first time we road. This made it possible for us to stay at five different camps, Glen Aulin, May Lake, Sunrise, Merced Lake, and Vogelsang, without needing to bring along a heavy pack.

All the camps are spaced about 5½ to 10 miles apart along a loop trail that takes you through some of the most beautiful and scenic regions of the park. Overnight accommodations at High Sierra Camps include a full dinner and breakfast, served up family-style in cozy dining tents. We slept in cabins while people camping in nearby backpacker campgrounds could also share in these hearty meals.

Are You Ready to Manage a Mule?

There is no doubt that the scenery is spectacular, but whether you decide to tell another person that you would enjoy being with him or her in this scene, or even imagine that person is with you, let me tell you a little about this particular picture.

In a post on November 8, 2012, Unscrambling Your Brain on a Mountain Trail, I wrote about Yosemite’s up-and-down trails that were steeper than we’d expected. In fact, the woman who rode in front of me was from South Carolina and an experienced horsewomen. She had been down the Grand Canyon on mule and said this was the steepest trail she’s been on.

Of course, mules, being what they are, were far more sure-footed than the horses ridden by the husband and wife wranglers who lead us through the wilderness. But it took a lot of energy to stay upright and keep my mule from browsing along the way.

Since a mule has more muscles in his neck that I have in my whole body on a good day, pulling his head up once he started eating was impossible. The trick was to jerk the reigns just before he put his head down. But we also were told to give our mules lots of reign while going up or down because that made it easier for the mule to keep his balance. It also allowed the mule’s head to be closer to the ground, which was closer to grass. With little distance to move toward it since the reign was slack, he did more grazing than he would have with a better horsewoman. Mulewoman?

My mule, Bruno, didn’t give a fig if he brushed past a tree and scrapped my knee or even took off my kneecap. Just another tourist. Just another load to bear.

My inability to get Bruno to pay attention to my wishes taught me all the humility I need right now.

Before Setting Off, Take a Virtual Ride

Was the scenery great? Absolutely.

Was it an adventure? You bet your life.

Would we do it again? Not on your life; at least not until they invent a guaranteed anti-aging technique. Such trips are for much younger people, or at least older folks in better shape than we are. So if you are fit enough, consider taking a real, live mule trip in a spectacular national  park.

Otherwise, you can imagine that the scenery was great and you were having an adventure — without needing to manage a mule.

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