I woke up before dawn, ready for the day’s adventure. The goal for today was to hike over Donahue Pass, which stands at a towering height of 11,073 feet, and find camp a few miles later. I was excited about the journey but also nervous since I had heard from fellow hikers that this pass can be a challenge.
My friend Don and I headed to the Visitors Center at Yosemite to get the walk-up permits we needed for our trek. Don was already there, having arrived 45 minutes earlier than me, and was first in line. Thankfully, we managed to secure the day-of permits for exiting Yosemite via Donahue Pass, and we set off on our adventure. As we left, we said goodbye to our three friends who were heading home from Tuolumne Meadows.
On the Trail to Donahue Pass
The trail was busy with dozens of PCT hikers who had started their journey at the southern terminus around May 8th. They looked exhausted but determined to reach their destination. I admired their grit and wondered how many of them would go on to complete the hike.
I had stocked up on supplies in Tuolumne Meadows, but now I had more food than my backpack could handle, which made it heavy and burdensome. By the time we reached the top of Donahue Pass, my back was in agony, and I was dehydrated, dizzy, and feeling nauseous. I knew I needed to rest, but we still had a long way to go.
A Rough Day on the Trail
Finally, we made it to our campsite a few miles southeast of Donahue Pass. I skipped dinner and drank some water before slipping into my sleeping bag. I hoped our hike to Reds Meadow tomorrow would be better, and I vowed to take things a bit easier since I didn’t want to climb another pass in that condition anytime soon.
The first part of our journey had been a challenge, but it was also a great start to what was shaping up to be an unforgettable JMT backpacking trip.