Yosemite Hike: Gaylor Lakes

As we prepared for our summer trip to Yosemite, we planned on doing two hikes. The first hike would be the Panorama Trail with our friends Robyn and Jason. The second hike we intended to do was the hike to Cathedral Lakes.

Our Panorama Trail hike did a number on our out-of-shape legs. And although we had two full days to recover, we seriously doubted our ability to take on another “moderate” trail. So I pulled out our handy book – Yosemite National Park: A Complete Hiker’s Guide – and started browsing for alternatives in the high country.

The morning of our final day, we got going early to drive up to the Tuolumne Meadows area and check out the hike to Gaylor Lakes.

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What we gathered from our book was that the Gaylor Lakes hike was “easy” (a relative term for Yosemite hikes), offered beautiful scenery the likes of the Cathedral Lakes hike, and saw far fewer hikers. Winner!

The trailhead is located just inside the Tioga Pass entrance. It’s a pretty steep climb from there to the top of the ridge, but it’s not a long climb. Just as we were starting to regret our choice, the trail evened out and we were rewarded with glorious views of Dana Meadows and the surrounding mountains.

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While the views behind us were beautiful, they were nothing compared to what awaited us just beyond the ridge…

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The first lake you see is Middle Gaylor Lake. The lake is a good size and crystal clear. We made our way along the north side of the lake and then headed out towards Upper Gaylor Lake.

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At this point, we started to encounter larger patches of snow. The snow was quickly melting, and the trail was more of a stream than a walkable path. We made it to the south edge of Upper Gaylor Lake and hit our end point. We were hoping to make it a little farther and get to the Great Sierra Mine, but the snow cancelled those plans. So we turned around and found a nice spot to sit, eat our snacks, and take in the view.

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Seriously, I never wanted to leave. But eventually, it was time to start the hike out.

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And carefully make our way down the steep stretch we struggled to hike up.

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We absolutely loved the Gaylor Lakes hike in Yosemite National Park! It gave us just the right amount of challenge and rewarded us with amazing views. And our book was true to its word – There were barely any hikers out there. We encountered two guys headed out to fish, a dad and two boys heading back from fishing, and two other couples just hiking. For Yosemite, this is a rare occurrence. We soaked it up.

A beautiful day and a fun hike were the perfect endings to our time in Yosemite National Park and our summer vacation as a whole.

Anniversary in Yosemite

Where are we in my recap of our time in Yosemite this past June?

Our third full day in the park was the whole reason behind our choice of vacation location. Jason and I celebrated five years of marriage!

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We look so young!

Apparently one day of rest after our intense hike wasn’t enough, so we spent our anniversary hanging out around Yosemite Valley. We started with a visit to Yosemite Falls. For the first time in any of our trips, there was no crowd. It was glorious.

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The only real plans we had for the day was a nice lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel. We opted for lunch instead of dinner to save some money (plus, we weren’t going to miss out on any Pizza Deck dinners).

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I had the pastrami reuben with red potato salad. The sandwich was good, but the potato salad was a little bland.

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Jason had the french dip sandwich. He felt the same way about his lunch as I did about mine. It was good, but it wasn’t as good as he thought it would (or should) be.

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Even though our food was a little disappointing, it didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was that I was in my favorite place with my favorite person on our special day.

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We spent the rest of the day in Yosemite Village, exploring the visitor center and shopping at the Village Store. Finally, we took in the evening program at the Curry Amphitheater: the showing of a few episodes of Yosemite Nature Notes.

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Watching great Yosemite films in the shadow of Half Dome while sitting next to the love of my life? So perfect!

Meet Naya!

August was full of big changes, from losing my beloved dog to taking a new job. But why stop at just two major life changes?

Over Labor Day weekend, we adopted a new puppy!

Meet Naya!

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After Thea’s passing, I was a mess. But I wasn’t the only one. Bailey just seemed lost. She had never known our home without Thea, and they were best buds for close to eight years. As the days and weeks went by, we worried more and more about Bailey. I mean, it’s not like we could explain to her what happened.

Jason and I started perusing the most dangerous of sites for dog lovers: Petfinder. We knew that when we adopted again, we wanted a puppy. Jason put it best: We only get a relative handful of years with our dogs – We want to spend as many of those years with them as possible.

Despite the amount of time we spent on Petfinder, that is not where we found Naya. Jason found listings of labs/lab mixes on Rescue Me. One night while Jason was browsing, I suddenly stopped him from scrolling and told him to go back to a dog he passed. That was her – “Isabella.”

We contacted the woman who had “Isabella,” and she was still available. However, another family had also contacted her with an interest in the puppy, but they had not been able to get there to meet her. This was the Thursday before Labor Day. My last day at the university was Friday. We had a Brewers game on Friday night and the Badger football home opener on Saturday. “Isabella” was five and a half hours away from us.

The next day, we found out that the competition was planning to see “Isabella” on Saturday. If the family took her, it obviously was not meant to be.

Saturday morning, Jason got an email informing him that the other family was pulling out – They found another dog. 5:00am Sunday, we hit the road. About seven hours later, we were headed home with the new member of our family.

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As for her name, I knew I wanted to find a Yosemite-related name for our new little girl. But while Yosemite is pretty ripe with good boy names, it was difficult coming up with a girl’s name. Jason and I kept coming back to Tenaya. But Thea’s most common nickname was simply “T,” and I worried that it would be too easy to go back to that with another dog. Jason suggested shortening Tenaya to just Naya, and it fit.

Naya has been with us for about a month. She is an absolute sweetheart. She loves Bailey. And while she has definitely brought back Bailey’s spark, she’s a little too much for Bailey to handle at times. Bailey is a lover, not a fighter. But that disposition is a challenge to maintain when your ears, face, legs, etc. are being bitten by a little puppy.

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Bailey’s coming around.

Our vet is pretty positive that she does have some lab in her. The rescue group thought she was mixed with pointer. Our vet suggested border collie. Who knows.

To us, she’s a Naya dog.

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