Glen Aulin Backpacking

Glen Aulin Backpacking Campsite

We originally had two backpacking trips planned for Yosemite. However, we skipped the first one to give me another week to heal before setting off for the backcountry. So, on the Thursday of our trip, we set out for Tuolumne Meadows to reach the Glen Aulin trailhead.

Tuolumne Meadows is about an hour from the Valley so it took us a little while to get up there. On the drive up, there was rain, thunder and lightening. Oh boy. Of course – we didn’t bring our rain jackets either. Since I am still recovering, I only carried a daypack with water, and Austin carried all of our food and gear for the night. We tried to pack lightly.

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip
It was pretty nice not carrying a pack into the backcountry!

Starting the Hike

We made it to the trailhead and set off for Glen Aulin. Some friends of ours hiked to all of the high sierra camps in Yosemite. We picked this one because they told us Glen Aulin is their favorite. It turned out to be perfect for me since I am still recovering – there isn’t much elevation gain, and it’s a pretty hike. It was just under 6 miles from the trailhead to camp. We didn’t have the greatest weather hiking in, but luckily it never poured rain on us.

Once we got to camp, we found a site to set up. We got a late start since we worked in the morning, so we were late setting up camp. To our surprise, we found the most amazing space at the back of the backpacker’s area. We were on a cliff looking out over the creek with waterfalls. We slept to the sound of rushing water all night – it was great!! Also, the stars were absolutely amazing in the backcountry.

Glen Aulin Backpacking Site
The creek that ran right by our tent

Hiking Back Out

The next morning we packed up and set off back for the Jeep. Luckily the weather was nicer so we took advantage of a lot of the scenic points and lingered a bit. We had breakfast overlooking Tuolumne Falls and man, it was beautiful!! The hike follows the river for a lot of the journey, so we had gorgeous views the whole time.

Glen Aulin Backpacking - the trail is gorgeous

We stopped by Soda Springs on the way out (about a half a mile from the trailhead) but honestly weren’t that impressed. Maybe it’s better at different times of the year?? We got to the Jeep around lunch time, so we decided to head over to Tenaya Lake to eat.

Tenaya Lake

We took our beach chairs down to the shore of the lake, and it was a perfect spot to dip our feet in the water and eat after a long hike. We actually considered going out to eat for lunch. However, neither one of us brought ANY money, and we couldn’t find an open restaurant due to COVID anyway. A lakeside picnic with our leftover backpacking food was perfect!

Tuolumne Sequoia Grove

After lunch, we started making our way back to the Valley. We stopped off at Olmsted Point, and it was yet another awesome view of the park.

After that, we decided to check out Tuolumne Grove of Sequoias. Neither one of us had ever seen a Sequoia tree, so it disappointed us to have our reservations at Sequoia NP canceled for COVID. However, it’s awesome that Yosemite has sequoias too! We stopped off at the grove, and the trees were very impressive. They blew our minds!

Almost Ran Out of Gas

After seeing the awesome trees, we went across the street to get gas. We hoped that we could pay with our phones inside the station since we didn’t bring any money and our gas light had been on for a long time. We were really worried when we pulled in and saw that the inside gas station was closed – it was pay at the pump only. Oh no! We talked to another car there, and they put $5 in our tank. I promised to Venmo them back as soon as we got service. And I did – I sent him $10 as soon as I could!

We luckily made it back to the RV in the Valley without running out of gas. We felt so refreshed after a night of being completely unplugged. It is so nice to be away from everything! We slept in the backpackers campground that night before being able to sleep in the RV again.

Finally Some Bears

Just after set up our tent in the backpackers campground, our neighbors pointed out a black bear to us! I didn’t get a good picture of it, but after all of this time in the park with no sightings, we were beginning to wonder if the bears are just a giant myth!!

The blob under the tree is a bear

We both slept surprisingly well in the tent. It might have helped that I rigged up a “ceiling fan” for us using our USB fan and external battery! We had a relaxing morning and once our site in Upper Pines was clear, we walked back to the RV to get settled in for our last night in Yosemite.

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