Hoisting a 30 pound backpack on my small frame is a challenge. Making sure all the camping and climbing gear was spread evenly between Andy and myself, we started our 3 mile hike to Cathedral Pass, where we would set up a base camp for two nights. If you enjoy being in nature and away from the normal crowds of Yosemite Valley, then backpacking the back country is for you.

Hiking Yosemite

Our goal: climb Cathedral Peak.

Stopping for breaks during our 1600 foot elevation gain was necessary due to the high altitudes. While hiking the strenuous sections of the trail, I could feel my lungs gasp for more air. Budd Creek’s clear water tempted us to take a dip as we did not expect the temperatures to be in the mid-70s in June when snow usually keeps areas around Tuolumne Meadows closed.

Tuolumne Meadow

Tuolumne Meadow – Trailhead Parking for Cathedral Lakes/Budd Creek Hikes

Walking through the trees enjoying the shade, views of the Sierra Mountain Range were breathtaking.

High Sierras

Views of Sierra mountains on Budd Creek Trail

Nearing the end of our hike, Echo Peaks and Cathedral Peak played hide-and-seek through the trees until coming to Cathedral Pass. We hiked past Cathedral Peak and over the saddle to get out of the no-camping zone. We found a flat area and set up camp.


Backcountry Campsite

Keeping the tent’s rain shields rolled back to enjoy the wind, we enjoyed amazing views of Cathedral Peak through the mesh tent walls as we napped. We ate our Mountain House dinners and scoped out our climbing route for the next day. I did a couple of time lapses to fill time before sunset.

Campsite View

Views of Cathedral Peak from the Tent

I woke up a few times throughout the night to start and end a star time lapse. Living in a city keeps me away from starry night skies, which I miss terribly. Being from a small town enjoying the Milky Way on a clear night makes me miss my hometown’s remoteness.

Time Lapse of Night Sky above Echo Peaks

After waking up, Andy tried to eat some breakfast before feeling sick. I rarely see Andy unable to eat. He decided to go back to sleep for a couple more hours in hopes to feel better before leading the Cathedral Peak route. Unfortunately, he continued feel weak and would try walking around. Was he dehydrated or nervous for the climb? The conclusion continued to loop back around to altitude sickness. At one point we put our harnesses on and racked up. Once getting to the route, Andy scrubbed the climb. It is times like this when I wish I was comfortable leading.

Cathedral Peak

Climbing route is on right side of above image.

Our day of rest was nice; I could think of worse places to chillax for a day. Unfortunately, our trip was coming to an end. Our last night, we enjoyed our third beautiful sunset before climbing into the tent to escape the blood sucking mosquitoes.

Echo Peaks

Sunset lighting up Echo Peaks

Reluctantly packing up our campsite, we repacked our bags to hike the Cathedral Lake trail. Hiking down to the lake valley, we enjoyed walking downhill for a change with our heavy packs taking fewer breaks than on the hike out.



Our loop hike came to an end after photographing a chipmunk gathering food beside the trail and passing day hikers with light day packs. We dumped our bags in the hot car, picked up our food from a bear locker at the trailhead and went to wash the 4 days of sweat and mosquito guts off my pink sun burned skin.

Cathedral Lake Hike

Andy on Cathedral Lake Trail

We spent the remaining hours of being in the park by driving Route 120 West to the Tioga Pass Entrance. We enjoyed the landscape heading back 120 East to San Francisco as we twisted and turned through mountain passes to get back to almost sea level. It is always hard boarding a plane knowing you have to go back to work the next morning.

Tioga Pass

Tioga Pass

Mountains near Tioga Pass Entrance

What is your favorite hike in Yosemite?

If you liked this post, please share it. To follow me on my journey to travel the world please subscribe to my RSS feed or any of my social networks.