(all images are clickable for a larger version)
Two third today, one third tomorrow – this was the plan for the remaining 19 miles. In the morning the trail still went up a bit from 9.300 ft to 9.800 ft over Cathedral Pass, but it did not really feel like a serious pass.
After the Sunrise Lakes Trail junction (9.300 ft) the trail went up a bit once again to 9.700 ft.
This was the last uphill on the trail! From now on I just had to walk down into the Yosemite Valley. In the afternoon I entered an area where in 2014 a lightning-induced big wildfire devastated the forest. Only 5 years later there were not yet new trees, other than in the burn area south of Red’s Meadow, but the ground was covered with scrub.
When the burn area finally ended, the trail followed the Sunrise Creek going down continuously.
Close to the junction with the trail to Clouds Rest I saw a campsite a bit below the trail, and someone waving to me. I went down and found those two hikers I had met regularily in the past days, because they walked a bit faster but had more breaks so that we traveled at about the same schedule overall. They were from Fresno and had started at Red’s Meadow for a one-week hike down to Yosemite valley.
I set up my tent at 7.300 ft – it was around 6 am, and we were only 6.6 miles from the trailhead in Happy Isles which should be easy enough for tomorrow. Another group arrived a little later. We had a campfire and talked a lot, and later in the tent I found that there was even cellphone service. Obviously I was nearly back into civilization.