We woke at 5:00AM to head to the Valley to retrieve Doug. We were greeted in typical Doug style: a jubilant, jumping, tackling, swinging us in the air, screaming reunion. Doug smelled of a concert, and had the giddiness of being in the Valley for the first time combined by not enough sleep after a day of traveling and a concert look to him. We headed to Degnan’s Deli to grab some coffee, which we withheld from Doug, for our own good. We stopped by the El Cap Meadow, before begrudgingly pulling Doug out of the Valley to head to Tuolumne Meadows. We knew he would be grumbly, but we knew the heat in the Valley was terrible, and that Tuolumne was AWESOME, and he would love it once he got there.
We headed right to Zee Tree to climb. Now that the weather was finally cooperating, we could finally get on it. We enjoyed the slabby, well bolted climb that led to a final pitch corner crack to the summit. A short rappel and a walkoff down huge sloping slabs of granite brought us down the back of the dome and to a trail to the car.
Back at camp we found 4 tents in our campsite. Our pay stub was clearly hung on the site number post, and it was also clear they had taken it out of our rain protecting plastic bag to look at it. Fortunate for us, a ranger was in the campground impounding a dog that someone had left in their tent while they were away from the campground… a big no-no especially in mountain lion and bear terrain. The ranger came over, and impounded all of the gear; inventorying and packing into the park service vehicle with the other coolers that had to be impounded for being left unattended. This may sound harsh, but it is because of people not storing there food properly that the bears have become problems in camping areas. Each campsite has its own large metal bear proof bin to store all food and scented items in. We thanked the ranger for her help and took a picture with her before we enjoyed to delicious vegetable sauce and pasta prepared by Doug.
We spent the remainder of the evening, organizing camp, the car, and our gear for climbing the Northwest Buttress of Tenaya Peak in the morning. The people who set up camp in our site showed up, wondering where their stuff was. We told them the ranger had impounded it since they set up in our camp, and did not pay for a site. They apparently “didn’t know” they had to pay for a site and post the tag proving payment. They were friendly enough, despite having to now go pay to get their gear back and find a place to stay for the night.
We played a rousing round of Killer Bunnies and snacked before heading to bed for the night. Doug forgot to pack his tent, and warm sleeping bag, so he hung his hammock, dressed in baselayers, and used one of our sleeping bags to stay warm in the 35 degree night chill.