Trip Report
Food for Dreams - Annual Tuolumne Family Campout

by Risk
Sunday September 16, 2012 11:59pm
Credit: TMJesse

In true traditional fashion, we made our annual family pilgrimage to Tuolumne Meadows for relaxation, fun with friends, exploring, climbing, sleeping in, campfire tales, lazy days at Tenaya, and moments of special realization so easily had there.

Instead of our usual I-5 drudgery, we took 101 all the way to Eureka and through Redwood National Park

But the main goal was to make camp at a good site and wander over to Soda Springs for a good long drink or those fine waters

This is the center of the universe , if anyone has ever wondered

The gathering for the evening sunset across from the TM store was pretty amazing. Almost like a daily group prayer or something

My brother joined us this year, and so the tradition grows

The trees at Lake Tenaya have the most interesting roots. I actually took pictures of most of them as sort of a record and photo study

I have pictures my folks took of me and memories at Tenaya from 1962, so I can say I have roots here

Lake Tenaya was our near-daily place to go at the end of each day. Thunder, lightning on the peaks and gentle sprinkling chased off the wary, so the beach was deserted and a surreal aura along with near silence set in.

To spend the better part of a whole day here doing nothing noteworthy is a really good use of one’s time, we think.

This hike I somehow never remember taking before.

This hemlock forest was the most beautiful I have ever recall visiting

One we settled in for the top roping for the kids and a stepped back to view the place we were, I realized that I have dreamed of this place many, many times. This place is Food for Dreams.

“is it my turn yet?”



Up there

“What am I suppose to do with this?”

Pretty steep

“what are we doing up here?”

This is an embarrassing and forlorn example of what can happen with age and no conditioning. A straightforward and solid 5.8 turned into a gripped epic. At least I tried and enjoyed it.

Others nearby didn’t have the same problem I had. . . . .

We really liked the hemlock forest before the rain

Tuolumne domes are a magical place.

“Camp Runner”

Pancakes with bacon and whipped cream


We lucked out – no one showed up but us for the ride!

A highlight of our trip was seeing old friends. Somehow time stands still in Yosemite,

Cowboy stew back at camp after a long day on the trail

And then a friendly visit from Ranger Koegler

Checkin out Dana Gardens

Hangin with my brother and my best friend at Dana Gardens for a picnic.

We proclaimed this spot “Yodelworthy.”

The forest around Lake Tenaya is pretty darn cool, but rarely do I take note.

Sitting down for a final TM Campground Dinner on Night 7.

A “last day” hike to awesome Bennettville.

There's something very special about the creek crossing at Bennetville. Can’t quite say what it is; a very special place with that great smell and creek-songs of high country meadows. Always with loved ones.

Farewell, Tuolumne! We’ll see you next year!

We just barely made it to Priest Station Café two minutes before closing and just in time for the last of the day’s incredible sunset. Food and service, and whole place was totally first rate. We’ll definitely be coming back here.

Onward home to Olympia always includes a stopover at Timid Top Rope and Nita’s in Chico, with a dip in the pool. Chico, Timid Top Rope and Nita are quite honestly the highlight of the trip for my daughters. Endless thanks!

And, we were serenaded by Timid Top Rope playing a really special adaptation of “You Sexy Thing. ” He needs to play it at this year’s Facelift, I say.

  Trip Report Views: 1,436
About the Author
TMJesse ("Risk") is a former Yosemite backcountry ranger and climber's friend from Olympia, WA.

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Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Sep 17, 2012 - 12:08am PT
Great family vacation! You are one of the good kind of dads.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
  Sep 17, 2012 - 12:10am PT
Awesome TR! Love the sunset on the deck at Priest Grade Cafe, that is the best chaser after a Yosemite trip.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 17, 2012 - 12:38am PT
life is sweet
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:33am PT
So cool!

Can't believe your girls are so big now...and I still haven't met them:-(
What a great dad...dreams indeed. Keep building them.

However, I'm a bit worried about those scruffy characters being thrown into the mix.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:40am PT
Very nice....looks like everyone had a great time!

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:41am PT
I noticed too how much your girls had grown this past year.
Wonderful TR. We'll look forward to another one next year.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Sep 17, 2012 - 11:01am PT
TFPU, looks like a memorable trip.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Sep 17, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
It's always a treat to read your annual TM TR, TMJ. Nice to know your daughters like Chico and nita as much as I do.

Also really cool that this trip looks to be exactly 50 years from possibly your first camp out up there with your parents.

Great to see Hoss is still up there at the stables. I remember he used to really cut it up in TM sidehall and can cut loose with a killer version of Blue Moon when inspiration hits.

And, we were serenaded by Timid Top Rope playing a really special adaptation of “You Sexy Thing. ” He needs to play it at this year’s Facelift, I say.
If a certain ST member shows up for Facelift, I'm changing the chorus to "I believe in Milktoast. Where you from? You soggy thing, you soggy thing you!"
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Sep 17, 2012 - 04:14pm PT
What a warm and fuzzy report.
You know how to do a good vacation.

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 17, 2012 - 05:48pm PT
Awesome family tyme
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 18, 2012 - 06:06pm PT
Nice pics,
I ALWAYS epic on 5.8.....:)
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