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Julia, Nena, Doug, Creedence, Aaron, Nicki, Amy, Stephan, and Sadie (Creedence and Liz’s husky) and I converged on Upper Pines campground in the “icebox,” region of the Yosemite Valley. It’s called the ice box because very little sun every hits it due to the 3,000 foot granite walls which surround this corner of the valley. This trip was a last minute substitution for my weekend plans, having been told about it only a few days before Friday. Julia and Nena brought five sleeping bags between the two of them even though it was a comfortable 50F most of the weekend.

Julia, Nena and I left Berkeley at rush hour on Friday, which in hindsight was rather unintelligent. We stopped at Chipotle for dinner on the drive east. We set-up camp on Friday after dark after asking everyone in the campground if they were “with Doug,” and after being told accidentally by Creedence and Aaron that we needed to leave because they had some friends coming; it turns out we were the friends they were expecting.

The trip had two main highlights: the menu, and our hike to North Dome on Saturday. Friday night we had homemade cookies made by Amy and Julia and what was left of the Dutch oven macaroni and cheeze. Saturday we made pumpkin pancakes with walnuts, chocolate chips, and bananas. Creedence made some bourbon maple syrup and someone brought blackberries to go along. The pancakes came out with a spongy, cake-like consistency that made them appetizing even for cold snacking on the trail. Saturday night we cooked bratwursts and hot Italian sausage over the campfire and served them with peppers, onions, and toasted rolls. Amy improvised banana boats with the leftover bananas for dessert. Saturday morning, Nicki and Amy made a superb egg keish in the Dutch over at Tuolumne Meadows for breakfast while those of us who weren’t climbing played bocce ball. We even grabbed ice cream at Big Dipper on the drive back to Berkeley.

On Saturday we drove to the northern road and did a 9.5 mile hike to North Dome. The trail was a little snowy at times, but it was very manageable in sneakers and the sun warmed us as we hiked. The hike was my only break from an all-weekend-long food coma. Saturday we visited Soda Springs at Tuolumne Meadows. It was my first time visiting both of these locations in the park.