A Closure Rant

After talking to the Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows yesterday, we understood that we could take the bus down into the Valley and stay one night at the backpacker campground so that’s what Calves, Roadrunner, Catmando and I did. We might as well explore if our adventure is put on hold.

I spent the day exploring the touristy parts of the Valley and speaking with two Rangers trying to figure out if there is any way I can stay and explore the Valley while I wait for the closure to open. Because I’m so emotional from all of this and the first thing any Ranger says to me is “I’m so sorry” I’m crying as I’m trying to get information from them. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do. But once again they confirmed that I could stay in the backpackers campground for one night.

I walk around with Catmando a little more until he leaves for his bus and I burst to tears again. The realization hits me that even if I wait this out, so many people are done. Trash Panda is already on the CDT, B- on the Long Trail, Salty, Goofy and Shaggy are all going home. Roadrunner and Calves are going to go do the AZT in a few weeks. It’s just Mousetrap and I who are actively talking about waiting this out.

This is where the day gets spicy and I have another breakdown. I walk to the campground and see two more Rangers. I explain to them also that I’m a PCT hiker, I’m disappointed everything is closed and I know how to get bears to go away. Well, the camp host comes over and I tell her I’m PCT and she tells me I have just invalidated my permit and she can take it away from me and rip it up. Done. My hike is now truly done. I immediately burst to tears and I don’t understand why I keep getting beaten down.

I was doing my best to do what’s right, I talked Rangers all day today and they didn’t tell me I needed to get out of the Valley AND they said I could camp at the backpackers campground. I explain all of this to the camp host and she’s telling me I should have gotten a note from the Rangers telling me I could camp here because I should know that I can’t because when I got my permit it was all over the PCT website and things I needed to make sure I understood. Things that I had read MONTHS ago at this point.

There is so much conflicting information going on. On the Yosemite website it reads you need a permit to enter the Valley with a car, but nothing about the bus or walking in. This women keeps telling me she’s doing me a huge favor by not ripping up my permit and allowing me to stay at her campsite for the $6 and I’m just not understanding what I did wrong or why I had Rangers telling me it’s okay but now it’s not. This woman is threatening to give my information to the Rangers and other law enforcement but she’s “okaying” it for tonight but I better get out tomorrow. Again, I don’t understand why they have the bus system in place if I can’t use it to get into the Valley.

The camp host is badgering me until I go to sleep, telling me how I’m lucky I told her the truth and she’s compassionate enough to not rip up my permit. She said I’m only allowed 17 miles off the trail at any time and because I’m in the Valley I’m invalidating my permit. Which also doesn’t make sense to me because all of my resupplies are in towns further than that and I’ve needed to hitch in. AND there is no trail right now!! It’s all closed! What am I supposed to do just wait not 17 miles off trail for 2+ weeks? This is all so dumb.

All night she’s scolding me and I can’t hold myself together. I can’t think straight enough to have any of these arguments, I’m too emotional and scared she’s actually has the power to rip up my permit. All I do is try to be respectful, apologetic, and thankful. I never want to come back here. Yosemite and it’s so many rules that aren’t held by everyone. I don’t understand anything and I’ve had such a horrible time so far I never want to come back.

Meanwhile, I can’t walk across California because the ban is trying to prevent wildfires, but every single person in all of the campgrounds can have fires in the fire pits because “people associate camping with fires and if we took that away there would be an uproar”. Well I’m up-roaring that I can’t walk across the state on land that I pay taxes to keep up. Catmando had a good parallel, “let’s close Florida because it’s hurricane season”.

It’s been a horrible day full of misunderstandings. When I get back to Tuolumne tomorrow I’m going to speak to a Ranger and try to understand what is going on and why I have gotten scolded all night.

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Comments 3

  • John Doe : Sep 26th

    This is unfortunate. Just because you hike, you do not automatically become a punchball for emotional abuse and you were obviously stressed out enough even without getting lectured with BS. Yes, you need an additional permit to camp down in the valley but the idea that you invalidate another permit (PCT) by doing so is just stupid. You are allowed to take as many zeros as you like. The PCT permit does not regulate where you have to be in this time, there are no designated safe campgrounds where you have to spend your zeros.
    The rangers got it right, they know that a closure of national forests leave hikers like stranded. This was also an unusual situation nobody can prepare for, it makes no sense to get this additional permit just in case and in advance. This woman knows this exactly, therefore I guess her current job is maybe not the right one for her. Or she may need to re-qualify in fields like empathy. Good luck to you, hopefully you were able to continue after the closure was lifted again.

    • Morgan Balog : Oct 14th

      Thank you so so much for this comment. I was so emotional and you put it exactly right, I felt like a punching bag. I’ve continued hiking!! I’ll get my latest update out tomorrow. Thank you for your kind words!


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