On the first night of a hike from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow, we camped at the uppermost meadow in Lyell Canyon, just below the jump above treeline (and below the tarn that's up higher). We were a party of four, backpacking with a combination of styles: the old-schoolers had hauled in some actual canned food and pancake mix, and two of us had planned out Mtn House and Alpineair meals. Ah, but the primo meal that first night after banging out some miles with heavy packs was genuine spaghetti with marinara and sausage we'd packed in, frozen in a #10 can, with french bread. Anyone who knows what a number 10 is has an idea of the feast that ensued, and in the morning we were headed to summit Lyell before dropping down toward Island Pass.
As we ate dinner, over in the clearing by the cliffs on the east side of the creek, a large bear cruised by the creek. It never really looked right at us, but we knew there was no way it hadn't smelled the garlic, tomato and fennel. So, after dinner, we scrubbed everything well at a site about 100 yards from camp, and then clambered up some trees on two sides of a gully, extending a taut line between them and suspending all our food bags and cooking pots about 15' above the floor of the gully. We *expected* Yogi to return and were confident he's never reach this. A Kodiak would have to tip-toe to reach this thing.
That night, the skies opened and there was a torrential storm that included lightning strikes on the rocks adjacent to us. At one point, sand/particles hit the tent I was in, and it was a gnarly night with little sleep. Certainly, not a night for anyone or anything to roam about. When the storm finally broke at about 5am, we clambered out of our tents, bleary-eyed, to assess one another and comment on the storm. After a few minutes, we joked about how we hoped our food hadn't been hit by a lightning strike to the big aluminum pot we'd suspended and how not even Yogi himself would have been out last night.
It was brisk, so I pulled out the XGK and we decided to saunter down and draw lots for who had to climb the cold, wet tree on one end to drop our taut line. Imagine our surprise when we came around a tree and saw our line, taut alright, but suspending only open-ended sacks. There, on the ground was the aluminum pot and some bitten Alpineair foods (you know, those wheat noodles were too gross even for bears), but completely missing: an entire box of Bisquick, two large cans of Vienna Sausage, all the Mtn. House (stroganoff as I recall), all the jerky and dried apricots, all the trail mix... We were cleaned out.
There was no sign of flour on the ground, so we deduced that Yogi and his cohorts had been there before the storm let up. The trees we were tied to didn't even flex under our weights on the way up and the line was undamaged.
We concluded that Yogi was Mrs. Yogi and that she had escaped from the circus after learning the skills to have the two kids stand on her shoulders. 30 years later, I stand by this analysis!
There was no such thing as a cell phone. Our "ride" from Reds Meadow wasn't expecting us for a week, but she was still in Tuolumne Meadows that morning and not due to leave until the afternoon check-out. We packed as fast as we could, and bolted for Tuolumne, hoping Mom didn't decide to pack up the camper early and head down to Mono Lake with my little brother. The packs were somewhat lighter...