FKT: Sara Aranda - El Capitan (CA) - 2021-05-25

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3h 31m 51s
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Yesterday, NPS unexpectedly began a prescribed burn just east of Tutokanula (El Capitan) on the valley floor, so I was worried about smoke conditions. But I felt that as long as I started early, the conditions would be in my favor. And they were! I left the edge of the Camp 4 parking lot around 6:19 A.M. and met the trail junction for Upper Falls & El Cap, et al, at around 58 minutes. I couldn't resist taking the quick detour to the Upper Falls cliff, then I continued up the El Cap trail. I encountered some downed trees and small sections of flooding, but I enjoyed the forced change of leg movement. Such gorgeous scenery! Green meadows and giant trees. I reached the summit of Tutokanula right around the 2:01 mark. The layer of smoke down below was visible and daunting to think I'd be descending into it. The descent was both fluid and technical, particularly the main descent from Upper Falls (which was quite "sandy"). But I reached my starting point at 3h 31m 51s.

This run is dedicated to the original caretakers of the land, which includes the Ahwahneechee and Miwok people. Tutokanula is the Ahwahneechee name for the El Capitan monolith, named after the "measuring worm" Tutokana, who climbed the rock face, which had suddenly risen from the river bank, to save two bear cubs stranded at its summit. The #landback conversation encompasses the notion of returning stewardship/ownership back to the tribes. A pertinent article was recently published about this, which I've been thinking about a lot lately:…