After outdoing my health the day before on too much elevation gain, I decided to take it easy and just do a little stroll to Mirror Lake. The signs and maps all say the trail is about a mile (one-way) and mostly flat, on a paved road. I could handle that.
Sure enough, I made it interesting again! I chose to hike the trail which parallels the road, just for the variety it offers. I'm not really a fan of paved trails. So after the mile, I arrived at the lake (two lakes actually) and took some photos. It's a beautiful flat valley, and the cliffs rising on either side are impressive (North Dome and Half Dome respectively). The green grass and foliage really sets this place apart.
Not content with just a mile, I decided to follow some use-paths along the creek, and before I knew it had probably hiked farther beyond the lake than I had to get there.
I know there was a loop trail, but it had been closed in 2009 due to a rock slide (it was well marked, even on the printed maps), so I knew there was no point in bailing out to that trail. But there should be a bridge crossing the creek at the east end of the old loop. That was my goal, but eventually the use trails dissipated into nothing, and I was doing some heavy bushwacking.
I did stumble upon a nice deer, who didn't seem to mind I had arrived, at least for a while, which was a nice encounter.
Eventually, I was able to find an area of deadfall that allowed me to get across the creek dry. (I could have crossed anywhere if I wanted to get wet. It was rarely more than waist deep, and usually not more than 20 feet wide).
Alas, upon crossing, I intersected with the well-maintained north side of the Mirror Lake Loop trail, which is used to access the Snow Creek Trail which leads up the north side of the valley up to Olmstead Point.
So the return trip was easy and uneventful, and as with the day before, many, many more people out enjoying the views. It seems that early mornings are the time for solitude in Yosemite!
|Reasonable spring flow in the creek. Nice views at Mirror Lake.|