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Yosemite Valley - Happy Isles Trailhead - 2 members in 8 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 22 2019
mckee80
avatar

 Routes 1
 Photos 44
 Triplogs 2

48 male
 Joined Jun 05 2019
 Cranberry Twp, P
Yosemite Mist Trail- Clouds Rest- Merced River, CA 
Yosemite Mist Trail- Clouds Rest- Merced River, CA
 
Hiking avatar May 22 2019
mckee80
Hiking17.30 Miles
Hiking17.30 Miles
38 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
In January, I found out I was going to have 5 free nights near Fresno in May. I found out that it wasn’t a good time to be doing what I wanted to do. I looked into Skyline to Sea and Henry Coe, but I really wanted to be in the mountains and I had the gear for it. The melt was going well and it was 70 and sunny in the valley leading up to my trip. Glacier Point Road opened up and we had an itinerary starting at Glacier Point to LYV and beyond. Then they started calling for a winter storm watch, then warning. So, that was a bummer. But my buddy had never been to Yosemite and I really love it there, so we figured we would lower expectations a bit and make the best of it.

Sat, May 18
We headed up 41 to the valley. I stopped to get a picture from Tunnel View (it is a sentimental place for my wife and I and I told her I would get a couple pictures we could stitch together for some wall art). Got pretty lucky everything wasn’t clouded over yet. And stopped at the Bridalveil turnout for a view of El Cap that I’m fond of.

We got to the backpackers campground and got set up right before the rain started. There were four groups there, I think. One group had about a dozen people with big coolers and bikes, which was confusing. I found out later that it was a group of volunteers working on one of the Pines campgrounds. With Glacier Point Road closed, we changed our permit to start at Happy Isles (there were only 15 spots left!). Oh, and I have to mention how surprised I was that they don’t price gouge beer in the village store. It was $0.99 - $1.29 a can!

Sun, May 19
It was raining in the morning, and it looked like it was going to stay that way. We decided to get going, more time to dry out in our tents at LYV. I saw a coyote, which was pretty cool. It’s a longer walk from the backpackers campground than I thought. It was around 8:30 and we didn’t see many people at all. In fact, we didn’t see another person until a solo hiker passed us on the footbridge. We had rain all the way up Vernal Falls. It wasn’t too bad, it had a different kind of feel to it with fog and mist and low clouds. We had the top to ourselves.

It started to snow as we made our way up Nevada Falls. We saw maybe 5 people. Then it really started to snow. It was really pretty, but I was getting a little nervous about the snow and ice collecting on the little mini stairs on the trail.

We got to LYV and there were a couple inches of snow. But then the sun came out and it was crazy how fast the snow melted. It was so cool how the trees were dropping snowballs everywhere.

Mon, May 20

It was absolutely beautiful in the morning. I just walked around with my camera and enjoyed the sun.

This was supposed to be the nicest day, so we headed up towards Clouds Rest. The trail was covered in snow starting at the junction with the JMT (7200 feet) at 9:00 ish. We headed up through the woods and the maybe 3-4 inches of snow. Around the quarter domes, it was 6-8 inches and very wet and slushy. Every step was accompanied by a half step slide back it seemed like. My microspikes were defeated, and in time, so was my spirit. My legs were rubber and I fell a couple times, so I called it right there. Still some pretty good views from there, but the clouds were getting lower. The snow was significantly melted on our way down, ending at around 7500 feet. We stayed in LYV again that night.

Tues, May 21

The next morning was fog and rain. We decided to hike out to Glacier Point and hope that things cleared up, at least for a little bit. Spoiler alert – that did not happen. We missed the turn for the Panorama Trail and went through the ice cut. I guess we didn’t look far enough ahead, so we got stuck clinging to the wall in the middle of it while a pack train came through. Luckily, we realized our mistake and got to go back through it. It was deep in places. You could keep your feet mostly dry with precision rock hopping. There were a couple trees down over the trail, including a huge one we had to bushwack around near Panorama Point. The “view” from Panorama Point was a disappointment. And we decided to turn around there. But the sun came out for about 5 minutes as we crossed back over Nevada Falls.

We decided to pack up and head up the Merced for the next two nights. The rain and snow hung overhead like we were in a peanuts cartoon. I love the idea of finding cool campsites, but in practice, I suck at it. And my incompetence was exacerbated by low visibility and reluctance to poke around too much in the rain. We ended up finding a previously used campsite right by where the trail washes out beneath what sounded like water coming off the cliffs. We got warm and dry in the tents and sat beneath the little tarp I brought (really came in handy), ate, had a little whiskey, and hit the sack.

Wed, May 22

Woke to a drop dead gorgeous scene. The sun came out, there was snow everywhere. We could see the cascades from the cliffs we heard the night before. I walked around in my last pair of dry socks, garbage bags, and crocs. Besides being stylish, they worked perfectly until I got cocky and crossed the stream in them. Apparently, I had created some holes in the bags wandering through the brush.

We had a leisurely morning, then headed up to Merced Lake on a day hike. This was actually the best weather day we had. It was sunny, and there was water EVERYWHERE. We saw two people at the cascades and that was it for the day. And for the first time this trip, we made it to our destination.

And, I was secretly hoping to see waterwheels, and I got to!

Thurs, May 23

We got up and moving early and got to the valley by noon. The “Ice Cut” is so cool in the spring. This video is from the second part of it. I was too busy getting soaked to film the first part (the waterfall in the background).

Those switchbacks down the JMT seemed like they would never end. We were re-introduced to the throngs at the footbridge. I talked with a guy who was there chaperoning a sixth grade field trip. I saw one woman come around the bend on the paved part and half whisper “oh my goodness”. It was cool to see everyone enjoying the scene, although there was a serious lack of trail manners. Made me glad we didn’t come down the Mist Trial.

I had some family stuff to do, then stopped by Kings Canyon on the way back to Fresno.

So, basically, those who said “don’t go” were right, and so were those who said “go anyway”. We had the gear to stay comfortable, and it was great to be out in the wilderness, but it would have been nice to catch a few more views. It was cool to get some experience in snow. Now I know what people are talking about with consolidated vs new snow and how that affects my hiking.
Geology
Geology
Waterwheel
Jun 11 2014
chumley
avatar

 Guides 75
 Routes 667
 Photos 13,319
 Triplogs 1,431

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA 
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jun 11 2014
chumley
Backpack16.51 Miles 3,521 AEG
Backpack16.51 Miles      17 Mns   58.27 mph
3,521 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Jobobadoo
John9L
juliachaos
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
This was a very leisurely and relaxing two night trip from Tenaya Lake (Sunrise TH) to Happy Isles. We camped a mile below Clouds Rest the first night after getting started in mid-afternoon. I did an evening summit of Clouds Rest while the others stayed in camp. The next morning we all summited Clouds Rest together, which is perhaps the most scenic spot in the entirety of Yosemite National Park. From there we descended to Sunrise Creek, taking an off-trail route that brought us out to the spectacular views of Quarter Domes.

That night we camped near the creek, and got up to summit Half Dome at night under the full moon (separate triplog). Friday morning after a short nap, we made the final descent into the valley, enjoying the constant flow of the Merced River, but irritated by the crowds of people.

Pizza and showers in Curry Village followed by a bear-filled night at the backpackers camp in the valley completed this trip before we headed out on another Saturday morning.
Fauna
Fauna
Mule Deer
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rainbow
_____________________
Profound observer
Jun 11 2014
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isle, CA 
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isle, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jun 11 2014
John9L
Backpack25.00 Miles 5,600 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles3 Days         
5,600 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
Jobobadoo
juliachaos
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
After a very long commute the six of us started hiking the Clouds Rest Trail around mid-afternoon. The going was very easy with the solid hill climb roughly a mile in. After that the trail levels off and we made our way to our preplanned campsite roughly a mile below Clouds Rest. We arrived at camp and found the mosquitos to be extremely annoying. We got settled as we set up camp and then started a fire. The mosquitoes tapered off soon after. The temps got chilly that night but were tolerable.

We woke on day two and took our time in camp. We eventually headed out and made our way to the summit of Clouds Rest. I agree with Chumley it’s one of the best views in Yosemite! We spent a solid hour up there admiring the sights and eating some lunch. From there we followed the trail down the west side of Clouds Rest. Along the way we detoured over to Quarter Domes which had more amazing views! After that we hiked down to Sunrise Creek and set up our second night’s camp. The plan was to wake early and head for Half Dome under the full moon.

I got to sleep around 10pm and had a hard time falling asleep. I eventually fell asleep and then heard the group starting to stir around 3am. I’ll be honest I did not want to get out of bed. I was warm and comfy and wanted sleep. Chumley unsuccessfully tried to get me out of bed. After a few minutes Liz came over and talked about regretting this opportunity. I knew she was right and I got up soon after. The group then headed out and I was a few minutes behind. The time was roughly 3:15am. I’ve never hiked this early in the morning. The going was slow at first as I slowly woke up. As I hiked I felt the adrenaline start to kick in and my pace sped up. I reached the group and continued on up toward Half Dome. It was very cold out but I was soaking wet with sweat. I had to stop at one point to remove my Smartwool base layer. I continued up and had to use my headlamp because the trail winds through the trees. The moonlight wasn’t much help. I eventually hit Subdome and took my time hiking up. This was my third time on Half Dome and I knew exactly what to expect.

I found myself at the base of the cables around 4:25am. I thought I should be in bed! Anyways I originally planned on waiting for the others. I looked back and no one was to be found. I started to get cold standing still and more adrenaline kicked in so I started climbing the cables. I had to use my headlamp because the moon was out of sight on the west side of Half Dome. I took my time as I climbed from plank to plank and took numerous short breaks. I would look back during these breaks to see a truly magnificent sight behind me. Clouds Rest and eastern Yosemite was lit up with moonlight. And then there were roughly a dozen headlamps making their way towards Half Dome. It was a magnificent sight that I will never forget!

After about 15 minutes of climbing I reached the summit and found I was the only one up there. It was a little tough to enjoy because it’s 4:40 in the morning and its windy & freezing cold. I had a short walk around and waited for the others to join me. I took a few pics but they didn’t come out too well. After that Larry and Kyle summited and then Liz & Chumley followed soon after. The sky slowly lit up as the sun started to rise. After roughly an hour Kyle, Liz and I started the climb down the cables. By this time it was light out and people were making their way up. We took our time as we went down and all of us were glad to be back on Subdome. From there the three of us hiked back down to Sunrise Creek and went back to sleep. This was a hell of an experience and I’m grateful to Liz for motivating me to get out of bed! Thanks Liz!

After a very slow morning our group started the hike to the valley floor via the Mist Trail. We took a break near the top of Nevada Falls and then fought our way down to the Happy Isles Trailhead. There were lots of people out as it was mid-afternoon. Once back in the valley we went over to Curry Village where we met Claire near the bus stop. We all regrouped for pizza and a much needed shower. Our first trip was over. The plan was to spend the night in the Backpackers Campground and then head to the Ten Lakes Basin the next day.
Flora
Flora
Snow Plant
Named place
Named place
Clouds Rest Half Dome
_____________________
Jun 11 2014
juliachaos
avatar

 Routes 37
 Photos 2,160
 Triplogs 627

37 female
 Joined Mar 01 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA 
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jun 11 2014
juliachaos
Backpack16.51 Miles 3,521 AEG
Backpack16.51 Miles3 Days         
3,521 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
Jobobadoo
John9L
squatpuke
Tough_Boots
I finally got to see Yosemite! It's cool... I guess. ;)

My buddy Ben (whom you may remember from such triplogs as Rough Canyon and Mt Elbert) joined us for this portion of the trip. It was really great to get to hike w/ him again, as he always brings a strange, quirky youthfulness to the experience. (Bigfoot, anyone?) At this point, neither of us are hardcore hikers, but we really love getting out into the wilderness and seeing new things. I'd been recovering from a sprained ankle and some IT band stuff, but actually felt really good for this trip!

We started out from Tenaya Lake and almost immediately the elevation kicked in. We hiked through rocks and pines, and even found a bit of snow on the trail. This became the first of two snowpeople on trail. ;) At the top, we set up camp and had dinner. I opted to rest my feet and keep bundled while Chumley hiked onward for a first Clouds Rest summit.. overachiever!

In the morning, we packed our stuff and followed the trail up. The views were incredible. We finally scrambled to the top of Clouds Rest and were rewarded with a mountainous vista.. El Cap and Half Dome in the distance, with the valley floor sinking deep below. It was fantastic! We touristed around for a while, snapping pictures of everything in sight and taking the moment to snack. Eventually we descended the steep terrain. Ben and I opted to take the slow path on the trail, while the others explored Quarter Domes. We set up camp at Sunrise Creek and watched the wildlife attempt to gather our supplies. Luckily, we are smarter than the average squirrel, and kept all our goodies.

Early (early!!!) the next morning we woke up for Half Dome.. which I will save for another triplog. After surviving that whole ordeal, we trudged back to camp for a morning nap, then packed up and continued onward.

Now we were passing through tourist central. The day trip areas that most determined people will hike to. The falls were beautiful, and I especially loved Liberty Cap. Due to the misty air, the rock was a bit slick, so some of us took it slow on the way down. But as beautiful as everything was, it was really nice to finally fall into a chair and devour some pizza and beer. A late trip was made to visit the Claire family so that she could say farewell. Then a long drive back to pizza again, where Chumley and I chatted with a climber who had epic'ed that day. Satisfied with everything, we then showered up and spent the night at the backpackers' camp, amongst bears and screaming tourists.

It was perfect.
_____________________
May 28 2013
Dave1
avatar

 Routes 29
 Photos 1,548
 Triplogs 1,802

43 male
 Joined Jan 25 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Yosemite valley to Merced Lake, CA 
Yosemite valley to Merced Lake, CA
 
Backpack avatar May 28 2013
Dave1
Backpack31.31 Miles 8,080 AEG
Backpack31.31 Miles3 Days         
8,080 ft AEG45 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
My wife and I got lucky and scored a last minute walk up, 2-day permit from Happy Isles, including Half Dome. Also got a campsite at Upper Pines. Unheard of on Memorial Day Weekend!

Day 1:Got a late start due to early morning rain showers. Started from our campsite in Upper Pines, short walk to Happy Isles, up the Mist Trail and then up to Vernal Falls overlook. The trail was insanely crowded of course. Still an awesome hike though. Tons of water! Did get a little wet on the Mist Trail as it is like a steady rain shower. After Vernal Fall the crowds thinned out considerably. Slowly made our way up to Half Dome. Arrived at the HD cables at 5pm with just a few people coming down. Unfortunately there was a huge dark cloud moving towards HD. With all the lightning warnings, including a sign right at the cables, we decided to play it safe and not continue. I did go up the cables about 1/3 of the way just to check it out. Very scary! When we got back down below Sub Dome the clouds had moved far away. Oh well.

The permit specified that we camp at least 2 miles past Little Yosemite Valley. One of us was a bit tired and cranky from hiking 12 miles on the first day so that last push to get to a legal campsite was tough. Found a good spot far off the trail on a granite slab with a nice view of Half Dome. Used a pre-existing fire ring to have a cheery little campfire before bed. Also had to burn some trash because we couldn't fit everything into the bear canister. No bugs out tonight!

Day 2:Went to bed with a clear sky but woke up around 3am to rain. Showers off and on until about 10am. Glad we put the tent fly on. Amazingly we were able to get a cell signal way out here. Called my dad back on the east coast for a weather report. No more rain forecasted for the next two days so we decide to push on to Merced Lake.

Continued on the John Muir Trail until the turn off for Merced lake. The trail only gets better. Nice, thick forested sections with clear running creeks and then opening up to granite slabs with awesome views of the surrounding peaks. The mosquitoes did make an appearance around the trees but as long as we kept moving they weren't a problem. Saw two bear cubs in a small meadow as we neared Merced Lake but they were too fast to get pics. The last couple of miles to the lake follows along side the mighty Merced River, with its many short water falls. The water is so powerful here, you'd be crazy to go in it. We had a few dear follow us for a short distance in this part. They are even less afraid of people here than at Grand Canyon! Had lunch at the lake and then continued back towards Little Yosemite Valley, using the lower trail through Echo and Lost Vallies, to find our campsite for the night. About 11 miles for today.

Day 3:Woke up early at our site overlooking the Merced River. Great spot and another night without any bear issues. No rain this time and we slept with the fly off. The rest of the hike was pretty much down an easy grade, then flat, and then steeply down hill. With just 8 miles back to Happy Isles, this would be the easiest day. The trail continues to follow the Merced through the open granite slabs where it cascades down many falls. As the trail levels out and goes through some more thick forests, the Merced becomes more docile and lazy. Back to the crowds as we near Nevada Fall. Then down the steep Mist Trail. Surprisingly the granite steps provide plenty of grip even soaking wet. Kinda sad to finish this one, could spend a few more days here. This was an awesome hike, every minute of it. Can't wait to get back!
_____________________
Jul 07 2010
pencak
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 192
 Triplogs 18

60 male
 Joined Jan 08 2010
 Queen Creek, AZ
Wawona-Merced Pass-Tuolumne-Yosemite, CA 
Wawona-Merced Pass-Tuolumne-Yosemite, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 07 2010
pencak
Hiking76.80 Miles 5,000 AEG
Hiking76.80 Miles
5,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
This was a modified hike of my previous version. Due to safety (as you read the log) I had to change it. Here goes:

Day 01 7-6-10: I drove down from an awesome family reunion in Oregon on the 5th and stayed the night in Stockton. From there I took the 120 into Yosemite Valley and got my permit. There I learned that the third leg of my trip along the high ridge to Foerster Creek was still covered in snow. I didn't worry about it too much because I could take an alternate route through Triple Peak Fork that was a lower elevation. What I didn't ask about was Red Peak Pass. This was right after Ottoway Lakes on that leg and would be over 11,000 ft. If the ridge the Ranger was talking about was covered in snow and ranged from 9,200 ft. to 9,800 ft. then the Red Peak Pass was surely covered. I didn't think about it too much at that moment because I was so happy to be there. However, that short comment made by the Ranger about the snow would completely change my trip later. Anyway, I continued down into Yosemite Valley and took some pictures at the lookout and then continued on to Wawona at the south end of the park to check the trail head and site see the Giant Sequoias. I wanted to see the largest single living organisms that have EVER existed on Earth (even larger than the dinosaurs.) I knew I wouldn't have time to do this the next day on the 7th, because I had to leave early. From there I went back to see my Mom and Dad in Dry Gulch campground, which was just outside the West end of the park on the 140. I spent time with them, slept the night and left my truck there to pick up at the end of my trip.

Day 02 7-7-10: I woke up at 4:00AM and started getting ready. I did some last minute checks on my equipment and made sure I wasn't missing anything. I prepared the resupply bag for my dad. After eating breakfast, we drove in on the 140 to the 41 to Wawona. It was slow going on the 41 due to construction but we were early so we were only delayed a little. When the crews are in full swing, the trip can take 3hrs. My dad dropped me off at the trail head and I got started on the first leg of my journey at almost exactly 7:00AM. I was at max pack weight with water and food at 53lbs. and was about to ascend over 4,200 ft. in 9 1/2 miles to Crescent Lake. I was psyched and ready. It was going to be a heavy day but I had trained for it and knew I could make it. The hike that day was a steady uphill climb with almost no downhill sections at all. Some of it was steeper than others. I took breaks and drank all my water (132 oz.) before 1:00PM. It was surprisingly hot and humid; almost like a tropical rain forest. I took the legs off my combo pants and rolled up my sleeves. It started raining also so I put the pack cover on. I met a husband and wife day hiking about 5mi. in. They questioned me about the monsoon conditions regarding lightning, etc. I told them these conditions can produce lightning, rain and hail at higher elevations. They were planning on spending the night but decided to turn back. They felt unprepared for the weather. I kept going but the warm temperatures and wet conditions also produced a lot of mosquitoes. I was getting bitten all over my legs and arms but didn't want to stop and cover up. I felt that if I kept moving they wouldn't bite me so much. I was wrong. Rule #1: cover every inch of your body in those conditions. I started to encounter snow patches toward the last 1/3rd of my hike that day. I wasn't too concerned. What did concern me was the fact that on that last 1/3rd of my hike that day (except for animal tracks) my tracks were the only human traces on that trail. I was probably the first person of the season to be on that section of trail. I finally made it to the lake in the late afternoon and was dead tired. I looked at my GPS and my trip log showed that I did exactly 11 miles. This was not good. It meant that all the mileages that I calculated for my trip legs were short. Anyway, I set up my shelter and gathered water. I made dinner and passed out. I woke up about 7:00PM and it was still light. What woke me up was a huge doe (female deer) wandering around my camp about 10 feet from where I was lying on the ground. I said "Hey" and it ran. Those things will dig into your pack to steal food also. I was amazed at how big that dear was.

Day 03 7-8-10: This is the second day of hiking and waking up my joints were stiff, especially the arches of my feet. I could barely walk getting up out of bed. That first day was a pretty brutal hump and I felt it. I had to suck it up and get moving though, no turning back now. After I moved around a bit I loosened up. I knew the next leg to Ottoway Lakes would have 3,500 ft. of climb and almost 2,200 ft. of descent in it. I would end up 1,300 ft. higher than I was but the calculated distance was 13.74 miles but would probably be something like 15 miles. It would be taxing but I could make it. The conditions were similar to the first day in that it was muggy and hot. The trail was wet everywhere and there were bugs. I covered up this time and would wear my head net when I stopped. It worked out pretty well. However, I was becoming concerned. I saw no other human (or pack animal) tracks on this trail. A large number of trees were down and the snow patches were getting more numerous and larger. I fell through one hole in a snow patch and went up to my waist. On another, I slipped and fell over (with my pack on.) I got the hang of it and could guess pretty well where it was solid. My biggest concern was that on the larger patches I would lose the trail completely. I knew the general direction but would spend time bushwhacking back to find the trail. This, combined with the careful crossing of the snow patches was slowing me down. When I hit Merced pass around 4:30PM I knew I would probably be hiking until 6:00PM to get to Ottoway lakes. I took a break at Merced pass to eat and mull things over and a guy wandered over to me who was camping nearby. I was so happy to see another human being. I asked him about the conditions ahead and he said that he hadn't been that way (to Ottoway lakes.) However, he had met a group of 4 people earlier who had been there. He said that they said that Ottoway lakes was a beautiful place but they tried to climb Red Peak Pass and had to turn back. I asked him if they told him why they had to turn back and he said that he didn't get that information from them. I estimated that it was because that pass was pure snow with no trail visible. That pass involved a 1,500 ft. climb in only 1 1/2 miles. It was steep and would be treacherous. I was without crampons and an ice axe, so for me, to attempt that ascent would not only be exceedingly slow (even if I could end up in the right place) it would be dangerous. Let me see, I'm by myself, snow covered pass, more snow after that and I've got probably 40 miles to cover to get to my resupply on the afternoon of the 12th or I'll be reported missing. It was already becoming "athletic"; this would be life threateningly taxing. At that moment, even though I was at over 9,300 ft. and feeling loopy from the altitude (which also started making me lose the trail) I made the right decision and decided to take another low altitude route and get back to Yosemite Valley and take a bus up to Tuolumne Meadows. I could take my time through this other 16 mi. route which would take me down through Upper and Lower Merced Pass lakes and around the southwest side of Mt. Starr King into the Valley. From there I could take a bus or something to get up to Tuolumne before the afternoon of the 12th. That was my new mission. I was on an unreported trail and I had to make it to the new destination without an incident. That evening I hiked down to Lower Merced Pass lakes and stayed the night. I saw another deer, this time, a young buck with antlers. Once again, I was about 20 feet from it and it just looked at me.

Day 04 7-9-10: It was a bright clear morning at Lower Merced Pass Lake. It was beautiful. I felt much better that my survival was not in jeopardy and I could enjoy the hike. I started to see more human tracks on the trail as I went along. This also made me feel better because in case I got hurt someone might come across me. I was lowering my altitude and my head was getting screwed on straight. All was good. I went about 12 or 13 miles and camped. I could have broken it up shorter but I wanted to get down and get up to my resupply point and figured I'd hike an alternate route from there in the day or so I had to wait. I was still on an unreported trail as far as the itinerary I left with people so if something happened to me they wouldn't find me as quickly. I did tell that guy I met at Merced Pass what I was going to do but that would have been a long shot if rescue teams found that guy to question him. I could only really relax when I got to my resupply point as soon as possible. I camped off the trail someplace and it was clear so I decided not to set up my rainfly and just lie down under the stars. It was great. It was clear and the sky was full of stars. However, I kept dreaming of bears and the thought of them stumbling over me or licking my face would have me wake up yelling. It's so quiet that anybody camping miles away was probably freaking out because of that. Imagine being woken up by some guy in the mountains miles away yelling "Aaaahhhh, Yaaahhh, AAAAHHH!" at random intervals in the middle of the night. Anyway, no bears; I was thankful for that.

Day 05 7-10-10: I woke up early and started down into Yosemite Valley. I went through Nevada Falls and took the mist trail through Vernal Falls. It's a pretty steep section from Nevada Falls that way down to the valley floor. It's like taking really steep flight of stairs with 18" steps and 8" treads for 2 miles. You descend over 2,000 on that section of trail. With a full pack, it's harrowing. It is especially tough on the mist trail near Vernal Falls because everything is wet. However, I got some epic pictures, so it was worth it. I got down to the Valley at around 10:40AM. I know the exact time because I missed the YARTS bus that goes up to Tuolumne Meadows by 10 minutes. The next bus would leave at 5:00PM, so I had a long wait. I milled around a bit but ended up dozing off at the bus stop (because I woke up so many times yelling the night before and was still tired.) In the afternoon I met a nice English school teacher who was retired in Switzerland and teaching part time there. She was on a 45 mile backpacking trip with her adult daughter. I was pretty impressed with that. Not just the fact that they were doing it but also the fact that somebody who lives in Switzerland came to Yosemite for a backpacking vacation. That is a pretty good testimony about how special Yosemite is. Anyway, they were also going to Tuolumne Meadows to start their hike which would take them from there through Donahue Pass to the Devil's Post Pile area. That evening we arrived in Tuolumne and stayed in the backpacker's camp there. It's kind of a "catch all" camp area where only walk-in campers are allowed to spend one night before and after their permit hike. I was kind of bending the rules a little but I figured they would understand considering my alternative to take my original route had to change for safety reasons. There are quite a few old hippies milling around that area, trying to relive the times when people sold sand candles and tie-dye tee shirts around Yosemite back in the early 70's. As they would say, this was before "the man" cracked down on that sort of thing and made them follow rules. I found it kind of humorous. Anyway, I got a good night's sleep and looked forward to the next morning when I could do a short overnighter anywhere around the area.

Day 06 7-11-10: This day was to be one of the best days of my trip. After getting up fairly early in the backpacker's camp I decided to get out of there before 8:00 or 9:00AM. I wandered over to the waiting area around the store, wondering what I would do for the day and I happened to see 5 guys in the same place. I thought I recognized one of them and asked them where they were from. They said "Arizona". I asked the guy I recognized if his name was Jim and he said "Yes". He recognized me (because we met before, hiking in the Superstitions and where he worked at the Hiker's Shack) and it was a wonderful coincidence. They had planned this hike in the Sierra's for months in advance and we just happened to meet at that place, on that day before they started. They were headed down Lyell Canyon to camp at the base of Donahue Pass to continue on a 50 mile or so hiking route that was similar to the lady and her daughter I met earlier from Switzerland. I asked if I could tag along with them for a ways and they were happy about that. I took 99 pictures that day. It was more than I took of any other area the whole trip. The sky was dotted with clouds, there were snow capped peaks in the background, the stream was deep and clear so you could see to the bottom. The meadows were lush and green and there were relatively few bugs. Every corner we went around we thought that "this is the most beautiful place" then we would turn another corner and say "no, this is the most beautiful place." It was awesome! What made it so excellent was that I was able to experience this with other people and not just by myself. By myself would have been fine but being able to share it made it even better. I let the guys go at the junction which is around 6 miles in and found a place to camp. Late in the day I saw the woman from Switzerland and her daughter pass. They were amazed at the beauty of the place also. This was truly an excellent day, one which I will always remember. I felt truly blessed to have experienced it, one of those lifetime memorable moments.

Day 07 7-12-10: I could take my time and wake up late today. My only requirement was that I had to be back at that store in Tuolumne Meadows around mid day to meet my Dad for the resupply. I could take my time hiking and take more pictures. It was an easy 6 miles and I got there around 10 or 11 AM. I met some hikers doing the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) who were incredibly interesting to talk to. Now this is a trail that takes almost a year to complete. It's over 3,600 miles and starts down at the Mexican Border in California and ends in northern Washington at the Canadian Border. I learned a lot from them about their equipment and how they ration their food, etc. They typically travel with only a 35 lb. pack. This is with food and water! One of the ways they do it is that they only eat probably 1,500 calories a day and most of their food is powdered. They cook only infrequently to conserve fuel, which is typically burned on an ultra light alcohol stove. Everything is stripped down to the bare essentials. They travel in groups and sometimes by themselves. However, Tuolumne Meadows is a meeting place for them along the trip. There were probably 15 or 20 of them there by the evening. There were even a couple of women doing it by themselves. One was from the East Coast someplace and the other was from Brazil ("Elaine" was her name.) Pretty gutsy of them to try that, I was impressed. That night I slept in the Backpacker's Camp again and set off to finish the rest of my hike according to my original plan.

Day 08 7-13-10: As I had used up my extra day earlier waiting for a bus, I had one more extra lay-over day I could spend at a camp along the trail. My original plan was to make the rest of the 27 miles of the trip down into Yosemite Valley in two days but I thought I should spread that out to three. My first destination was Sunrise High Sierra Camp, which is south from Tuolumne Meadows. As I met many hikers along my previous walks and asked them where they came from and where they were going, I wanted to get information about where I was going also. Anybody I asked about Sunrise Camp who had been there said "There are bugs, lots of bugs." Even on the way there I noticed they were getting more and more numerous. I came across a woman who was hiking north from there and she said, "The bugs are intense, and I'm from Maine!" Ok, I'm convinced now. That lower section through Long Meadow would have to be changed and there was no way I was going to camp in Sunrise Camp. I questioned that same woman from Maine about camp options and she agreed with me that up on an open slope, exposed to the sun, as far away from water or the meadow as possible, with a little wind would be the best option. So, this was my task, to find a spot like that. Anyway, I prepared for battle against the miniature vampire hoard I was about to wade through. I had long sleeves and long pants with a head net and a hat. I sprayed deet all over my hands and around my neck. After the fact, I should have sprayed my clothes but I'll tell you why later. At any rate, I headed into the first meadow. I could hear them; it was like a huge hive of bees but with a random rhythm. Bees buzzing in groups seem to be more organized in their rhythm but mosquitoes are more random, like they are insane. It is insane, because you only hear that sound because there are millions of them, clouds of them. Every step disturbs a cloud of hundreds. If you stop, hundreds of them land on your body. As I walked they were all over my shirt and pants trying with all their little might to penetrate the cloth to get to the skin. I moved as fast as I could to get out of that place. I did find a nice rock out cropping far above the meadow to camp. At night, there were no mosquitoes there. I was happy that I made it through the gauntlet. Early the next morning I checked the damage, I was bit over 20 times through my shirt. I should have sprayed my shirt with deet also. My next step was to reroute my hike though a place called "Cloud's Rest". It's one of the highest points in Yosemite Valley. I had a pretty good idea that it would be free of mosquitoes.

Day 09 7-14-10: I headed on to Cloud's Rest and saw some incredible views of the peaks and valleys of Yosemite. It's a little bit of a scramble up the rocks so left my pack at the bottom near the trail. I knew I couldn't spend a long time because the Marmots will ravage my pack if I leave it too long. Marmots are these furry creatures that resemble a badger or something like that. They are inquisitive and smart; probably, as smart as a raccoon or something like that. I had to make my picture and sightseeing venture there quick. On my way down from Cloud's Rest I met a father and son doing the JMT (John Muir Trail). They had just started on this 218 mile hike from down in Yosemite which will extend to Mount Whitney, near Bishop. That peak is the highest point in the Continental United States at 14,495 ft. I warned them about the blood sucking hoard they were to encounter in the Long Meadow and Sunrise Camp. They agreed that they would try the Cloud's Rest route to avoid most of it. I told them about Cathedral Pass on the other side of Sunrise and the meadow north of it would be a great place to camp if they kept moving and didn't stop. The kid somehow thought they were going to hike to Tuolumne Meadows that day (which was more than 18 miles from where we were as I was talking to them) and it was already 1:00PM! Only the Dad had a head net, so I gave mine to the kid. With one night left for me, he needed it far more than I did. The kid started to look scared. He should be. They seemed a little unprepared starting late in the day like that and seemed to be in over their heads for the whole thing. They told me about a camp that was about 4 miles down from where we met. It was a place where I could find water and some nice flat camp spots. They had stayed there the night before on their first night. I headed for that place. Good thing I broke that trip from Cloud's Rest into a two day decent. It's 9,926 ft. at Clouds Rest and probably 4,200 ft. in the Valley. That's a decent of over 5,800 ft! By the time I got to that camp the pinched blister on the tip of my little toe was throbbing and both of my knees were blown. I was so glad to get there and take a rest. I felt like I needed crutches. That night I slept under the stars again because it was clear. I saw another deer in the camp when I sat down to rest before dinner. At night I could clearly see the Milky Way (part of our own galaxy). It's been years since I've seen that many stars. I rested soundly, for some reason I wasn't worried about bears anymore. I was almost home.

Day 10 7-15-10: My final day in the wilderness. I savored every moment. I knew I had to pace myself for the rest of the decent to save my knees so I took it slow. I went by Nevada Falls again and took some excellent photos from a different angle on a different trail. I decided to take the John Muir Trail down into the valley (instead of the mist trail) because it was longer, at more reasonable slope and was dry. I made it down into the valley by 2:00PM. Perfect, I would have plenty of time to eat something from the sandwich shop and wait for my Dad at the store to pick me up at 4:00PM. However, there was a big problem with that. I told my Dad to pick me up at the grocery store in Curry Village and I was waiting at the grocery store in Yosemite Valley. Back in December, I went to this grocery store in Yosemite Valley with my Mom and Dad. I thought this was the place but I was waiting at the wrong store! 4:00PM rolls by and I don't see my dad. Then it's 5:00PM and I figured I told him the wrong time or something. It's 6:00PM and I start to worry. My dad's cell phone doesn't work for some reason I don't have my cell phone and I have no way of getting a hold of him. I thought that if my Mom got sick, that could have been the reason he didn't show (which is very bad!) I'm thinking that I have to do something. I have to get to my Dad's place outside the park as soon as possible. Our standing rule is that if I didn't show, he would check the next day at the same time and if I'm still not there he would report me missing. So I know that he would at least come back one more day. The thought that my Mom might be sick or there is some other problem got me worried so I decided to hike out of the park to Dry Gulch camp ground where my Dad is the host. Even if he did have is phone working, it doesn't work down there anyway. I have to physically get there. The problem is that it's probably at least 35 miles from where I was at that moment. There are only a few times when I would think it would be appropriate to hitchhike and this is one of them. One thing is for sure, I have to do it during daylight if I hope for any chance of success. So I start walking with my thumb out. My goal is to look as much as possible NOT like a freeloading lazy hippy trying to sponge a ride off of somebody. I remember a comment my Dad made when I was little. He would never picked up hitch hikers but one time he saw a guy on the other side of the road wearing a clean white shirt and a tie hitch hiking and said "Now that's a guy I would pick up." Mind you, he didn't pick him up; he just acknowledged that he would think positively about that. Hence the difficulty I faced. I had probably 5 seconds to make an impression on people that I was not a typical freeloading hippy in Yosemite who had nothing but time on his hands. I was on a mission. It was difficult with the 9 days of trail dirt on my clothes and unshaven appearance. I kept walking forward like I was going someplace, with my back to traffic, stuck my thumb out and hoped for the best. Then I got a bright idea, I put a five dollar bill in the hand that I had my thumb sticking out with. This was marketing 101; I had around 3 to 5 seconds to impress on my prospective ride that I wasn't a freeloading hippy but I was just like them "A hardworking guy, trying to get somewhere, probably a job, willing to pay for gas, etc." It worked! Within 5 minutes I got a ride. It was a family that let me ride in the back of their pickup. It wasn't the whole way but it was to the junction at the 41. This saved me loads of walking. By the way, I wouldn't recommend women try hitchhiking unless they are also holding a loaded shotgun. Anyway, at that drop off point I was pretty thirsty so I ran over to the river and started feverishly pumping water through my filter to get something to drink. I was moving fast because daylight was fading and I had to get back out along the road to get a ride. There was a family from someplace in Europe (I couldn't clearly understand their language) who were horrified at my appearance. In whatever language they were speaking they were instructing their children to get away from me (like I was Golem or some kind of feral human raised by wolves or something.) They were expecting me to grab a fish out of the river and bite its head off. It was hilarious. Anyway, I got picked up quickly again by a young British couple. They took me all the way to the West gate on the 140. Now I was only 6 miles from my goal. I talked with the Ranger at the gate briefly and he suggested I just stand there (like a poor slob) and stick my thumb out. No way! I was getting results with my five dollar bill and moving like I was going someplace. 30 seconds later, bingo, I got another ride. This time it was a kid who knew the ranger and was probably told by him to help me. Either way, it worked. I got a ride all the way back to my Dad's place and it was still light. Perhaps it was the fact that I was actually willing to walk the 35+ miles and sleep in the forest to make it to my Dad's place that motivated me but I was thankful for the rides. I got to my Dad's place and he was there with my Mom, safe and sound. He told me he waited where I told him and said that "There are two markets in Yosemite." It was my fault for the miscommunication, either way, I was there. I told him, "I guess I earned my merit badge in hitch hiking" and he had a good laugh. I said my goodbye's and drove down to Merced. I got a hotel and took a long, hot shower. Except for the long drive back to Arizona, my trip was over.
The totals for my 9 days of hiking were: 36.6 miles on my initial route from Wawona and route change down into Yosemite Valley, 12.2 miles on my excursion into Lyell Canyon and back and 28 miles from Tuolumne to Yosemite. All total, it was 76.8 miles.
_____________________
Pencak aka Larry Rudd
"I think I'm a verb"
Buckmaster Fuller
Jun 08 2010
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2010
John9L
Hiking7.50 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.14 mph
2,800 ft AEG
 
1st trip
On my third and final day in Yosemite, I hiked up the Mist Trail all the way to Nevada Falls and then headed back down the John Muir Trail. This was my first time on the trail and I was thoroughly impressed! Not one but TWO massive waterfalls!

The water was really flowing due to all the snow melt. Both waterfalls were roaring! I had a very enjoyable and wet hike up to the top of Vernal Falls. From there it was smooth sailing to the top of Nevada. I'll have to come back another time to conquer Half Dome...the cables were still not up when I hiked. :(

This is another must do hike! Keep in mind the water is somewhat tied to the snow melt.
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Aug 26 2009
Lucyan
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 Routes 1
 Photos 11,406
 Triplogs 718

39 female
 Joined Jan 18 2011
 In the Wild
Yosemite Valley - Happy Isles TrailheadSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Aug 26 2009
Lucyan
Hiking17.30 Miles
Hiking17.30 Miles   10 Hrs      1.73 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.94 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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