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Mist Trail - Yosemite NP - 10 members in 29 triplogs have rated this an average 4.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 22 2019
mckee80
avatar

 Routes 1
 Photos 67
 Triplogs 3

49 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
Sep 11 2017
trekkin_gecko
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 365
 Photos 4,466
 Triplogs 2,941

62 female
 Joined Nov 17 2008
 phoenix, az
Half Dome HikeSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2017
trekkin_gecko
Hiking16.34 Miles 5,500 AEG
Hiking16.34 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   2.18 mph
5,500 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
Tortoise_Hiker
the main event
denny secretly put in for permits, and once he got them the trip was on
after some navigational difficulty by me, we set out from happy isles trailhead at 0600
starting early is key on these bigger hikes
just getting light enough to see mist trail
the steps to vernal fall were butt kickers
nice hiking along the merced river and seeing the falls
still gaining up to nevada fall, then an easier grade through little yosemite valley
the trail goes right next to the river, and it would be easy to filter here
another push up to subdome through the forest
subdome was steep, with steps cut into the rock, then continuing on granite bedrock
finally we were at the cables :o
we took a few photos, then headed on up
once i got into a rhythm, it was much less scary than it looked initially, but a lot more work
with our early start there were very few people ahead of us and we didn't have to wait for anyone
finally topped out and went up to the high point
again, great views of clouds rest, north dome, yosemite valley and more
very smoky today
we spent about 30 minutes wandering around the summit taking photos
decided to descend before the other 348 permit holders came up
crossed paths with a few people, but i can only imagine how crowded and backed up the cables get
a lot more people on subdome
the hard part over, we strolled through little yosemite valley
explored nevada fall for a few minutes
took the john muir trail back down - longer but more gradual
along the way, some russian guys ahead of us had spotted a black bear :)
that was a nice surprise
joined back up with the mist trail and dodged people the final mile or so
just as we finished, we got a little thundershower, so we were happy with our timing
a great experience, and i appreciate denny inviting me to hike it with him
thanks, partner!

random thoughts:
neither of us used gloves
no one checked our permits
aeg on my track seems high
i read the discussion on it, and dropped it down to the 5500 route scout shows on the screen
can't emphasize enough getting an early start
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Hike HAZard
_____________________
Sep 11 2017
Tortoise_Hiker
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 Routes 78
 Photos 7,357
 Triplogs 2,765

59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Half Dome HikeSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2017
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking16.34 Miles 5,500 AEG
Hiking16.34 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   2.18 mph
5,500 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
trekkin_gecko
Bucket list hike. Kelly and I got to the parking lot at 6am. The plan was to hike up Mist Trail and down JMT. I believe Booneman suggested it that way. The temps were pretty good. Clouds not bad. We kept a close eye on the weather for our Safety First attitude. The hike up to Vernal Fall was a good workout especially with the steps. Another good reason to come back the JMT. You get to see a different trail and less steep without the steps. Nice waterfall. Nevada Fall was even bigger with another nice climb to get there. That's the intersection where we will take the JMT back down on our way back. Next you go over a little saddle and drop into Little Yosemite Valley. Very nice area along the Merced River. After a half mile or so you start climbing and wrap around to the Sub Dome. That's a pretty steep one but they have some nice steps and switchbacks. We thought 6am was early but we had already passed at least 50 people to this point. Kelly set a great comfortable pace. Now for the cables! People wise it wasn't a problem. I may have passed one person. Condition wise it was a workout. You really do kind of pull yourself along to each pole/board. Worked for it but what an awesome summit and great views. We hung out taking pics and walking around for a half hour or so. Going down the cables, the amount of people was growing. We found that going down backwards worked a lot better. Kelly went first and would warn me when the steps were coming so I didn't hit a shin. Most people were easy to work around and take turns with. One little jam up towards the bottom but not to bad. I had gloves but didn't use them. I could see where your hands could get friction hot. Then down the Sub Dome steps and the hard stuff was over. The way back down went really good and Kelly's pace was still great. Taking the JMT gives you the best view of Nevada Fall. A mile longer but not as step,no steps, and less people. Throw in the brief Bear sighting and it was a great way to finish. We got one more nice pic of Half Dome from a great vantage point between the trailhaed and our room. We don't usually splurge on these trips buttt. Kelly bought dinner and dessert at Yosemite Valley Lodge food court then we stayed the night at the lodge. A hot shower and soft bed just might relax us enough to do one more good hike on the way home tomorrow :o ! Awesome hike and Kelly helped make this go so smoothly! Much appreciated!! Like Haz, Kelly :yr: !
Named place
Named place
Half Dome Liberty Cap Nevada Fall
_____________________
Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
3 archives
Jun 09 2016
Frostshocknoob
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 Routes 141
 Triplogs 127

31 male
 Joined Sep 05 2014
 Phoenix, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 09 2016
Frostshocknoob
Hiking3.60 Miles 2,197 AEG
Hiking3.60 Miles   2 Hrs   36 Mns   1.76 mph
2,197 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Nov 14 2015
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Nov 14 2015
SunDevil3
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs      2.15 mph
2,800 ft AEG      45 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was in Merced for business so took the side trip out to Yosemite and used my limited spare time to maximum effect. The early part of the trail was busy-- large groups of hikers taking their time-- but thinned out quickly once we passed the bridge and started the more arduous ascent.

I can only imagine the spray from Vernal Falls during heavy snow-melt in the Spring-- even with it's limited flow in mid-Nov, it was still pumping a very impressive amount. I went as far as the top of Vernal Falls before realizing that the Sun Devil game was on at Noon and not 7PM and made as hasty a decent as I dared in order to find the game on TV.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Sep 17 2015
Crzy4AZ
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 Guides 31
 Routes 96
 Photos 2,637
 Triplogs 599

47 female
 Joined Apr 02 2007
 Scottsdale, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2015
Crzy4AZ
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.40 mph
2,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Thank you to @azchumley for basically planning our entire Yosemite trip. I asked for his help and gave him TMI about what makes me happy on a hiking vacation - and he gave me fabulous options (I offered to pay him for said help) - and our whole trip was perfection b/c of his advice. :thanx:

First hike of our Yosemite vacation - 13 year anniversary trip - grandparents in Scottsdale with the kids.

Concrete steep part with tons o'humans not so great - but what do you expect on a classic Yosemite hike. Weather great. Sat with legs dangling near waterfall spray Nevada Falls for lunch. All 6 foot 4 of Brad reclined for mini nap with waterfall noise-maker drowning out the noise of crowds.

Perfect descent through forest John Muir la-tee-da trail. Yucky drive back to our two-room hotel in Mariposa but worth the cost savings.
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
Named place
Named place
Liberty Cap Nevada Fall Vernal Fall
_____________________
Sep 16 2014
AZLOT69
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 Guides 175
 Routes 247
 Photos 7,708
 Triplogs 1,885

69 male
 Joined Feb 12 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 16 2014
AZLOT69
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
2,800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Off season but still loads of people campgrounds full. Barely a trickle of water at the falls. Very dry.
_____________________
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain
Sep 03 2014
Booneman
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 Guides 9
 Routes 33
 Photos 736
 Triplogs 3,368

40 male
 Joined Nov 25 2008
 Chandler, AZ
Half Dome HikeSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Sep 03 2014
Booneman
Hiking18.55 Miles 6,537 AEG
Hiking18.55 Miles   8 Hrs   52 Mns   2.36 mph
6,537 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Although a bit warm, conditions were perfect for our climb up the cable route to reach the summit of Half Dome. Definitely a classic, and maybe the most fun I've had hiking 18+miles! I highly recommend going up the Mist Trail and down the John Muir trail to view Vernal and Nevada Falls from all angles.

Oh, and don't forget your permit and gloves!
_____________________
Jul 21 2014
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 214
 Photos 4,003
 Triplogs 326

50 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2014
ddgrunning
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
2,800 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Mist Trail is the most popular hike in Yosemite--and for good reason. Beautiful views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Emerald Pool, the Silver Apron, and everything else along the way.

After driving down from our campsite in Hodgdon Meadow, we parked in Curry Village and took the shuttle over to the Mist Trail TH. I didn't realize to that point that this is the official starting point of the John Muir Trail (correct?).

The weather was great and the crowds were actually pretty manageable, given the time of year and the popularity of the trail. It may have helped that we were there on a Monday morning, as opposed to a weekend.

I realized that if you want to go somewhere in the U.S. where English is a minority language, the national parks are a good choice. Chinese, Japanese, French, German, you name it, we heard them all.

The first part of the trail to the bridge (about a mile) is paved and thus accessible to the masses, though it still involves a decent amount of elevation gain. The bridge provides a view up-river to Vernal Fall, and is probably a good turn around point for the out-of-shape. Most persevere on to the top of Vernal Fall, which climbs a veritable granite staircase up the right side of the falls and runs you through the "mist" for which the trail is named.

The top of Vernal Fall is accessible right up to the edge of the fall, where a metal railing is all that stands between you and a 317 ft. drop to the bottom. I understand that every year there are folks who decide they are smarter than falls and end up getting swept over to their death. Thankfully, we witnessed none of that today.

The other hazard at the top of Vernal Fall is the aggressive squirrels/chipmunks, who are very bold in their efforts to get a piece of your lunch. Even with our backpacks and lunches sitting between our legs, we had many a squirrel attempt to get in on a bite or two of whatever we were having. Unfortunately, they have been trained to have little to no fear of humans and I think most in that area have become dependent on human handouts.

After a victorious battle to defend our lunch, we moved on up the trail to Emerald Pool, which is just above Vernal Fall. A beautiful pool in which swimming is prohibited, though that didn't seem to discourage a few folks from plunging in and swimming across to the other side.

Feeding into Emerald Pool is the Silver Apron, and 1/4 mile section of smooth granite over which the river runs in a 20-30 ft wide sheet. It looks like a giant, natural waterpark slide. Very cool to look at. Absent some jagged rocks at the entrance to Emerald Pool, it would be a great place to jump on a little raft or inner tube and zoom down into the pool.

Above the Apron, you soon come to the base of 597 ft. Nevada Falls and then make the steep ascent to the top and a bridge that spans the river just shy of the precipice. Beautiful views from every angle.

We enjoyed the time up there and made a commitment to get permits for Half Dome next time around, which is another 4-5 miles or so further up the trail from the turn off near the top of Nevada Fall.

We debated whether to descend via the John Muir Trail, which provides an alternate route and connects back to the Mist Trail below Vernal Fall. In the end, we decided we enjoyed hiking right next to the falls and opted to retrace our steps down the Mist Trail instead.

What a gorgeous area. I'm running out of superlatives to describe this place.
Fauna
Fauna
Steller's Jay
_____________________
Jun 12 2014
squatpuke
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 Guides 5
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,471
 Triplogs 169

53 male
 Joined Apr 04 2002
 Flagstaff, AZ
Half Dome HikeSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Backpack avatar Jun 12 2014
squatpuke
Backpack9.50 Miles 2,400 AEG
Backpack9.50 Miles2 Days         
2,400 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
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chumley
Jobobadoo
John9L
juliachaos
Tough_Boots
My second time up Half Dome and same as the year before, it didn't disappoint.

For 2014, this was day three of our 5 day Yosemite trip; with Cloud's Rest behind and Ten Lakes ahead we were all in the groove and fully enjoying our trip!! To add a bit more challenge this time, Chumley's plan was to hike the dome under a full moon.

At 3am, at our Sunrise Campsites, Chumley was able to wake us all up (except 9L) - [John had decided sleep was more important than the greatest Yosemite landmark; fortunately Liz brought him to his senses and changed his mind.] We grouped together and sped down the trail with day-packs, leaving our gear back so we could nap later that morning.

John was going for the speed ascent record and may have achieved it. Kyle and I followed behind at mortal speed and Chumley held back with Liz (sore ankle) and Ben (who ended up with a bit of acrophobia and turned around). Chumley's a good bro.

As it was, the bright, full moon was setting on the west side of the dome and provided little to no visibility while climbing the cables on the east. Of course this did not deter us so Kyle and I gloved up at the bottom of the cables and took some deep breaths. I've always known Kyle as a fearless hiker, however he freely released some real "pumpkins" as we climbed up together!! Nice job Kyle!!

Once at the top, it was noticeably cold and we all bundled up, took numerous photos, and waited for the sunrise and some warmth. Chums enjoyed a super-sized, luke-warm brewski (see photo) which he had hauled around for 3 days straight...LOL.

9L, Liz and Kyle all descended together; Chumley and I waited a bit longer on top. I explored the less visited west side of the dome and got a bit spooked by the ever-steepening and rounded drop offs.

Once back at camp, the rest of the crew crashed!!! My adrenaline was fired up, so I casually broke my camp (talking to neighbors for a bit) and left solo for Nevada Falls around the time everyone was just getting up.

I enjoyed my nice steady pace and arrived about 45-60 minutes ahead of the sleepyheads; I took a nice rest under a shady tree with a relaxing cool breeze!!!

Once the rest of the gang joined, we went 1/4 mile or so up the John Muir, to a spectacular viewpoint of Nevada Falls. We snapped a few pics then hiked back down to Nevada where we all started our ascent back to the Village together. The group quickly dispersed again while battling the crowded trail. Eventually John, Kyle and I met each other back at Happy Valley bus stop and to our surprise, we immediately found ClairBear at the Village bus stop!! We decompressed at the Pizza Bar, waiting for Chum/Liz/Ben who weren't too far behind...

I loaded up on Ice Cream and water until I found a sucker willing to split a large pizza with me (Thanks again Chumley). Despite the cardboardyness of said pizza, it tasted pretty great after 3 days on the trail...

After a delightful (and free) shower, it was off to the backpackers' camp where I was fortunate enough to setup tent next to some real yahoos at the next site...the black bear that free grazed through our site, inches from my tent/head should explain enough about them...

As always, a great and memorable trip with Chumley and the gang....and we still have more to come!!! (Ten Lakes)
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Jun 11 2014
Tough_Boots
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 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

63 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA 
Yosemite - Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jun 11 2014
Tough_Boots
Backpack25.00 Miles 5,600 AEG
Backpack25.00 Miles3 Days         
5,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
John9L
juliachaos
squatpuke
This was the first of two fantastic backpacks that Chumley put together for us:

We got to Yosemite early Wednesday afternoon and headed out of Tenaya Lake. It was a short and easy first day to our campsite below Cloud's Rest. We had a creek flowing near by so water was easy. Mosquitoes on the other hand were out of control-- 100% DEET was necessary.

We woke up the second day and headed to Cloud's Rest. Its not long before the views start opening up and its worth every step of the climb. We all headed up at our own pace and 9L was nice enough to let me summit first since I'd never been up there before. Amazing views-- absolutely amazing. We all snapped tons of photos and spent a good amount of time up there. We then headed down the other side which is even better than going up the other way. Chumley wanted to head off trail and check out Quarter Domes so we hit those on the way down. We found the loosest and steepest way to get there but their views were worth every shaky step. We then headed to Sunrise Creek where we would camp the second night.

At Sunrise Creek the deer were plentiful and didn't seem to be scared of people at all. We went to bed early to prepare for the most anticipated part of our trip-- a full moon summit of Half Dome. I woke up at about 2:30 am and waited to hear others stirring. Chumley forced everyone up. 9L decided he didn't want to wake up and Liz had to coax him out of his tent. We headed off as 9L finally dragged himself out of his tent but of course he soon overtook us all. We reached the intersection with the Half Dome trail and met another headlamped group who had the same idea as us. Chumley and Liz brought up the rear as Liz is nursing an injury, 9L of course was in front and out of sight, and Larry and I stuck together in the middle. Making it up Sub-Dome is steep but I think the dark made it easier. I hadn't really done any research and had no idea how the approach to Half Dome would be so I just chugged along until the climbing ended. On top of Sub-Dome, we could see 9L's headlamp ascend the cables.

We made it to the cables and it's as crazy steep as it looks. There are a pile of gloves that people leave but I put mine on and headed up behind Larry. I should have grabbed a pair of work gloves from the bottom because as the cables got steeper, my gloves started slipping. I had a little moment of panic about a third of the way up. In the dark, all I could see was Larry's headlamp which appeared to be directly above me. There was no end in sight. I calmed myself down and decided to power through. I finally made it to the cold and windy top. We had the summit all to ourselves for a little while which I think is a rare thing on Half Dome. Chumley and Liz then made the summit and other night hikers started trickling up the cables. The sun began to rise and it was time to brave the cables again and head down. Nervous at first, I quickly found a comfortable method to maneuver down. As people were heading up, it became mildly amusing to see the look of fear on their faces as we passed. Needless to say, I was really happy to be done with the cables. We headed back to camp and tried to get a couple hours of sleep before heading out.

On day three, the plan was to head into Yosemite Valley and finish via the Mist Trail. It was a nice easy hike and quite pleasant until you start hitting the crowds at the top of Nevada Falls. From there down it gets more and more crowded. After making it through a bottleneck of people at Vernal Falls, I was done. I shot down the rest of the trail as fast as possible. Its a beautiful hike but the people kind of ruined for me.

We all met up in Curry Village where our friend Claire was waiting for us with the rental van and we could all enjoy pizza, beer, and showers. We camped that night at the backpackers' campground. Soon after going to sleep, the camp was under siege by bears for about an hour. Every time I was about to fall asleep, I would be woken by a camper yelling. The final time was Liz-- I sat up and could see the shadow of a bear cast by the moon against my tent. Things then quickly settled down.
Geology
Geology
Granite
_____________________
Jun 11 2014
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,632

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
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Jul 21 2013
chumley
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 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,842
 Triplogs 1,535

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Sunrise Creek Loop, CA 
Sunrise Creek Loop, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2013
chumley
Hiking14.22 Miles 5,067 AEG
Hiking14.22 Miles   7 Hrs   40 Mns   1.85 mph
5,067 ft AEG
 
1st trip
We originally were going to hike the first day with 9L and then spend a couple of nights in LYV including day hikes to half dome and clouds rest, but all good plans change.

In the end we opted for a single overnight, hiking up to Sunrise Junction, bagging half dome the next morning, and heading back out later in the afternoon. It turned out to be a great plan. The area as Sunrise Junction has at least 10 different camp spots, and while we were undisturbed, several of our nearby neighbors reported bears in camp overnight, including a mom and two cubs who batted around some cannisters for a while.

There's perennial water here in a very cold stream. My feet went numb in pain after not more than 30 seconds submerged. It's a grind to get up there with a full pack, even though it's only 7 miles or so, the elevation gain really gets to you.

The hike up we went via the Mist Trail, and on the way down we endured the 227 switchbacks on the JMT. I prefer the steep stairs on Mist vs the switchbacks, but I know that others disagree with my preference.

If you can get the permits, this hike is a great way to access half dome, and if you have the time and feel up to it, it's an "easy" day hike to clouds rest from here too!
Culture
Culture
Camp-fire Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunset

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Half Dome Spring Dripping Dripping
Moist ground and small pools of enough water to filter.
_____________________
Championing breakfast since 1994.
Jul 21 2013
Hippy
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 Guides 8
 Routes 4
 Photos 1,823
 Triplogs 635

34 female
 Joined Dec 02 2009
 Grand Canyon
Sunrise Creek Loop, CA 
Sunrise Creek Loop, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2013
Hippy
Hiking14.22 Miles 5,067 AEG
Hiking14.22 Miles   7 Hrs   40 Mns   1.85 mph
5,067 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
I may have hiked this but I don't remember I was too busy :tt: :bdh: :pk: :yuck: ](*,) :pk: :zzz:

I do recall a million stairs, steps, giant granite cobblestone looking slabs of doom...

At one point Chumley and I discussed a pool of blood we found in the water well below the trail...he's so morbid ;)

The views were lovely, the waterfalls were neat, we didn't get drenched, more stairs... :tt:

Somewhere along the first 7 miles up I realized I was getting sick...and running low on water...and was sick n tired up going up up up!!!

Seriously steeper than any of the usual trails at the GC...I'd compare the steps :tt: to Hermit but the entire trail is more like that first steep chunk of Grandview... except for seven...whole...miles... :sk:
Maybe I'm biased simply due to the strep throat draining my body of any energy which in turn sapped the life out of my enthusiastic mind...

Ya know...it really wasn't that bad. The company was great, couldn't ask for better hiking buddies, the weather was PERFECT, the scenery was downright lovely, it was a perfect vacation and I think I fell in love.
Granted I'd never want to LIVE at Yosemite... but I definitely love the area.

The hike down wasn't bad, I was waaaay sicker but going down is the easy part, I breezed along with my shame poles too.

Yea, I'd do it all again next year if I had to...minus the strep! : rambo :
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Canyon Freak Adventures!
Jul 14 2013
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 40
 Photos 5,602
 Triplogs 339

47 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
John Muir Trail - First 65 miles, CA 
John Muir Trail - First 65 miles, CA
 
Backpack avatar Jul 14 2013
writelots
Backpack59.00 Miles 8,915 AEG
Backpack59.00 Miles6 Days         
8,915 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
My good hiking buddy, Tiffani, moved to California last year and got it into her head that she was going to tackle the John Muir Trail. When she invited me to come along for a piece, I was thrilled...not only was it a big boost to my ego that she thought I'd be a competent and capable partner to help her ease into through hiking, but it was cool that she thought we could stand to hike with each other for like 7 days straight!

We worked out a plan that involved me taking a train out to meet her in Santa Barbara, then driving together through Oakland to drop off her stuff (she'd be moving the day she got off the trail pretty much) to Yosemite to start the hike. From there, I'd go with her as far as the Devil's Postpile NM where my DH would be waiting to pick me up and transport me back to the land of cacti and sand while Tiffani continued hiking through the Sierra majesty. She'd then hike by herself for the next 7 days until she met up with her boyfriend who would finish the trip with her all the way to the summit of Whitney. All in all, her trip would span 21 days. Which is why, when I would tell people I was hiking the first 60 miles with her, it was "only" 60. I think in any other circumstance, I'd be proud to be covering that kind of distance!

We spent the night before the hike at the Yosemite Bug - which has evolved from a very crunchy hostel to a moderately rustic ecolodge...but retains its fun character. Our tent cabin was warm and toasty and we had a nice, big carb loading meal (more because we wanted to than because we needed to).

Day 1: Valley floor to Little Yosemite Valley
The first day and the last are the only days on your JMT permit that REALLY matter where you camp. Although Tiffani wanted to get further on day 1, the only permit she could get was for the LYV, so we had an easy first day. Since we only had 4.4 miles, much of it paved, we had some fun on the valley floor (shopping, sight seeing, touristing) - even stopping for an ice cream cone just before we started the hike. We'd also both done this part of the hike before, so we weren't in that state of dumb awe that can happen at the foot of the majestic waterfalls and granite domes. There were plenty of people to contend with - both day hikers and backpackers - and so we didn't get stopped much by folks wondering where we were headed. That would come later.

We took a long lunch break (i.e.. nap) at the top of Nevada Fall so that we wouldn't pull into the camp too early. Nothing quite as boring as sitting in the dense forest at Little Yosemite Valley with nothing to do. Even still, we had picked out our site in LYV by 5:45 with 3.5 hours of light left. We headed down to the beach on the Merced and took a little swim (it was much warmer than I'd anticipated). Even Tiffani, who in the past has had a bit of an issue with getting "into" strange wild bodies of water was tempted in by the crystal clear waters. If only there hadn't been such a crowd, it might've been fun to get REAL natural...but we were certainly never alone in LYV.

As I was hanging my hammock, someone approached our campsite. It turned out to be another ABC Hiker, Katie, who was hiking in the Sierras with her mom! Someone from my own hiking club, right in the next campsite! AmAZing! We had a wonderful visit, some very good dinner and a lovely evening in the very long, lingering twilight. And then, of course, there was the glory of the hammock just waiting for me...

Day 2: LYV to Sunrise High Sierra Camp
The southern part of the JMT is a little like the "hiking from hut to hut" that Europeans talk about. From the very civilized campground at LYV, it was our original plan to get just past Sunrise High Sierra Camp. However, the drought situation that summer was severe (by Sierra standards), and we weren't certain that we would find water at the more distant camp, so we decided to shoot for the HSC instead. As it turned out, we needn't have worried. The drought panic that the rangers and PCTers were so rabid about was really nothing to a couple of seasoned Arizona hikers. We never walked more than about 4 miles between acceptable water sources, and never once worried about water at a camp. Just because it wasn't shooting out of the ground into our mouths didn't mean there wasn't perfectly fine drinking water nearly everywhere.

The hike from LYV was pleasant - not nearly as tough as the climb yesterday had been. We were treated to the whole back side of Half Dome as we walked - and we ran into a fair number of folks who were headed for the infamous peak on a long day hike. Tiffani had attempted it the year before, and I had made my try about 10 years before, and we both agreed that there were far better ways for us to spend our energy (which meant that we both are afraid of heights enough to not even consider the cables). It was fun to see the tiny specs on the granite face, though, and to watch the dome change shapes as we circumnavigated it.

I think one of the reasons the Sierras make such a perfect hiking destination is that while there are massive trees and lush forests, there are also ample views and a plenty of places where everything feels open and wild. The first part of this day had us following the path of the Merced River several thousand feet above its canyon. The amazing views across the canyon and to the exposed granite domes on the far side are spectacular. It makes one feel very small and very glad to have such a well marked, well traveled trail. That granite wilderness seems endless!

Then the trail turns north and begins to follow Sunrise Creek up to its mouth near the Sunrise HSC. To the east are views of Vogelsang Peak - one of the most stunning peaks in the range. Add that to my list of "must explore more of"... By now we had left most of the dayhikers behind and we were in backpacker/through-hiker territory. Familiar territory, that is. Everyone we passed stopped for a brief visit, passing on advice for water sources and camps or asking about conditions in the outside world. We saw a few other JMTers who were just starting out and already having foot or pack problems, and we wished them the best. Ah, if only I'd known then! (note my clever use of foreshadowing)

We didn't hike fast, it was too pretty for that. The last climb up to Sunrise is a bit of a monster...mostly because you START the climb at about 8000' and gain almost 1300' from there. It steals your breath away in the most literal manner possible, but then takes a little more away in the figurative: it's a beautiful hill covered with ancient, gnarled trees and massive potato-shaped boulders. Step step, breathe, picture, step, step...and on up.

Then you reach true alpine meadows above 9000' ...and in the glory of the afternoon light, you just stop and sigh.

Since our plans had changed, we peeked our heads into the High Sierra Camp lodge to see if we might partake in dinner. The meal would be $36, and the most the host would give us in terms of menu details was "chicken" (and they'd come up with something for Tiffani the vegetarian). $36 mystery chicken dish vs eating the (delicious) backpacking meal I'd have to carry out otherwise... Clear winner there, and with the amazing views from near our camp, I don't think we missed a thing. Once again we had a camp with toilets, water spigots and a community feel. We even ran into some of the same folks we'd been talking to on the Valley floor.

Another glorious night in the hammock...and could life possibly get any better?

Day 3: Sunrise HSC to Tuolumne Meadows HSC
We thought the day would be pretty easy: mostly downhill, lots of lakes to see, and reservations for dinner at the Tuolumne Lodge for dinner. I suppose in many ways it was easy, but it was also the beginning of my foot trouble.

You see, I'd decided to wear my waterproof hiking boots because my previous trips to the Sierras had always involved trekking through deep mud, across freezing cold wet streams and over snow fields. I thought I was being SO clever beating the conditions like that.

You know what mother nature does when you're being cocky, right???

So, turns out these shoes - which were fine for 11 days of trekking in India and a number of shorter dayhikes in Tucson - do NOT do well under the weight of a backpack for days on end...particularly downhill. So, while most of Day 3 I still felt okay, by the end of it my feet were beginning to be grumpy. Quite grumpy.

The hike to Tuolumne was - you guessed it - beautiful. Granite domes, glacially carved peaks, babbling streams, blah blah blah. One of the highlights of the day was the Cathedral Lakes area - alpine meadows with crystal clear lakes surrounded by jagged, sharp peaks which reached over 10,000'. Ptarmigans and marmots and hemlocks...oh my!

We read the signs that there was a re-vegetation project near the shores of Cathedral Lake, and stayed on the path high above to avoid adding our footfalls to the problem. Of course, we were probably the only ones and we felt a little silly eating our lunch 300' above shore when about a half dozen others were basking next to the water, but that's the price of the moral (and literal) high ground.

Below the Cathedral junction, the trail dropped quickly to the Meadows, switch-backing down through a thick forest which afforded fewer of the the stunning views we'd seen in the first part of the hike. I was more or less mentally done by the time we got to the junction with Bud Creek, which was a strategic mistake on my part. There were still several miles to go to get to the campground, including some road walking (back in the land of the gas-belching beasts), line-standing (gotta get french fries at the grill) and more walking into the campground (and back, and back, and back). My feet were losing patience.

Tiffani was ALSO having feet (foot?) trouble, but it felt much more urgent for her to address it as she still had like 19 days of hiking ahead of her. We stopped into the gear shop to buy her some new Superfeet inserts for her shoes, only to find out that they were sold out of her size. We sat outside on the bench and debated options, evidently more loudly than we thought. When Gary picked me up at the Postpile, he would be able to drop off a new pair (traded for a pair of shoe insoles...ah the travesty) but that was still miles away. And we weren't exactly at the center of a retail Mecca. The shop attendant (who must've overheard us) came out and made a surprising offer...he'd GIVE Tiffani his old Superfeet insoles to try out. That at least gave her something for her feet to get her through the next few days, and would help her know if the Superfeet were really going to help (or if something else might be needed). We found this sort of generosity and sense of community everywhere in Tuolumne - it really is a through-hiker haven. Half of the people in line at the cafe are through hikers, and the other half wish they were. It's great.

We walked the 2 miles to the lodge early enough to shower before dinner (I am not to proud to steal a shower, even if I've only been out for 3 days), and then enjoyed a delicious craft beer in the lodge as we waited (only $1.75!). Dinner at Tuolumne is served at family-style tables of 8, so we shared our meal with 6 strangers, all of whom were a delight. There was the couple from Ireland (great tales), the retirees who were seeing the world at long last and the newly-weds from California who turned out to be actual Hollywood types (she had just finished up filming 2 seasons of a TV show and he's a producer/director type). They were SO fascinated with our adventure that they offered us a ride back to our campground in their (very) nice Mercedes. It was especially kind given that it had gotten quite late, dark and my feet were in full revolt. I was tempted to switch my camp to their leather bench seat, but something told me there'd be limits to their generosity.

So it was another night in the hammock, worried about the bears (thanks to signs EVERYWHERE in the campground), though slightly more worried about drunk/high backpackers who were having a VERY good time all night...

Day 4: Tuolumne Meadows HSC to (finally) the middle of nowhere near Donahue Pass
I woke up with sore feet, and that's always a bad sign. I had a couple of blisters forming on my toes, which hasn't happened in years. I was so under-prepared that I had to borrow some blister supplies from Tiffani, which was embarrassing considering that I was supposed to be the low maintenance one. Tiffani wanted to get our breakfast from the cafe, so once again we got a later start. The long days and relatively cool temps meant that this was never really a problem, but it certainly felt like we were being lazy. In AZ in July, this totally would have kicked us in the pumpkin.

The majority of the hike on day 4 was through Lyell Canyon. This is a spectacular destination, so I was surprised that we saw basically zero dayhikers once we were past the lodge. The canyon is totally unlike the rugged Arizona canyons I'm used to... It's broad and U-shaped, with a gentle, meandering stream and huge stands of trees. Several times I thought I'd stumbled into a scene from Middle-Earth or Bierstadt's imagination. It gave me something to think about besides my aching, swelling feet.

Midway through the canyon we ran into a group that was backpacking with kids. I mean young kids. These 3 adults were escorting 4 junior hikers, ages 4-8, on a 4 night backpacking trip. I was in awe. The packs carried by the adults were immense, and the ability of these folks to walk under that weight AND entertain a 4 year old was impressive. We were stopped as we passed the first woman and her easily distracted young charge. She asked us to take the hat dangling from the back of her pack on ahead to the older girl hiking with her Grandfather. We quickly passed the other group and as we chatted, we learned that the woman who'd given us the hat was none other than Elizabeth Wenk. We'd been using Ms. Wenk's book "John Muir Trail: The essential guide..." like our bible! We were disappointed that we'd not realized who we were speaking to earlier, but we were happy to have been of service to the troupe and that we got to see Ms. Wenk doing what she clearly does best. That concluded our celebrity sightings for the trip.

The pictures tell more than words ever could on this passage. It really is absurdly beautiful. Toward the back of the canyon, it doesn't so much narrow as get shallower and rougher - with fewer meadows and more boulders to contend with, tighter meanders (that look like U turns) and dense little forest glades. We originally aimed to camp just below Donahue Pass on the shore of a beautiful lake. However, my feet simply didn't make it that far, and we camped at Lyell Forks instead - about 3 miles short. It was a beautiful camp in its own right, though, and I gave my feet a good cold soak in Lyell Creek. We enjoyed the beer we'd carried from Tuolomne and a small fire (which we later learned was illegal...oops). Sleeping is much easier when it doesn't get dark until almost 10pm...

Day 5: Lyell Forks to Garnet Lake
We knew we had to make up the miles from yesterday sometime... Afterall, we had a date with a cabin, shower and soft bed at Red's Meadow in the Devil's Postpile the evening of day 6. Though we'd prepared Mr.Wendy with the thought that we might not arrive until early on day 7, neither of us were really ready to do that. It only meant 12 miles on day 5, but that included getting our butts up and over Donahue pass - our highest point so far at 11056'.

We started the day with a 1500' climb. It sounded daunting at first...but as Elizabeth Wenk described in her book, it's well graded with plenty of drop-dead-amazing views to keep you distracted. This was probably the busiest part of trail we'd been on since the Yosemite Valley - I guess the backpackers all stack themselves up near the summit of the pass traveling in either direction then tackle it together in the morning. Though it was busy, everyone was very friendly and we had some nice chats (including one with a Yosemite ranger from whom we learned of the illegality of our campfire without giving ourselves away). We also learned that the water of the tarns (high pass lakes which are essentially melted snow trapped on the flat pass) is actually warmer than many of the streams, since it is constantly in the sun. We decided to skip the swim just the same. Warmer hardly means warm, especially when you can step in the snow that created that same puddle!

The pass itself is above the tree line, barren and rocky, with incredible views down into Lyell Canyon (which would be better for photos later in the day). It is also the boundary line between Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest - so several rules change right on that rough patch of land. While fires were allowed in Yosemite (below 9500'), the drought had caused the national forests to ban campfires all together. For the rest of her hike, Tiffani would need to go without a toasty warm fire at night.

The pass is also an east-west boundary for an ecosystem. The landscape on the Yosemite side tended to be drier than the Inyo, and the wildflowers on the east of the pass were far superior. For the first time we started seeing the spectacular display of flowers and smaller shrubs I'd been hoping for in my dreams of the Sierra summers. White mountain heather was among my favorites, and we got to spend our lunch break with our feet in melting snow from the pass and our shoulders resting on a thick bed of heather and grass. Perfect!

My feet turned out to far prefer uphill to the down, so the first climb of the morning I was hopeful that I was in recovery. However, as we came down the far side of the pass I was hurtin'. Luckily, the day was all about alternating ups and downs, so I just gritted my teeth through the bad parts and tried to take in the amazing, changing scenery.

The rocks begin changing here as well, as the granite has come into contact with volcanic activity (Mammoth Mountain complex). As we crossed over Island Pass (a lush paradise of small lakes and wet bogs), the granite began to take on a dark, sinister character to it -most evident in the black, stark slopes of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak. These peaks tower over Thousand Island and Garnet Lakes, two of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

You'll have to check out the photos of these two lakes, dotted with granite islands and bits of forest that seem to float on their surface like bubbles. Unfortunately, we were getting short on time at Thousand Island Lake...it was after 6:30 pm and it was still 3 miles to Garnet where we wanted to camp. We took some pics from a viewpoint above the lake, then crossed quickly at it's mouth. Then was up out of the Thousand Island glacial basin, down into Emerald Lake's basin, up and out again then down again into Ruby Lake, then one last climb and descent to the stunning Garnet Lake. If we'd have been moving faster, I might have gotten a little dizzy!

It was 8pm when we finally got to the junction of the use trail at Garnet described in our guide which we hoped would take us to some ideal camping spots along the shore of the lake. The, it was nearly 9:30 before we finally settled on a spot. The lake is in a steep glacial cirque, and there really aren't many places for camping that satisfy both a tent and a hammock - in reality, there aren't many campsites at all once you leave the first 1000' feet of use trail. We finally settled on a flat spot between piles of boulders and I resigned to sleeping on the ground. I'd brought my new Big Agnes for just this reason - it's warm enough to use in the hammock and soft enough to sleep with on the earth. Still...my last night and I had to keep the hammock packed. I pouted a little bit, but soon was snoring away regardless of where my bum was.

Day 6: Garnet Lake to Devil's Post Pile NM
Another lousy day in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Wake up to a glass-smooth, crystal blue glacial lake with a towering black granite peak at it's head. Really, how much of this must I endure? The mosquitoes finally caught up with us...they'd been suspiciously absent for the first part of the trip. However, that's what the Deet is for, and we didn't use it sparingly. Dope up and start hiking girl - your man is waiting at the far side (woo hoo!)

The character of the landscape is now completely changed from the Yosemite area. The lakes we've been visiting are perched on a shoulder of Ritter Range, where the east bound glaciers parked and waited to merge with the much larger south bound glacier that has become the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. These lakes hang as much as 1000' feet above the river level below - their outlet streams do a crazy swan dive down the sides of the valley. The route of these swan dives sometimes accompany trails - and the PCT takes one of these down from the Thousand Island inlet to follow the river trail far below. The JMT, being more about the super-intensified Sierras experience, follows the high road and continues to drop into and climb out of lake basins and creek drainages for miles. Shadow Lake is one of the more scenic, and it is within easy dayhike range for visitors to the Post Pile and Mammoth - so we began to see many more folks on the trail with tiny packs and 16oz water bottles.

Did I mention yet that my feet hurt? I was trying crazy stuff, like hiking in Tiffani's sandals and even in my foam camp shoes just to give my feet a change in pressure points. At this point, I'm just hiking through the pain, and though there are moments when I just want to sit down and whine like a child, I think I'm doing pretty well. I suppose you get to a point where it just doesn't really matter any more...and that's a good place to be. On the large climb out of Shadow Lake, I actually felt great and kept ahead of several other backpackers and hikers who were laboring up the switchbacks. I felt like if I could just keep climbing for the rest of the trip, I'd be golden (and we all know that I NEVER think like that!)

We hiked past views of the Minarets, which are actually some of the best examples of glacial arete that you'll find in North America. If you can imagine licking at your ice cream cone from both sides alternately until you end up with a point on the top and two U-shaped valleys on the sides, you've just made an arete. Glaciers do this to granite over thousands of years. I think that's pretty blinking impressive, really, and I wished that there'd been less haze (or was it smoke, we never knew) so that I'd have been able to photo them a little better. Glaciers are an impressive force of nature, and I'm very nervous that I won't be able to experience many before they're all gone in this latest warm spell. I'll just have to chase the remaining few and make sure I enjoy them thoroughly before they become drinking water.

So it's lake, lake, marsh, then a loooooonnnnggg descent down to the shores of the San Joaquin near Reds Meadow. By now we have cell reception, and we're in touch with Mr. Wendy, who has Mr. Wendy's mom in tow (who by the way thinks her daughter-in-law is simultaneously amazing and crazy). We're all surprised at how quickly today has gone. Though the mileage was similar to the day before, we managed to make it WELL before dark - in fact, we made it by dinner time! Woo hoo for a meal at a table with soda and ice cream!

At the end of the day, as I curled up with Mr. Wendy in a bed, I realized that I was actually jealous that Tiffani got to keep hiking and I would be getting into a car and returning to Arizona. In spite of my aching feet and smelly clothes, I wanted to keep going.

I suppose that's the through-hiking bug getting its bite in. How can you stop with so much beauty and great people still ahead of you? That trail keeps going...don't you want to see where?

Well, I do. As I waved goodbye to Tiffani the next afternoon (after laundry and shopping in Mammoth), I felt a little nervous for her on her first solo backpacking nights and more than a little envious that it wasn't me with the pack and the poles. Maybe that's why it took so long to write this trip log. I'm not REALLY done with the trip yet...I'm just on a long, long break.

So, who's up for Devil's Postpile to Muir Trail Ranch next year???
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
May 28 2013
Dave1
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 Routes 29
 Photos 1,548
 Triplogs 1,802

44 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!
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May 04 2013
jdnevi
avatar

 Routes 1
 Triplogs 76

36 male
 Joined Nov 29 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar May 04 2013
jdnevi
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs      1.75 mph
2,800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Jun 27 2012
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,632

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Panorama - Mist TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2012
John9L
Hiking15.50 Miles 4,400 AEG
Hiking15.50 Miles
4,400 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I had an open morning and was considering my options. I wanted a hike that I could start very early and not have to rely on the bus service in Yosemite. I decided on a loop hike up the Mist Trail. I would walk from Curry Village to the Happy Isles trailhead and then head up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Falls. From there I would connect to the Panorama Trail and head up to Glacier Point. I would then return to Yosemite Valley on the Four Mile Trail. This was going to be fun!

I was out the door in Curry Village at 6:10am and made fast time to Happy Isles. This would be my fourth hike on the Mist Trail and the first time I've walked to the trailhead. It was closer then I thought. I hit the Mist Trail and made quick time to Vernal Falls. I could tell most of the people on the trail were heading for Half Dome. I continued on and cruised all the way to Nevada Falls. Once up top I took a short break and then headed for the Panorama Trail. I was surprised the turnoff did not have a sign. Regardless I continued and the trail started ascending up a series of switchbacks. I made good time on the uphill. Eventually things leveled off and I found myself at the top of the Panorama Cliffs. The views into Yosemite Valley were spectacular!

I followed the Panorama Trail and after a couple of miles the trail descends towards Illilouette Falls. I made my way down and crossed the bridge. From there you start making switchbacks up as you proceed towards Glacier Point. There is a fantastic view of Illilouette Falls from the trail on the Glacier Point side. I continued on and made my way up. Everything was going great and I never felt better! After some effort I reached Glacier Point. This was my third time up here but the first time I've hiked up from the valley floor. Naturally the views are spectacular! I ate some lunch and spent a few minutes in the store and spent time walking around Glacier Point.

Eventually I was ready to tackle the Four Mile Trail back to Yosemite Valley. I picked up the trail and was off. I made quick time on the first mile or so. After a bit you start hitting switchbacks and they seem to never end. On the way down, I was asked at least a half dozen times how much farther they had for Glacier Point. I felt bad for some of them because it was going to be a struggle. I was glad I made this loop in a clockwise direction because ascending the Four Mile Trail will take massive effort! I eventually reached the valley floor and then turned east and started walking back. After a mile I decided to pick up the valley shuttle for the quick return to Curry Village. Another wonderful day on the trails in Yosemite! The hiking is starting to feel like a job!

These three trails are epic! The Mist Trail is the most popular trail in the park for good reason. Over the course of three miles, you ascend to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls. From there the Panorama Trail takes you even higher and deeper into Yosemite. Luckily there were only a handful of people on this section. Glacier Point is an absolute must on any Yosemite visit. There were plenty of people there but I didn't mind. The Four Mile Trail has epic views of Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. This is an amazing combo of hikes and will leave you with a great feel for Yosemite Valley!

One last note, I could not get a good signal on my GPS until I was at the top of Vernal Falls. I estimated the total hiking distance and AEG.
Fauna
Fauna
Dusky Grouse
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May 23 2012
chumley
avatar

 Guides 78
 Routes 679
 Photos 14,842
 Triplogs 1,535

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar May 23 2012
chumley
Hiking6.60 Miles 3,580 AEG
Hiking6.60 Miles
3,580 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
After busting my knee on Humphrey's 2 weeks earlier, I had nearly decided to skip Yosemite altogether. Luckily, there was no structural damage, and the stretching and bruising had been healing well enough that I figured I would be able to at least enjoy some of the shorter and more basic hikes, while conceding that Half Dome would have to be put off until another trip.

And then SoCal took it's toll on me. A few days of fresh valley air had spawned a slight cold, and despite my efforts, it seemed to worsen each day. So as I settled into my tent on Tuesday night, I was not prepared for the misery I was about to endure. Without too many details, I was miserably sick, somehow congested, while still totally unable to keep my sinuses from producing their very own Yosemite fall. A basically didn't sleep all night long. Sore throat, nose, headache, misery. When the sun finally came up, I got up and decided just to explore a little bit before everybody else woke up.

This turned into a perfect storm of unpreparedness. I didn't eat. I didn't bring food. I threw on my camelback so I had a couple of liters of water. I didn't bring my new knee-supporting hiking poles since I figured I was just going for a stroll.

So I meandered over to the river and began to follow it upstream a little bit, trying to ignore the pounding congestion in my head and chest. The air was cool and the sun was well hidden in the depths of the valley. I had read about a short trail to a waterfall view so I decided to head in that general direction until I encountered an official trailhead. The mileage looked reasonable for somebody in my condition (0.8 to the bridge), so I just kept going.

I began to realize that the mileage here wasn't the issue. The trail was paved and footing was easy. But it was basically straight uphill. Relentlessly. It's probably not that bad, but to me it felt like pure misery. But then this place is magical. Even along the way, I encountered views that were incredible. Stunning. Look! There's another waterfall (Illilouette? Never heard of that one!) Oh I feel like pumpkin. I should turn around. No, the view bridge is right around the corner now, can't turn around now.

And that's how my day kept going. First the bridge, then Vernal Falls, then the next bridge, then Nevada, etc. I kept pressing on, with something else to see around every corner preventing me from turning around. I was finally so "done" I could do no more. And I knew I had all that mileage to go back! My breathing was rhaspy. My throat hurt so bad it was hard to drink my water. I was starving and hadn't eaten. And now I began to descend slowly, carefully on my tender knee.

I made sure to take my time. Twice I slipped a little and jammed my knee to the point of pain. Good thing I have those awesome new hiking poles back at camp! After getting cold and wet on the mist trail, I decided for my health to stay dry and take the Muir bypass back down. What a miserable, dusty, switchback hell. I'm not sure why anybody would choose this route.

On a positive sidenote, I encountered a NPS trail worker who explained a lot about trail maintenance to me. It is a wilderness, and while they have exemptions for power tools such as chainsaws to clear the trails, he said that 80-90% of the work is done by hand. This was explained as he sat with hammer and chisel, splitting solid granite stones into the exact shape they need to be to stand the test of time against the abuse that the horses and especially the mules inflict on the trail. Hammering granite on the trail all year long is tough work, he said, but beats any office job he's ever had. Tough to disagree with that perspective!

So I finally made it back to the Vernal view bridge and the paved trail back down, and this is when I realized that despite all my ailments, I was so happy to have experienced this magical place virtually to myself. Because now, there were throngs of tourists, groups, kids, families, etc. heading up the trail. The kind of people who have never thought that stopping to chat with 14 people in the middle of the trail when people are trying to walk by is inconsiderate. I'm so happy I didn't have to experience that until my very last stretch getting back.

Who knows though, maybe it would've kept me from pushing myself so far when I was so ill-equipped to do so?

In the end, I got back to camp and grabbed a little bit of jerky, went to the village store and spent $35 on a plethora of medicines I didn't have, took a few of each and crawled into my tent and went to sleep.
Culture
Culture
Benchmark

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Illilouette Creek Light flow Light flow
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Championing breakfast since 1994.
May 06 2012
hikerdw
avatar

 Routes 165
 Photos 2,613
 Triplogs 435

61 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
 Mesa,AZ
Mist Trail - Yosemite NPSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar May 06 2012
hikerdw
Hiking7.00 Miles 2,800 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
2,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Amazing!
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average hiking speed 1.94 mph
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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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