Last month I chronicled the first five days of my trip to Las Vegas, Kanab, UT, and Zion National Park through arriving at Yosemite National Park. This month I’ll describe our adventures in Yosemite and the trip back to Sacramento.
After our first night sleeping in Yosemite Valley Housekeeping Camp (Unit A 250), Roch and I awoke on Monday September 19, bought muffins for breakfast along with beverages and trail mix at the camp store and then drove to the parking area at Yosemite Village. After checking with the Visitor Center on hikes to take in the Valley, we decided to hike the Valley Floor Trail and Mirror Lake Trail on Monday, and then on Tuesday we would take a bus from the Valley to Glacier Point where we’d hike down the 8.2 miles back to the Valley along the Panorama Trail (which includes the Mist Trail and parts of the John Muir Trail). We left the Visitor Center and started on the Valley Floor Trail, planning to hike as far as El Capitan. There is a beautiful view of Upper Yosemite Falls from the Village, with a good photo opportunity just in front of the Yosemite Post Office. From the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail you will be able to get shots of both the upper and lower falls. This trail will also take you to the spot where John Muir built his sugar pine house, and the view of the falls explains why he chose that particular spot. After rejoining the Valley Floor Trail you pass the Yosemite Point trail head (a 2,900 foot climb to the point) and Camp #4 before crossing Northside Drive to hike along the Merced River. To the south you can see Sentinel Dome and then the trail and the river bend around the “Three Brothers” (Lower Brother, Middle Brother and Eagle Peak) to the north. Then, before you reach El Capitan, you can see Cathedral Spires and Cathedral Rocks to the south. After you have hiked about six miles from the village you are at the base of El Capitan. The massive rock face towers almost 3,600 feet above the valley, so pictures from its base do not do it justice. We crossed the drive and went deep into the meadow to try to get longer shots. Then we crossed the El Capitan bridge and waited for the El Capitan shuttle to take us back to the village and the car. At the bridge there were a number of people using high powered lenses to view climbers making their way to the top of El Capitan. To the naked eye the climbers looked like dark specks on the very light granite face. (more…)