I have always and will always love Yosemite. The first time I came here was in 1965 with my grandparents and during that same time period as a Boy Scout. I was here in the late 60's as a hippie, in 1972 on my honeymoon, from 1982-1985 I lived and worked in the park and returned last year for a one year working vacation. Even though I was raised in Merced, grew up in Laguna Beach and loved being at sea in the Navy, when I crewed on John Wayne's boat the Wild Goose and on cruise ships Yosemite will always be home.
So now it is time to say goodbye for now one more time. After a year as the old guy behind the cash register at the Ahwahnee Gift Shop it is time to resume my career as an Acupuncturist at Sea.
It was a great year and allowed me to relax and focus on my photography. It also allowed my to pursue another of my life long passions or a better way to put it…obsession…backpacking.
Although I have hiked hundreds, actually thousands of miles through the Sierra, the Sawtooths and the Rockies I have not done any serious backpacking in a number of years and moving back to Yosemite last year opened that door again.
Throughout my life I have hiked hundreds of miles in Yosemite and the surrounding Sierras but there is always a trail or a lake or a mountaintop that you have not been to before. And even though I hiked some of the trails that I had hiked previously that was my focus this year, to hike places that I had never seen.
I had hiked the Panorama Trail many times and this year was no different and my first hike of the year. As it was early in the season I was rained on, hailed on snowed on but the sun did come out every now and then during the eleven mile day hike.
Nevada Falls from the Panorama Trail
Self Portrait at Nevada Falls
My next hike was again just a day hike on the Pohono Trail and covered sixteen miles. I had never taken this hike before and it is now one of my favorites. It starts from Glacier Point and traverses the entire south rim with Yosemite Valley 4,000 feet below. The views were incredible of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan.
Glacier Point Trailhead with Half Dome
and Tenaya Canyon in the background
Yosemite Falls from the Pohono Trail
Taft Point View from the Pohono Trail
Look close and I am on the left…
give the granite cliffs scale
Crocker Point View from the Pohono Trail
With El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls
The Trails End at Tunnel View
Great View of Yosemite Valley
On my next weekend I decided to hike another trail that I had not done, at least some of it. I had already hiked for the valley floor to the top of Yosemite Falls many times, I had hiked from the valley floor past Yosemite Falls to do the traverse to the top of Lost Arrow and back but I had never hiked from the other direction down to the valley.
I set out on my first overnight hike of the season. The hike covered seventeen miles carrying a forty five pound pack from the Porcupine Creek Trailhead to the top of North Dome where I would spend the night after making a side trip to Indian Rock.
Half Dome and Clouds Rest from the top of North Dome
The next morning I would hike to the top of Yosemite Falls and then take the Yosemite Falls trail down to the valley floor. Even though a good portion of the hike was downhill that does not mean it was easy. Backpackers know that it is harder on your back, lungs and heart going uphill and harder on your knees going downhill.
View From The Top of Yosemite Falls
View From About Half Way Down the Yosemite Falls Trail
By the next week most of the snow had receded in the high country so it was time to head elevations between 8,000 - 10,000 feet. So the decision was made to hike to Grant Lake, which was all uphill the first night and then drop into Ten Lakes Basin the next morning for another night out. Then on the last day climb out of the basin and make the long hike back to the trailhead where I was parked totaling a twelve mile hike.
Close to Grant Lake
Overlooking Ten Lakes Basin
Ten Lakes Basin
The Long Climb Back Out of
Ten Lakes Basin
The following week it was time for another long hike, in fact my longest of the summer. I would cover thirty one mile in forty eight hours. I again started at the Porcupine Creek Trailhead and spent the first night on North Dome. The next morning I got up and hiked past the top of Yosemite Falls and spent the night on the top of El Capitan ten miles from my start. The next morning I hiked out to the Big Oak Flat Road Trailhead and was out by early afternoon.
The top of North Dome With Half Dome in the Background
Chilling in my hammock on the top of North Dome
With Half Dome in the Background
My Camp on the Top of North Dome With Half Dome in the Background
The Summit of El Capitan
with smoke haze from the Rim Fire
One of the Climbers Camps on the Summit El Capitan
note the rock windscreen
From the Floor of Yosemite Valley
Looking Up at El Capitan
Next it was a short eight mile overnight hike to the Seven Lakes Basin a little over 9,500 feet elevation. At these elevations it is almost always windy and this day was no different. Still it was well worth the hike to spend the night out in the pristine wilderness.
Cascade Lake, Seven Lakes Basin
Seven Lakes Basin
Seven Lakes Basin
On my next weekend it was again time to push myself. I decided to go towards the Clark Range as the Rim Fire was blocking access to much of the east side high country. Still I would be able to hike over elevations of 9,000 feet and be in yet another area I had not hiked before. And I would push myself to cover twenty six miles I less then twenty four hours carrying my normal forty five pound pack. (sorry could not locate a photo)
With the short hiking season due to the Rim Fire that would about cover my backcountry hiking for the summer. Still with the too many to count five to ten mile hikes, three to four days a week throughout Yosemite Valley's trail system I was still able to hike well over three hundred miles this summer.
And now it is early April 2014 and time to say goodbye to Yosemite once again. I will return as I always have but for now it is time to travel to other countries throughout the world to discover their beauty as I set sail and resume my career as an Acupuncturist at Sea on various cruise ships world wide…
A Lazy Afternoon Spent Watching Bridalveil Falls
Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
Ahwahnee Meadows Dawn on My Ten Minute Walk to Work
First Snow of the Year at Valley View
Winter at Valley View
The Milky Way in Yosemite Valley
Night Shot of Yosemite Falls
Classic Moonbow Shot of Yosemite Falls
And Now Some Shots of the Residents of Yosemite
Buck Mule Deer in the Ahwahnee Meadow
This is about 50 yards from where I live…
"His Majesty" near the Ahwahnee Meadow
Look at the size of his rack
The Local Bobcat near the Ahwahnee Hotel
The King of the Forest…The California Black Bear
They Can Be Black, Brown or Blond….
And Now My Home For the Next Seven Months….
Cunard's Queen Victoria
I hope you enjoy the photographs of Yosemite and in the near future you enjoy more of my images as I photograph the world….