The "Great Sierra Mine" sounds like a huge operation, doesn't it? Well, it's not much of a mine and certainly not great, but the trail up to it, which skirts the jewel-like Gaylor Lakes, is one of the best short hikes in Yosemite. Four miles round trip which can be done in 2-3 hours, you get a good heart-accelerating ascent then a pleasant meander through high alpine country. At the end of thetrail, you rise above a wind-blown pond that still could be surrounded by snow patches into late August and get to the Great Sierra Mine. The first sign of the mine is the frame of a stone house, built by silver miners around the 1860s or so. Some of the wooden beams can still be seen, as decomposition occurs very slowly at these high altitudes. Further up, you can see collapsed mine shafts and a few more structures, dating from the 19th century. And, if you walk down the other side of the slope, you can have lunch by another lake. All this activity is above 9000 feet, so bring your lungs!
Beneath a torrid sun and milions of flies I reach the summit of that granite wall and after lots of bends on this steep path. I thought that was quite closer the lake but i was wrong... actually to get to the lake you'll walk for 8.4 miles one way and the total elevation gain and loss is 6700 feet. Its a long hike the worse part is the first hours where all is that steep path and after that there are several parts gaining height and descending again.. so its hard for legs.. the second part is amidst a beautiful forest sometimes wet sometimes dry and full of conifers... after that u will reach somethinh that reminds a former lake and all trees are burnt..!!! isolated as i were there u just listen to the music of wind shaking the trees leafs.. its amazing and scary at the same time !! and just after this stage ..meadows and more meadows where u find a fork to Lake Vernon to the right or Laurel lake to the left before to cross the spring (frog creek)... Laure lake appears suddenly to your right, a large lake surrounded by conifers and not much accesible to its banks.. was then when i crossed in front of me (30 meters ahead ) a huge elk quite scary and alone in the forest,... was terrific !!
These pictures are from that moment... the hike was so strenous and it stopped me next day to hike half dome !! next time !!
I crossed the dam bridge from the parking lot where i parked my hyundai sonata. the first to get is a long tunnel with no light with bumps and rocks during all this gap. Once on the other part a lakeside path climbs up a few meters (not much) towards the main trails... i was looking something easy and not hard before my Half dome day ... the best to do was visit the waterfalls some mile away from the tunnel ...but i thought no much water on those days ... (Yosemite valley was so dry.. no waterfalls at all) so i quit that idea.. once in the main path fork.. i chose the Laurel Lake in spite of keeping on further by the lakeshore trail... and such an idea !! i started a path quite wide so so hot and full of flies .. a never ending switchback trail gaining high to achieve the top of the granite wall over the dam... and this is where i shot this picture..at half way to reach "the top".
Athetch Hetchy Valley entrance the ranger give you a leaflet with a map and usefull information about where are you entering..
In short i can explain that American indians lived there for more than 6000 years. Ending XIX century preservationists leaded by famous John Muir wanted the valley to remain untouched from others who support the idea to build a dam just there . in 1906 an eartquake and fire devasted SF adding public simpathy to the search for an adequate water supply. 1913 Congress authorized the construction of a dam in hetch Hetchy as well as another dam at Lake Eleonor. This water is a supply for 2.4 milion people in SF bay area
This is the Yosemite NP upper part.. and i discovered just by chance. I didnt pay attention to this part, just the valley, the eastern part in Tioga pass road and Wawona area and Sequoias park just closer to south entrance. So i woke up that morning from curry Village parking lot with the clear intention to spend a smooth day in Tuolomne meadows or any other part but not for a hard hiking day but a smooth and quiet day taking pictures and nothing more waiting to next day to hike up to Half Dome and leave Yosemite the next day. So driving up to crane flat i turned left to seek where that road leads (120) when i stopped in a fork that announces hetch hetchy to the right before leaving the road that leaded to San Francisco. And such a surprise. I stopped my car at ranger's station entrance where the ranger took me a number in order of entry to the park nook...i guess was number 3 or 4 !! good point ... it meant that almost nobody was there.. !! and actually it was right.. during my long day hike into the wild i didnt say hello to anybody (almost 7 hours alone).
So i moved my car by a long bending and quite nice road till the final lot where was a parking lot in front of a huge and large damn. And here it is the picture crossing it to discover more places further away !
Once you are in Glacier Point there are several hikes more to do.. some a easier ones or other that required a overnight. Sentinel Dome is achievable easily.. 2.2 miles hiking up there is this flatter rock plain higher to Glacier Point and offers a great view of all valley... now looking back i regret to myself not to go to Taft Point an amazing cliff over the valley absolutelly exposed to ravine.
This is one of the best trails I've ever done for its cliffs, landscapes and the
closest valley and half dome view hiking up. This trail starts in the valley
towards main campgrounds to the right just after the view of huge El Capitan
cliff. The Yosemite visitor was quite right: the hike is very strenuous, it
means 3200-foot climb in just 4.8 miles. There aren't many rest areas on the way
to Glacier's Point (the first summit) or at least not many smooth parts of the
path. It depends on your stamina: it could be so so strenuous or well worth it
to enjoy the absolutely great views during the hike!!
3214 feet up to the valley floor this is the place where everybody arrive by car... there's a parking lot to park your car after taking the road from the Valley to Wawona and taking a fork to the left.. (all is signed on the road).. but there's no much to see upthere... the best point is be proud of yourself hiking from the valley to the "top" because glacier is not the top.. i'll let u know... well after 4 hard miles you are in the middle of the crowd.. so sweat, thirsty and tired among all people well dressed and trim looking at the ravines, half dome, dry waterfalls or the main valley !!
Hiking up the view become amazing and fascinating... the trail becomes too more strenous and steep.. luckily there are so many shadow parts protecting you from the shining sun.. so its better start early in the morning because last bends are so steep and no trees around to hide u from the hard sun. Be carefull and bring lots of water with you during summer, i reckon how hot was in late september among 12pm when i was hiking
In June 2007, I planned to hike Half Dome, but after a hiker had fallen from the cables the week before I was scheduled to go, I decided a guide might be a good idea rather than attempt the hike alone, the first time. I did a Google search and found several options, but chose Y-Explore because I thought it would be a good fit. As it turned out, the experience went far beyond expectations.
John made an excellent hiking companion, he set a good, sustainable pace. We started at Glacier Point, longer than hiking from the Valley but less traffic. It does make for a long day and the last three miles, back up hill, were brutal, but John kept us plugging along (We completed the hike in 11 hours).
The next day John suggested Ostrander Lake as a "recovery" hike and it was an excellent idea!
I returned to Yosemite in September 2007 to do the other major hikes on my list. Two days before I was to leave San Francisco, the first winter storm of the season was predicted during my hiking days. El Capitan was scheduled first -- It was a long day in snow, but we made it to the top of El Capitan and back, about 10 hours. The next day everything was clear as if the snow the previous day had not happened. We hiked to North Dome and the views were spectacular! The third day, the winter storm was back. We hiked through several inches of snow to the peak of Cloud's Rest.
Half Dome was a major personal accomplishment, but the September trip was even better--the snow was so beautiful, a once in a lifetime experience! This was a trip I would have never done without the benefit of a guide--I could not have followed the route alone and it would have been dangerous to attempt it. However, John knew the trail system well enough to guide us through it and kept a sustainable pace throughout the day.
I recently visited Yosemite and had a great experience with a company called Yexplore. They have photographers who take clients out to photograph Yosemite from some amazing places that only a local would know. I was very impressed with my 5 hour session to some of my guide's secret locations. I'm by no means a beginner, but the guide definitely taught me some great techniques for photographing landscapes. The company also has family hiking tours which we did the second day. We hiked on scenic trails that were not very crowded, and the kids loved it. This is a great company and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to go hiking in Yosemite.
In contrast to Mono Lake, Cathedral Lake is high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, north of Yosemite. The hike is about seven miles round trip. It's well worth it. This is one of California's most beautiful lakes.
Yosemite National Park was set aside by President Abraham Lincol in 1864 as a grant to the state of Califormia, Yosemite Valley and Sequoia Grove were to be "held for public use, resort and recreation". It was the first federal authorization to preserve scenic and scientific values for public benefit and was the basis for the later concept of the state and national park system.
Our last lesson of history at the site of the Dead Giant was that originally a way of publicizing the grove, a tunnel was cut into the tree in the upper grove that allowed cars to drive through. The giant sequoias are the largest trees in the world (by volume) and are related to the coastal redwoods, which are the tallest trees in the world. Standing in front of a Sequoia tree makes you very little indeed. But somehow everything seems larger here, because we saw a few enormous acorns lying on the ground. Larger than 30 centimeters were no exeption.
Have a look at Yosemite National Park Packing List.
The hike we had at the Sequoia Grove made it clear to us the difference in environment and surroundings one can witness in only one National Park. The Tuolume Meadows hike was a bit flat, but beautiful because of its amazing views and drinkable Soda Springs. The Sequoia Grove hike was magnificent, because of the unbelievable large trees.
This second hike was a bit more extracting, but still a moderate hiking trail. The path went up and down and took us to some Sequoia Trees, which is the largest living organism on the world. We saw a tree which was 23 metres in circumference! Can you believe it? Thanks to these trees we're able to enjoy Yosemite, because this National Park was founded to protect these colossal trees.
Have a look at Yosemite National Park Packing List.
Our journey and goal for this particular hike was to see the Dead Giant, a Sequoia tree that is tunneled in 1878. It's one of the two remaining trees you can still walk through in Yosemite National Park.
But once we arrived at the spot the tree made us very sad; a monarch giant sequoia that has lived at least 1000 years, with a tunnel cut through its base. It's disgusting how early park management would vandalize the trees in this way. While walking through this tree may seem fun, stop for a moment and take a walk in the tree's shoe. It made us a bit angree!
We also learned that the Dead Giant was toppled in 1969, because the tunnel had weakened it. It is estimated to have died 1000 years prematurely.
Have a look at Yosemite National Park Packing List.