the big trip, chapter 4: yosemite

June 23, 2011

The Denver Post has – thankfully – kept me very busy lately, and so I haven’t had time to continue my series on our Big Trip. My apologies for that. Today, I got off a little earlier than usual, and so I made myself sit down and work some more. Finally, after weeks and weeks of waiting, here is the fourth chapter of our Big Trip: Yosemite!


On Saturday morning, we headed out from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, the declared highlight of our trip. We had been anticipating it for months and put an enormous amount of planning into it. For several weeks, we studied trail descriptions, topo maps, weather forecasts and records, backpacker blogs, the National Park Service website (which is an amazing resource) and a lot of other material in order to prepare ourselves for the trip. We went on practice hikes with heavy backpacks to build up musculature and stamina, and we fired up our camping stove at home in order to figure out what best to bring for food. And now, finally, the day had come to put all this into practice and hike out into the breathtaking wilderness of Yosemite.

Since this was our first serious backpacking trip together, we decided to start small and raise the bar step by step. We split up the time we had at Yosemite into three hikes: a one-night trip down to Poopenaut Valley (which is a hike from hell, let me tell you!); a two-night hike to Rancheria Falls; and a three-night hike to Lake Eleanor. We finished all three hikes without any incidents and, what’s more, we had a perfect meal plan thanks to Beth. She spent weeks researching backpacking food, nutrition values and calorie charts and put together a well-rounded, healthy, nutritional, delicious and light-weight diet. After the amazing experience we had at Yosemite, we can’t wait to plan our next backpacking trip.

Orginally, I planned to post this leg of the road trip in several chapters, each dedicated to one of the three backpacking trips we did in the park. But when I edited my pictures, I found that this didn’t make much sense – I think it is more fitting to show the place as a whole rather than chopping it up into bite-sized pieces.

Also, I decided to go with a wider edit – well, actually, that’s not true. It wasn’t as much a conscious decision as not being able to let go of any more images. The place is just too beautiful to reduce it to five or so images. Please forgive me if my edit turned out to be rather extensive – blame it on the beauty of Yosemite!

Participants of a photography workshop wait for the right light in the Yosemite Valley at Tunnel View, May 29, 2011.

Participants of a photography workshop wait for the right light in the Yosemite Valley at Tunnel View, May 29, 2011.

A rainbow hangs over Yosemite Valley as the sun breaks through heavy rain couds, Yosemite National Park, May 29, 2011.

The wait was worth it...

Granite Gilia (Leptodactylon pungens) grow along the trail from Rancheria Falls to Tiltill Valley at Yosemite National Park, May 24, 2011.

Granite Gilia (Leptodactylon pungens) grow along the trail from Rancheria Falls to Tiltill Valley, May 24, 2011.

Hetch Hetchy Dome, center left, and Kolana Rock tower over the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

Hetch Hetchy Dome, center left, and Kolana Rock tower over the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, May 23, 2011.

The early morning sun breaks through the clouds at Lake Eleanor at Yosemite National Park, May 29, 2011.

The early morning sun breaks through the clouds at Lake Eleanor, May 29, 2011.

One of countless streams fed by snow melt washes over a rock at Rancheria Falls trail at Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

One of countless streams fed by snow melt washes over a rock at Rancheria Falls trail, May 23, 2011.

Clouds engulf the peaks over Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at Yosemite National Park, May 29, 2011.

Clouds engulf the peaks over Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, May 29, 2011.

The beauty of Yosemite lies not only in its breathtaking vistas and towering mountains, but also in the perfect little details, such as this small pool in a stream along Rancheria Falls trail, May 23, 2011.

The beauty of Yosemite lies not only in its breathtaking vistas and towering mountains, but also in the perfect little details, such as this small pool in a stream along Rancheria Falls trail, May 23, 2011.

Heavy clouds hang over the mountains surrounding Lake Eleanor at Yosemite National Park, May 27, 2011.

Heavy clouds hang over the mountains surrounding Lake Eleanor, May 27, 2011.

A snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) grows along the trail leading down from Miguel Meadows to Lake Eleanor. According to the U.S. Forest Service, this bizarre plant is a relative of the Manzanita shrub. Lacking own chlorophyll, it derives nutrition from a fungus that lives in symbiosis with conifers.

A snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) grows along the trail leading down from Miguel Meadows to Lake Eleanor. According to the U.S. Forest Service, this bizarre plant is a relative of the Manzanita shrub. Lacking own chlorophyll, it derives nutrition from a fungus that lives in symbiosis with conifers.

A sea of wildflowers grows above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir along the Rancheria Falls trail at Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

A sea of wildflowers grows above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir along the Rancheria Falls trail, May 23, 2011.

The majestic Wapama Falls drop almost 1,600 feet and shower the hikers along Rancheria Falls trail at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with their ice cold spray, May 23, 2011.

The majestic Wapama Falls drop almost 1,600 feet and shower the hikers along Rancheria Falls trail at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with their ice cold spray, May 23, 2011.

Yellow lichen grows on a tree at Lake Eleanor, Yosemite National Park, May 27, 2011.

Yellow lichen grows on a tree at Lake Eleanor, Yosemite National Park, May 27, 2011.

Applegate's Paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei) blooms above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with Kolana Rock in the background, Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

Applegate's Paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei) blooms above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with Kolana Rock in the background, May 23, 2011.

Yellow lichen grows on a dead Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) shrub near Rancheria Falls at Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

Yellow lichen grows on a dead Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) shrub near Rancheria Falls, May 23, 2011.

The sun breaks through thick rain clouds in Wawona, Yosemite National Park, May 29, 2011. This was shortly after our breaks went up in smoke coming down from Chinquapin.

The sun breaks through thick rain clouds in Wawona, May 29, 2011. This was shortly after our breaks went up in smoke coming down from Chinquapin.

The sun sets behind Hetch Hetchy Dome at Rancheria Falls, Yosemite National Park, May 23, 2011.

The sun sets behind Hetch Hetchy Dome at Rancheria Falls, May 23, 2011.

Filed under: USA

Tags: , , , ,

1 Comment

  • 1. kevin  |  3. 7. 2011 at 2.13

    very nice photos..


Blog archive

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Recent Posts

Tags

Links

Blogroll