We started from Glacier Point, above Yosemite Valley, at around 11:00 AM. “We” were Betty Wheeler, Tom Rozum, and me. Tom carried my pack for the first 3+ miles, for which I was grateful. It was an easy way to break into my new life. Betty will be celebrating her 59th birthday on the hike, so maybe Tom should have carried her pack, but I didn’t suggest it. “Why did you start from Glacier Point?” you might well ask. Well, that was the only permit we could get for the day we wanted to start. The John Muir Trail “officially” starts at Happy Isles, on the Yosemite Valley floor, which necessitates lots of elevation gain and a steep climb past Vernal and Nevada Falls immediately upon starting the hike. Since I have hiked that segment numerous times, I didn’t feel the need to do it again. Starting from Glacier Point meant that we actually lost altitude the first day, and we got a bit of an overview of where we were headed.
The views along the Panoramic Trail were, of course, spectacular. The weather was perfect: warm in the sun, cool in the shade, with a light sometimes breeze. I had butterflies in my stomach about starting the trip, but as soon as I started walking they disappeared. Tom turned around after lunch and Betty and I kept going.
I had my first “accident” above Nevada Falls. I had put my Swiss Army knife in my (so I thought) zippered pocket, and when I stood up at the top of Nevada Falls, it fell out and quick as a wink skittered down the smooth granite and was gone over the edge of the falls. I miss that knife! It was the “executive” model, I think, with tiny scissors, two blades, a toothpick, and an orange peeler. Everything you need right there. Plus, it was a lovely ivory color and was customized with “Lewie” written on it in black script. A souvenir from Berne, Switzerland a number of years ago. Oh, well…
Staying in Little Yosemite Valley. Lots of campers and almost no Americans as far as I can tell. Our closest neighbors are a couple of hearing-impaired guys, so it’s very quiet here.
Excitement on the trail! The dry, clear sound of a rattle came to my ear and I looked up to see a very large rattlesnake just finishing crossing the trail ahead of me. Beautiful sinewy body, maybe pushing 6 feet in length, with ten rattles. I was relieved that I didn’t get a huge adrenaline jolt. We watched it until it disappeared into the manzanita.
ADDENDUM: My knife WAS in a zippered pocket! My new hiking shirt (Kuhl brand) has a hole in the right front pocket Damn! At least it wasn’t carelessness on my part.