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…
I was happy to see the mountain chinquapins so often on the path. Carroll Best’s lovely tune, “Chinquapin Hunting” played often in my head.
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.
Lovely photos – what a good start to your hike overall. Too bad about the knife – they’re hard to find too … my son once lost one that was a gift in sand. Perhaps it will turn up!!
A bit jealous out here in Kansas. . . .thanks for the hiking news, the views, and always the music.
Excellent! I look forward to seeing details of the full trip!
I am thrilled about this blog! I was hoping for at least a special issue of your newsletter devoted to details of your hike, but the prospect of a whole blog is fantastic.
Delighted to read this, and can’t wait for the rest! Sorry about the knife, I lost one
backpacking in Lassen once.
That was most excellent, Laurie ! I loved the photos and the recollection of your time on the trail. Today, I took our neighbors , Margaux and her mom, Andrea for a foot massage. I just wanted to pic Margaux’s brain about her hiking the “Applechaine Trail”. She graduated early. So, she and a girlfriend decided to hike this trail from beginning to end. I was so impressed and curious about her adventure. I lerned a lot today about life on the trail, gear, food, and sleeping arrangements. Wow! It was a huge undertaking!!!!! I bet you feel the same way! Thinking of you, Shelley
Thank you Laurie for the colorful photos and day by day trip information. You are my “Huell Howser” now of personal trips about California! The next best thing to being there! Thank you!
Sorry I miss your Bill Monroe Birthday Show. But now it is Happy Birthday to you Laurie Lewis! I hope you received my card for you? Happy Birthday!
I love that picture of you both starting out on the trail with Half Dome behind you.
Wow, just wow. I have walked, mostly, the same exact footsteps you and Betty took, back in the 70’s. A few times.
1) Why start from Glacier Point when you COULD have started at Tuolumne? That loop north and up to the Sierra Camps, and then into Tuolumne seems a bit out of the way.
2) Donahue Pass, 1,000 Island Lake. You camped on the left, we camped on the right, and went over cross country. Heading to Mammoth. I think, you took the better route.
3) I’m not clear on how you and Betty went past Waugh Lake and into Gem Lakes, but ended up past Ruby Lake and camped, on Day 5 I think it was. I know the turf, but we headed south most times, out of 1,000 Island Lake, cross country. You CERTAINLY had an interesting day with the brother and his brother, and getting set straight to catch up with Betty on day 5. I’m just completely astounded by that day’s story, as I’ve had a day or so up there, alone, it’s worrisome to say the least, where do I go. Way to persevere, ma’am. I imagine that the thoughts running thru your head were similar to mine, and they were dark and fearful.
Will continue reading, you are walking where I once did, and I dearly appreciate the pictures and memories evoked from your trip, with respect to the ones I took so long ago. *bows*