The Hike to Snow Creek
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Where: A day long hike from our first night's camping at the top of Yosemite Falls, over to a site near Sandy Creek.
When: Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Who: The Red Team, baby... who else?

Our first night night passed easily enough, and we awoke ready to go for the days travels.  The first objective was to go over the bridge and up to a better view of Yosemite Valley. 

Right near this spot was a sign that pointed out how many deaths there had been near here, due to people slipping into the water and being sent right over the falls.

This was the only place we found anywhere in the park that had hand rails.  Every where else that we visited, you were on your own, and y'know... that was kinda nice!  It forced everybody to keep their guard up a little.

You can't get enough of the view from here, and we poked around a bit taking more pictures before going on.

Dinosaur Pinecones!

Look at the size of these monsters!  I mean, who has ever seen pine cones as long as your fore-arm, and that you actually had to step over instead of kicking aside.

Everything about this place was amazing.  The sky was even a deeper and richer shade of blue

The Mountain Lion

By mid morning, we stopped for a break and to reload our canteens.  It was a nice shady little valley area. ()

While we're hanging out, Mr. Derrane looked back up along the path we'd just walked, and saw something run across.  He calls out to the boys about it, and suggests that some of them go find out what it was.  So they did.

It turns out it was a mountain lion.  Honest to God.  We expected it to be a deer or something, but nope... a mountain lion in the middle of the day.  We figure it either didn't know we were there, or it was near us out of curiosity.  Thank goodness one of the scouts had his camera with him, and he was able to get this shot of it scampering away.  By their estimates, it was above the height of a grown man's knee at its shoulder.

We just couldn't get over it.  Later in the hike, we crossed paths with several trail workers and showed them the photo.  One said that he'd worked in the park all summer long for over 15 years, and still had not seen one live.  He'd seen the tracks, and had even seen remnants of their kills, but never one alive.

Water is important!

The trail was dusty, and the days were hot.  We planned our hiking around when next we'd be able to load up the canteens.

After lunch on the trail, we made camp at Snowy Creek ().  It was a wonderful spot where we could wash off some of the dust in the flowing water or lay in the sun and re-charge our batteries.

Right near the site we picked was a campsite filled with many of the trail workers.  They had quite a set-up, with full kitchen and small tent city.  They were far enough away that we didn't really hear them, nor they us.

In fact, we very rarely saw or heard anybody on the trails.  You were very much on your own out here.

View of Half Dome

As the crow flies, the top of Half Dome was only about two miles from us.  What's not evident here is that there was the whole breadth and depth of Yosemite Valley between here and there.  We were camping at an altitude here of about 6,750.  The valley floor was over 2,500 below, and the top of the dome is at roughly 7,930. 

If you look at the full scale image of the one below (which makes a great computer background, btw), you can see trees going up the left edge of Half Dome.  We're guessing these to be full adult pines.  That will help you get a sense of how big this thing is. 

The color changes as the shadow of the valley crawls up the side as sun set.

Our only camp fire

There are restrictions in the park preventing you from having camp fires above certain altitudes.  This was out one and only camp fire all week long.

Notice that we made good use of the bear canisters.  These were also mandated by law, and were probably a really good idea.  We'd stack them up well off to the side each night, keeping them a goodly distance from where we slept.

These canisters were used to haul in the food, and haul out the waste.  All waste.  It was part of the "Leave no Trace" training we received.