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Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?

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Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 07, 2008 02:14PM
Hi - after walking up and down the JMT/Mist Trail for decades, the other day I noticed the remnants of a broad trail, with substantial retaining-wall rockwork, that left the portion of the JMT near the crest of the initial 0.75-mile climb (across from Illillouette Fall) just before it drops down to the Vernal Fall Bridge. This was a surprise to me, but hopefully not to others here. I followed it uphill several hundred feet as it switchbacked up the south side of Grizzly Peak. In places it had been badly damaged by rockslides, but it was not impassable to somebody who'd do, say, the Sierra Point Trail, and was recognizable for a long distance. At many points, it looked substantial enough for a vehicle to pass. Eventually I had to turn back due to time constraints, but it has really intrigued me.

Anyone know what this was?





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 08, 2008 12:43AM
Could it be part of the old Sierra Point trail?

Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 08, 2008 10:44AM
Maybe a part of an older Sierra Pt. trail? I looked on several old maps going from the 1850's to current, and saw nothing else there:

(that is from 1937; does it look like the same Sierra Pt. trail we're used to?)
I'm guessing where the dotted line crosses the river is the former Happy Isles Bridge where the water station is now(?) Does that Sierra Pt. trail line seem about where it took off? If it's past the sharp easterly turn, none of the maps I have show anything.

The only other thing I can think of would be a trail heading to the diving board or that area, but I haven't heard of one from there. That would be some discovery, as the diving board is on my 'to do' list one of these days.

I'm always looking at Illilouette Fall or down at the Merced on that part of the trail, guess I need to look around more.



Post Edited (06-08-08 11:13)



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 09, 2008 12:03AM
that has always been there . i think it was meant to be THE (mist-trail/JMT) trail , but a blunder happened of some kind . rule of thumb : follow the pavement .

Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 09, 2008 07:26AM
Lucrativ wrote:

> that has always been there . i think it was meant to be THE
> (mist-trail/JMT) trail , but a blunder happened of some kind .
> rule of thumb : follow the pavement .
>

??? It really starts to switchback up that steep mountainside...it certainly would not go anywhere near the base of Vernal Fall. My first impression was it it might be a trail to Grizzly Peak or another way up to Half Dome/Diving Board, and it is VERY substantial, designed to accommodate a lot of people.

I may follow it farther soon. As far as following the pavement goes - Why?





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 13, 2008 12:49AM
It sounds like you may have found the Anderson Trail, constructed by George Anderson, the first man to scale Half Dome.

"Anderson's trail from Happy Isles to Vernal Fall was constructed at great loss to its builder in 1882." - 100 Years in Yosemite, Carl P. Russell, p. 109.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 07, 2011 09:41PM
Quote
Dearborn
It sounds like you may have found the Anderson Trail

Have any of you tried following it?
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 21, 2008 10:06AM
Can anybody tell me what the Indian Cave is as seen on this map?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 21, 2008 11:10AM
I remember my father taking me to the Indian Cave back in about 1950 when I was a wisp of a lad. I also remember not being impressed as I was expecting a real cave with things hanging down and things pointing up with bats and all. What it turned out to be was a jumble of large fallen rocks that you could walk into, probably from the Royal Arches or the Washington Column area. I wouldn't be surprised if these days no attention is directed to this area due to falling rocks and people getting hurt from climbing on those rocks.

The 1992 USGS topo map (7.5 min) of that area does not identify "Indian Cave" nor does it show a road bed or a trail going towards the base of Royal Arches.



Post Edited (06-21-08 11:15)



Old Dude
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 21, 2008 12:55PM
mrcondron wrote:

> I remember my father taking me to the Indian Cave back in about
> 1950 when I was a wisp of a lad. I also remember not being
> impressed as I was expecting a real cave with things hanging
> down and things pointing up with bats and all. What it turned
> out to be was a jumble of large fallen rocks that you could
> walk into, probably from the Royal Arches or the Washington
> Column area. I wouldn't be surprised if these days no
> attention is directed to this area due to falling rocks and
> people getting hurt from climbing on those rocks.
>
> The 1992 USGS topo map (7.5 min) of that area does not identify
> "Indian Cave" nor does it show a road bed or a trail going
> towards the base of Royal Arches.
>

>
> Post Edited (06-21-08 11:15)

The trail does go close past the front of the "caves." You are right, they are simply a large pile of HUGE boulders, but my son and his friends have always enjoyed clambering around on and underneath them. They are easy to find if you take the walking trail past the base of Washington Column. There is no sign that I can see of recent rockfalls there.

The most significant thing about this "cave" is that during the European takeover of Yosemite Valley by the Mariposa Battalion, an elderly Uzumati / Ahwaneechee woman hid at these caves hoping to avoid detection, since she did not want to be relocated to a Central Valley reservation at that late stage of her life. Unfortunately, it is said, her campfire smoke betrayed her presence there. For better or worse, that is apparently how this rockpile got its name.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 24, 2008 06:20PM
mrcondron wrote:

> I remember my father taking me to the Indian Cave back in about
> 1950 when I was a wisp of a lad. I also remember not being
> impressed as I was expecting a real cave with things hanging
> down and things pointing up with bats and all.

I remember the same thing. BFD, a pile of rocks!

Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 23, 2008 01:39PM
I found this while browsing the historic maps link in another thread. Lots of other interesting stuff there too.

Yosemite: the Park and its Resources (1987) by Linda W. Greene (edit: Chapt 2, pg 88)

(8) Anderson Trail

In 1882 George C. Anderson contracted with the Yosemite commissioners and began construction on a trail up the north bank of the Merced River from Happy Isles Bridge to Vernal Fall. He originally planned to build the trail all the way up the north side to the top of the falls near Snow’s hotel, but when costs began to run way over budget and the trail ran into a granite cliff through which it would be necessary to blast, the commission ordered the project stopped. In 1885 the commissioners had a connection built from a point on Anderson’s trail uphill to a new bridge below Vernal Fall, across which it joined the Snow Trail. Anderson’s abandoned trail left the present path about three hundred feet below the bridge at Vernal Fall and continued uphill—broad, substantial, and wide as a wagon road — until it ended abruptly in a grove of trees. The earlier south trail along the Merced ultimately fell into disuse. Anderson built a blacksmith shop along his trail that is mentioned in some of the old commissioners’ reports. Its remains were cleaned up by National Park Service crews in 1957.



Post Edited (06-23-08 13:52)
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 23, 2008 03:20PM
Strix wrote:

> I found this while browsing the historic maps link in another
> thread. Lots of other interesting stuff there too.
>
> Yosemite: the Park and its Resources (1987) by Linda W. Greene
> (edit: Chapt 2, pg 88)
>
> (8) Anderson Trail
>
> In 1882 George C. Anderson contracted with the Yosemite
> commissioners and began construction on a trail up the north
> bank of the Merced River from Happy Isles Bridge to Vernal
> Fall. He originally planned to build the trail all the way up
> the north side to the top of the falls near Snow’s hotel, but
> when costs began to run way over budget and the trail ran into
> a granite cliff through which it would be necessary to blast,
> the commission ordered the project stopped. In 1885 the
> commissioners had a connection built from a point on
> Anderson’s trail uphill to a new bridge below Vernal Fall,
> across which it joined the Snow Trail. Anderson’s abandoned
> trail left the present path about three hundred feet below the
> bridge at Vernal Fall and continued uphill—broad,
> substantial, and wide as a wagon road — until it ended
> abruptly in a grove of trees. The earlier south trail along the
> Merced ultimately fell into disuse. Anderson built a blacksmith
> shop along his trail that is mentioned in some of the old
> commissioners’ reports. Its remains were cleaned up by
> National Park Service crews in 1957.
>

>
> Post Edited (06-23-08 13:52)

That sounds like a match to me, although to call it "three hundred feet below" the Vernal Falls bridge is slightly misleading - the junction is actually at a higher elevation than the bridge. Thanks!





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
July 08, 2008 10:26AM
Strix,

Thank you for this information. I first saw that abandoned trail around 1957. I showed it to my Dad, who had been going up there for 40 years. He had never seen the trail before. I went up the trail until I grew afraid of encountering a rattlesnake, and went back. I kept seeing that old trail for another 40 years, but never went up it again.

Since then, I have wondered what that trail was. Thank you for clearing up the problem for me.





Doug Parr
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 23, 2008 04:54PM
>>He originally planned to build the trail all the way up the north side to the top of the falls near Snow’s hotel<<
Of course, this brings up the question: what was "Snow's Hotel"? Apparently there was a hotel/lodge variously
called Snow Hotel, La Casa Nevada, or Alpine House until about late 1890's between Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Interesting story and pictures in Yosemite Association publication from 2004:
http://yosemite.org/member/YAWinter04F.pdf

Frank
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 24, 2008 06:58AM
Frank Furter wrote:

> >>He originally planned to build the trail all the way up the
> north side to the top of the falls near Snow’s hotel<<
> Of course, this brings up the question: what was "Snow's
> Hotel"? Apparently there was a hotel/lodge variously
> called Snow Hotel, La Casa Nevada, or Alpine House until about
> late 1890's between Vernal and Nevada Falls.
>
> Interesting story and pictures in Yosemite Association
> publication from 2004:
> http://yosemite.org/member/YAWinter04F.pdf
>
> Frank

Thanks, Frank, a nice article. It is fairly obvious from the pictures that the Snow Hotel was located on the flat area about 3/8 mile downstream from Nevada Fall, near where Ansel Adams took his famous face-on photograph, and where thousands of letter-day would-bes (myself included) attempt to recreate the scene.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 06:20PM
Quote
Frank Furter
>>He originally planned to build the trail all the way up the north side to the top of the falls near Snow’s hotel<<
Of course, this brings up the question: what was "Snow's Hotel"? Apparently there was a hotel/lodge variously
called Snow Hotel, La Casa Nevada, or Alpine House until about late 1890's between Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Interesting story and pictures in Yosemite Association publication from 2004:
http://yosemite.org/member/YAWinter04F.pdf

Frank

That link no longer works (Page not found).

Here is a link that still does (and hopefully will continue to do so for the foreseeable future):

http://www.nps.gov/yose/historyculture/upload/LaCasaNevada.YA.Winter2004.PDF
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 07:23PM
Also some related info on La Casa Nevada at

http://www.nps.gov/yose/historyculture/snow.htm



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
June 24, 2008 05:02PM
In the summer of 1947, barely into my teens, I climbed the trail to Sierra Point. It began just where sierrafan's map says it was, not far from the bridge at Happy Isles. Steep, dusty, and at the end a perilous and magnificent view. Thanks for reminding me, Bruce.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
July 04, 2008 01:49PM
Bruce, thanks for the note on my ghost town photos in Panoramio. Took me a few seconds to put together the nickname you use here (I'm kidshare on Google Earth).

Next trips are Rawhide (near Fallon) and Wonder. And a little gold panning in Washington, CA.
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 08, 2011 05:30AM
Quote
bpnjensen
Anyone know what this was?

Did you get any pictures? My own "I-don't-think-we're-on-the-trail-anymore-Toto" moments are mostly involved with finding stretches of the old stage coach roads so I'm not familiar (except through old maps and readings) of the various Mist/JMT "off-shoots" but I'd love to see pictures as the investigation of "used-to-be" trails is on my list for once I move to California and can get to Yosemite more than once a year!

chick-on: I'm surprised you never commented on this one!

--David
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 08, 2011 05:32AM
I just noticed that this is a re-awakened 3-year-old thread. I'm quite interested in this trail...anybody know if it ever spun off in to any other threads in this forum (or elsewhere)?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 08, 2011 09:41AM
Quote
DavidK42
Quote
bpnjensen
Anyone know what this was?

chick-on: I'm surprised you never commented on this one!

--David

Chick-on is out of town but will be back tonight I think. I'm sure he will weigh in on this.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 07:34AM
David,
Look here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26728,26728#msg-26728

I personally had plans to explore it in March... but with 4 ft. of snow that hope was dashed.

If you haven't searched for wherever's posts w/r to trails, you should do that.

If I should happen to go on that spur trail I'll let you know.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 09:21AM
Played around on this trail this weekend. Very interesting. Especially where it ends.
When they say that they needed to blast... they weren't kidding. It ends abruptly,
not so much in a grove of trees as noted above, but staring smack dab into a
cliff that is easily 40 feet high.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 04:10PM
Quote
chick-on
Played around on this trail this weekend. Very interesting. Especially where it ends.
When they say that they needed to blast... they weren't kidding. It ends abruptly,
not so much in a grove of trees as noted above, but staring smack dab into a
cliff that is easily 40 feet high.

Any good views?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 04:25PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chick-on
Played around on this trail this weekend. Very interesting. Especially where it ends.
When they say that they needed to blast... they weren't kidding. It ends abruptly,
not so much in a grove of trees as noted above, but staring smack dab into a
cliff that is easily 40 feet high.

Any good views?


Chick-on can't rock climb?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 05:45PM
If you stay completely on the "trail" then the views are not super spectacular. *you cannot see Vernal or Nevada

The trails ends with this view, where the money ended and the dream died... I guess:


As for rock climbing that. I dunno. I was tired. And I didn't even attempt it. Maybe poke around more next time when I
don't have to hike all the way back to Wawona Tunnel.

If you drop down you can spy both Vernal and Nevada (you are nearly at the height of Vernal at this point).
When you head back stay next to the cliff and climb up a bit to get this nice view:


The middle section I really couldn't find any rock work. But there is rock wall at the very end so look for it.

I have many more photos if someone wants to see them all.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
February 25, 2014 06:55PM
Finally found this post... Was really happy to find the upper section of Anderson Trail...

(Mist trail visible below there)
Unfortunately... not a view of Vernal really ... at least where the trail ends and
you are .. well... I didn't go much further...

Here's map of top and bottom:




Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2014 06:56PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
February 25, 2014 08:47PM
Nice Job!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 08:06PM
Where did you find the start of the trail?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 09:50PM
Quote
qumqats
Where did you find the start of the trail?
As in the thread or the other thread about the trail... it's really simple to find...
and when you see it you are going to go "duh!":
I could actually see some of the trail from Panorama Pt. :

Just before it drops down to the Vernal Bridge. As you are walking up... going east... you walk by
a "white" boulder field... then a "grey" boulder field. It starts just at the west side of the "grey" field.
If you look west it will jump out at you.. if you continue towards the bridge... look up and you will
see rock walls.
Here's looking west at the trail:

The photo of the falls above was taken at the red dot in this photo:
(note this photo was taken Oct 8, 2005, all the others were taken Saturday, May 21, 2011)


Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 23, 2011 10:18PM
The last few times I've been up the trail I've looked for anything that might be a trail, but now I know why I didn't find anything.

I was looking the wrong direction! Pounding head on desk

I was looking frontwards and up hill, not behind me and downhill!
This might explain the rock work i think I saw one time.

Thanks for the photos, yet another thing/place/vista/trail/crazy place that no sane person goes to, to check out in the future! Feed ME!
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 09:20PM
Here is another question somewhat related to this thread...at least the Sierra Point portion of it. The question...are the rails at Sierra Point that exist now the at the same spot as Sierra Point has always been? Or has it been moved over time? The reason I ask...I was up there last week to see the place, having never been to it and been thinking about it for way too long...but also to shoot a picture that my grandfather had taken on May 29, 1919. Here are the old and new versions:

Note that the new version was taken probably a 100 feet vertical up towards Grizzly Peak from the railings...and I still don't think that I got up far enough to exactly replicate the old photo. Apparently either the old man was a real climber...or perhaps Sierra Point viewpoint in 1919 was higher than it is today today?

Any thoughts?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 09:21PM
Looks pretty close to me.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 09, 2011 10:00PM
I think the picture that Steve (Bearproof) took last week wasn't at the current railing for Sierra Point, but as he states about "a 100 feet vertical up towards Grizzly Peak from the railings".

Steve: Did you also take a photo at the actual current railing for Sierra Point? If you did, could you post that one also.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 10, 2011 08:28AM
Here is the picture from (I think) the railings (it may be from the flat rock just above the railings). It is not cropped (as the other new one was) to try to match the old picture but it matches pretty well nonetheless. Seems to me that you can't see as much of Nevada Falls from this spot.

Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 24, 2011 03:13PM
Quote
Bearproof
Here is the picture from (I think) the railings (it may be from the flat rock just above the railings). It is not cropped (as the other new one was) to try to match the old picture but it matches pretty well nonetheless. Seems to me that you can't see as much of Nevada Falls from this spot.

Seems pretty close to me



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/24/2011 03:16PM by hotrod4x5.
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
September 22, 2011 08:54AM
The threes are also about 100 years older, and also 100 years worth of growth higher. It could be that it's the same angle, but that more of Nevada Falls is blocked by them.
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 10, 2011 11:08AM
Thanks for the photo. Maybe the current railing isn't the actual end of the old Sierra Point Trail, but that the trail continued further up the mountain side. Maybe the railing at the actual end of the historic trail has been either removed or had broke off over the years.

On your visit to Sierra Point, did you look to see if the trail might have continued past the current railing upward to where you think your grandfather might have taken his photo?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 10, 2011 12:40PM
Quote

On your visit to Sierra Point, did you look to see if the trail might have continued past the current railing upward?

Oh yeah, we went up to pretty close to where I think the old picture was taken, and it was a trail-less class 3 scramble to get there with some pretty good exposure...and my guess is that's what the old man did back in the day. I have looked at some historic USGS topo maps from the 1911-1929 range and while they show the Vernal Falls trail they do not show the trail to Sierra Point; perhaps it was more of a scramble at that time. I am in the process of reviewing chick-on's excellent collection of maps for any additional information.

Here is a look down from the spot that I think is closest to where the old pic was taken. Sierra Point is the distant upward projecting rock to the right of my son. If you zoom in you might be able to see the railing on top of it.

Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 10, 2011 01:05PM
This may be a stupid question: but may the reason be you can't see as much of the Waterfall is because the trees have grown taller?
avatar Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 10, 2011 06:25PM
Quote
chicagocwright
This may be a stupid question: but may the reason be you can't see as much of the Waterfall is because the trees have grown taller?

That's a fair question..one that I have thought about myself, and I don't think so. For example, the wall to the right of Nevada Falls is much more visible in the old photo than the new one from the Sierra Point and I don't think that tree growth would explain that...and there are several more details that I have spent way too much time looking at in trying to replicate my old photo exactly. This little project of mine is a small attempt to replicate, with a family photo, what was done in the book "Yosemite in Time" which sought to re-shoot iconic Yosemite photos (Adams, Watkins, Muybridge). A pretty cool book if you get a chance to see it.
Re: Found abandoned trail - what is it?
May 17, 2011 09:57AM
Wow, I'm loving this forum. Glad I found this post, I'm definitely going to check some of these trails out when I get there later this year!
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