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Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR

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avatar Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 09:31AM
Whoa! I finally get to post something of my own again, although much of it will look very familiar just because a number of you have done this hike and written reports.
At any rate………

Thanks mostly to this forum; my list of destinations in Yosemite continues to grow. Somehow it’s been over a year since my wife and I were in Yosemite and I was dying to get back up there for a hike. As I mentioned, a number of people have posted about their trips to Mt. Watkins and despite the lack of fish (as far as I know!) I figured that would be a good destination for the day.

We drove into the park and began our hike just before 10:00am, with me attempting to recall from memory the information from wherever’s post:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,57351

A nice new sign pointed the way to the valley, making me wish we were backpacking instead of just doing a day hike.



Very shortly we had a nice view of Mt. Hoffman to the North.



We followed the trail and then noticed a different trail heading off to the left, and correctly assumed it was the off trail portion of the hike. As others have said, it really is a well-worn trail at this point, although unofficial, except during winter.

My wife heading down to the saddle.



Soon enough we were walking along the shoulder of Watkins, keeping an eye on Half Dome as it came into view more and more. I’m not sure what I was expecting, since it is August, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it felt really hot walking along in the sun.



There were some great views, but I was definitely wishing we had some clouds or we were doing this hike in Spring or Fall.



Inexplicably, it didn’t occur to me to go to the actual summit of Mt. Watkins……. as Half Dome came into view we just headed towards it, walking along the shoulder and heading for the point in the distance. Some of the photos from one of my cameras came out a bit dark, this being one of them. Not sure why.



We explored a bit and I saw this cool looking erratic that reminded me of a heart.



Only a few of my iPhone panoramas came close to showing what it felt like out there, this being one of them.



Of course, I kept my eye out for what I now think of as “The Tree” that been made famous on this forum. Another dark photo unfortunately.



I saw evidence of someone having recently bedded down on their pad next to the tree. I’m sure it’s a wonderful place to spend the night……. maybe next time.



Another panorama, further out along the ridge.



We took tons of photographs, including tons of the big dome.



And of course, I had to get a zoomer of the people going up the cables.



Mirror “Lake” isn’t really much of a lake right now.



It’s not exactly Arches National Park, but it’ll have to do.



Here’s a boring photo of me responding to my niece (with a selfie) to rub it in the fact that I was out hiking… “Hey where are you?”



This reminds me of my front sidewalk. The power of the root system I suppose.



This angry face kept a watch on us as we hiked back out.



Me checking out the view of Hoffman while using my hat to keep the sun off my neck.



One of the fires we saw on our drive out. The smoke was giving the light a very eerie glow.



And lastly, just in case anyone else could use the information in the future:








We had a wonderful time and I’m looking forward to going back again, hopefully to spend the night next time.
avatar Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 01:59PM
Nice photos. Did you get that zoom in of the cables on your phone camera?

Yosemite can be tough to get proper exposure in pics, the contrasts sometimes are too much for many cameras. You can try to play around with the contrast and brightness settings in any desktop photo editor (make a copy of the photos and edit the copies so you still have the originals as back-up).
avatar Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 02:02PM
Welcome back to Yosemite Jason. I was up there last summer but didn't go all the way out, because of a fast approaching thunder storm. Definitely saw a few clouds though.
Here is what it looked like last summer with some clouds.

Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 03:19PM
Pretty much the route I've taken, map lines of least effort. Your images are dark because pointing at Half Dome at that time of late morning thru midday is semi back lit and all the ambient light off the bright granite bedrock and sand at midday tricks your camera sensor. Thus bump up your camera's exposure compensation in that circumstance and then check what it looks like. But never so much that the highlights start washing out that is worse than being dark.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/18/2014 03:20PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 06:42PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
Nice photos. Did you get that zoom in of the cables on your phone camera?

I was actually using my Panasonic DMC-FZ18 that has an 18x zoom. I'm certainly no photographer (as you can see) I rely on luck and beautiful locations. But this is the camera that was taking the dark shots. Between my sunglasses, looking at the LCD and not paying attention contrast I get what I get. Maybe I’ll try to edit a bit and see what I can do.



yosemitejim;
cool video, thanks for adding that. The clouds definitely add something to the scene.




Quote
DavidSenesac
Pretty much the route I've taken, map lines of least effort. Your images are dark because pointing at Half Dome at that time of late morning thru midday is semi back lit and all the ambient light off the bright granite bedrock and sand at midday tricks your camera sensor. Thus bump up your camera's exposure compensation in that circumstance and then check what it looks like. But never so much that the highlights start washing out that is worse than being dark.
David,
Thanks for the tips…….I need to be more deliberate when I’m taking photos so I’ll be happier with the outcome.
Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 08:45PM
So glad to hear you came back to enjoy again! Glad you got sunny weather this time, I guess, though a bit cooler probably would have been welcome, eh? smiling smiley I hope you found Watkins in good condition... lately been worried about some of the off-trail areas.. seeing more illegal fire rings, more useless rock piles, and basically too much evidence of harsh (possibly ignorant, though I believe willfully negligent) use. Will you be able to make this an annual event? Hope so!

Were you there this weekend? It looks like it. If so, you weren't far from us, and depending on your day and timing, we may have driven right by you! We almost chose that as my "recovering from a cold" trip! We'll post about this weekend when we can.. but the weather sure was lovely this weekend! Too bad about the smoke. We were happy that our desired spot stayed just out of the way of the smoke, though just west and to the north of us, wow. It's possible it was only a band of smoke that clogged our view of Northern Yosemite, but boy, it brought back the "smoke memories" from last year... Yick.

BTW, LOVE the grumpy face! Stands out like a sore thumb with the shadows the way you caught them, don't think I've ever noticed it!! I enjoyed your photos and your story, and I'm impressed with the hiking and texting! Hope you can get back out there soon! Lots of good hiking weather left, hopefully, this year! smiling smiley
Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 18, 2014 10:03PM
Great photos! Thanks. Love the face. I've been there many times, and never seen the shadows fill it out like that.

Be sure to hit the east summit next time you are there. It has a much sharper edge, and the view over to Pyweack Cascade is fantastic.
avatar Re: Mt. Watkins Day Hike - TR
August 20, 2014 08:36AM
JKW,

While we certainly didn't walk around everywhere, I didn't see any trash, firerings, cairns, etc. The off trail path is certain well worn, suggesting lots of people go there, but we only saw two other people the whole day. I would love to go back, maybe in the Fall and spend the night, the views are so amazing that I can't get enough just hanging out there for a couple of hours.

Yes, we were there this past Saturday....... from about 10:00am to 3:00pm I think. Curious to see where you were when you guys post a report. I've been loving the JMT stuff.

wherever,

Thanks for the kind words, and I appreciate your original post that got me to put this hike on my list. I will definitely hit the east summit next time, now thinking that I should consider Spring so I could see Pywiack Cascade when it's really roaring.
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