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Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?

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Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 08, 2014 12:01PM
Hi all

I'll be visiting Yosemite again at the beginning of November. I've hiked/ran Half Dome a few times but looking to explore another section of the park this time as the cables will be down.

I've been thinking about running a loop from the valley...Starting at Curry Village, running along the valley floor to inspiration point, up the Pohono Trail, join the Panorama Trail and picking up the John Muir trail back to Curry.

Firstly, I can't find any accurate distances for the whole loop, can anyone give me a ballpark?

Secondly, given that I'll be there in the first week in November, is this completely crazy? I'm prepared to run in cold/icy/snowy conditions but given the temperatures/distances/elevations, am I too ambitious? Under normal conditions I'm comfortable with elevation/distances etc (have done R2R2R of Grand Canyon etc). It's more the likely conditions that I could do with some insight on.

Any advice would be appreciated.

avatar Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 08, 2014 03:11PM
Well, it's too ambitious for me, that's for sure.
I figure its about a marathon...a flat 4 mile warm up on the Valley floor, about 13 miles on Pohono (first 5 of which gain about 3000 feet), 5 on Panorama, and 4 back down to Curry.
Conditions...to hard to tell until just before you go. Could be a piece of cake...and it could be 3 feet of powder up on top. Nothing against you, but we are all hoping for the latter as we need the snow and water. Just depends on when, and if, the storms come in.
Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 08, 2014 03:43PM
Just for the heck of it, I threw this route into my mapping software. You've got a couple of places where you could maybe shave a small amount of distance by taking some alternate connecting trails (especially around Sentinel Dome and again connecting from Panorama to JMT) but, taking your route fairly literally, I come up with a slightly longer distance of 28.0 miles with, as Bearproof says, quite a significant uphill at the beginning of the Pohono (not to mention that the stretch from Tunnel View up to IP is not exactly what I'd think of as "runnable" but sounds like you're in much better shape than I am!). Also be aware that from BVF to Tunnel View, you'll either be on the current Wawona Road (and, thus, dodging cars...they'll be fewer in November but, in a way that's worse because everyone will expect NOT to see anybody on the road) or you'll be on the Old Wawona Road (a VERY pretty stretch but one that involves at least some dodging of downed trees and small rockfalls).

FWIW, I'm more the type that wants to take a couple of days for the Pohono alone...WAY too many beautiful spots to hang. But for a runner, I can see where this would be quite a feather in your cap. Let us know if you decide to take it on.
Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 08, 2014 09:10PM
The mileage and elevation gain is certainly do-able, at least for some... The two things that I'd be concerned about are 1) potential snow and 2) the short amount of daylight in November. JKW and I have done the "North Rim Traverse" (up Snow Creek, across to Yosemite Point, then down Yosemite Falls) in early spring--that's only 18 miles or so, comparable gain, and we needed all the sunlight we had, which was more than you'll have in early November. Don't underestimate how much even a bit of snow will slow you down from a normal hiking pace--especially if you don't know the trail well. Yosemite trails are not generally well-marked or blazed for winter travel, so they can be easy to lose with a little snow. (Worse, you'll see yellow signs for the ski trails, which don't always follow the hiking trails, especially in the Glacier Point/Badger Pass area...)

That said, I'd set up a reasonable turn-around time and go for it. If there is snow, it will be faster to backtrack since you can follow your footsteps back. You could also bail down the Four Mile Trail, although it could be closed, and you wouldn't want to get stuck on the wrong side of the closure gate.
Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 09, 2014 03:48AM
Thanks all

Lots of useful tips here. I know I'll be at the mercy of the weather on the day so can plan a low level route in the valley if it is really bad. The north rim traverse sounds intersting too so will look into that.

One other question if you don't mind. How safe do you guys feel hiking alone with bears/mountain lions around? Obviously here in the UK it's not something I've ever had to worry about! I've hiked/ran Half dome on my own before but in the summer and the trail was crowded so I was never truly 'alone'. In previous US trips I have wimped out of a few solo runs due to worrying about this. Am I being too cautious? Would you recommend me buying some kind of spray protection or anything like that?

avatar Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 09, 2014 06:47AM
Don't worry about Bears or Mountain Lions. And any type of spray is illegal in Yosemite.
It's just not needed. The chance of you running into or meeting a Lion is miniscule.
Just remove it from your mind. Bears in Yosemite pose almost zero threat.
Go and have fun.
It just gets dark ridiculously early then... what? 5pm?
Ya. 6:30am to 5pm.

Been on Pohono and all that area a number of times in November. Typically it is what
others have said... there can be a bit of snow ... but typically not too much... but it
can and will slow you down... and the trail def. in the low spots may be a big issue
to find.
I would consider changing and going up 4 Mile... and come down Pohono...
(not that it is all down once you hit Sentinel Dome area)...
Or go up JMT to GP and decide then what to do...
ORRRRR just go up The Merced up to Merced Lake... or if you want 30 miles ...
then continue to Washburn..
You won't be disappointed.

Have fun and be safe (n don't worry about the wildlife)

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Running/hiking loop...too ambitious?
September 09, 2014 08:05AM
Thanks chick-on, will get my thinking cap on for alternative routes just in case.

I hope to have a gps of the route (with map backup) so hopefully route finding won't be to much of an issue.
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