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Glacier Point - Panorama Trail

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Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 05, 2015 08:23PM
Another weekend, another chance for a nice mid-winter spring backpacking trip. The destination: Glacier Point.

After meeting up at the Four Mile Trail trailhead and shuttling cars for the return trip, we were on our way up to Glacier Point. JKW had already started and was about 17 minutes ahead of us. The pink chicken went off and checked out some "shortcuts" along the trail. So for most of the 3200' climb it was just me, my pack, random radio chatter, and the occasional view.

Yosemite Falls at least had some water, an improvement over Thanksgiving.

Even the north-facing aspects of the valley were almost clear of snow--there have been Memorial Day weekends with more snow.

Near the top where the trail traverses around to Glacier Point there was a bit of snow on the trail--never enough to require showshoes or even micro spikes.

Even the high country showed only a hint of snow.

I finally caught up with the other two near the snack stand/hut and soon thereafter realized why no one had responded to any of my recent comments on the radio--my radio had somehow gotten turned off at Union Point. There were a few dayhikers at the top. There was a bit of a stiff breeze, but it wasn't cold, and we enjoyed lunch near the overlook.

The Glacier Point hut was locked, and a sign was posted indicating that no water was available to day hikers. It didn't seem like any of the guests who could not ski to the hut along the road had opted for the "hike up the Four Mile Trail" alternative. Fortunately, we had hauled up some extra water, and there seemed to be enough snow to melt.

The parking lot and lowest parts of the GP road were covered with a few inches of snow and ice.

Not far beyond the parking lot, the road was bare except for a few short stretches.

The wind was strong at times until near sunset, but it was never too cold. We managed to find a campsite where there was just enough snow nearby to melt for cooking and drinking water.

The views from our campsite at sunset were spectacular.

Despite 3400' of vertical gain, it had been an easy-ish hike so we enjoyed just hanging out as the sun set and the moon rose.

Sunrise was about an hour earlier than it had been just a month or so ago, and after breakfast and packing, we were soon on our way down the Panorama Trail.

Of course no trip would be complete without daleing around on an abandoned segment of the Glacier Point Road.

We had planned on refilling at Illilouette Creek, which fortunately seemed to have a bit of water flowing in it.

On the other side of the creek, we stopped at Panorama Point.

Some telephoto action confirmed Washburn Point was quite visible from Panorama Point.

The trail across the top of Panorama Cliff and down to the John Muir Trail was dry and uneventful. The upper gate at Ice Cut was open, so we headed across it--there was a bit of ice, but we didn't need our spikes.

We stopped for lunch near Clark Point, then headed down to the overlook above Vernal Fall that isn't Clark Point.

There were several day-hikers on the Mist Trail, which wasn't at all misty--or icy.

We were back at our cars well before kickoff and home in time to find out that not all birds had had a perfect Sunday.

More Pictures
avatar Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 05, 2015 08:55PM
Love it!

Thanks so much

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 05, 2015 09:22PM
Random comments:
  • 40-minute head start my a** - I had been preparing at the trailhead as if I were going to help stage cars. Then the guys brilliantly offered to let me have a head start. I had been worried about carrying my full pack up to Glacier Point with those two. I'm definitely the slowest one, and I didn't want to hold us back. Basilbop said he figured I'd have a 40 minute head start. Right. After finishing a bit of pre-hike food, and finding a secluded spot for a bio-break, I passed the trail sign at 10:00am on the nose. 17 minutes later, the nut jobs are hot on my trail. Whatever. I just kept puttering. On one hand, I really enjoyed the few minutes of peace and quiet hiking alone. On the other hand I wanted to strangle the pink chicken when he said he was at Union Point and I hadn't seen one single downy puff float by. Turns out he was trying to get radio response. When he tried the tactic again and followed it up with a query as to why no one was responding, I *politely* told him that the FCC did not allow that kind of language over the air.
  • Hiking "together" - So.... three people hiking the same 4.7 mile trail. I think I hiked with one of the guys at any one point to GP for a total of maybe a mile? Maybe bit more? A short bit before Union, then the last bit sometime after Union to GP itself with the Pink One. BUT, we were having fun, thanks to the radios.... except when Chick-On and I realized Basilbop had been awfully quiet. I actually started to worry since he wasn't responding. And after we'd gone over the very easy icy bit, I figured he *could've* had an accident... so I clearly said no more joking, just respond. Now. And no response. But then Chick-on saw him through the trees, so I thought Basilbop was being a poo, so I continued on to the top so I could eat. (Not that I hadn't been eating all the way up, but I wanted protein and salty food).
  • Go figure ... radio OFF - So, of all of us, Basilbop is most skilled with the radios. Chick-on and I had tested communications between our radios just to make sure we were transmitting properly, thinking we were the problem. Never occurred to us that the Bop would have *accidentally* turned off his radio at Union Point! *That* was funny!
  • You never know who you'll meet on the trail - Before Union Point, I started chatting with a lady who was day hiking. She collects air quality data for the park. She was really nice, had a nice chat with her for a bit. Which is when Chick-on blew past me and Basilbop caught up.
  • Lotsa laughs the entire trip. Too fun. - Dunno how to convey it, but it was a really fun trip. We laughed a lot and had a blast. This is an area we know really well, and Basilbop and I do the trail itself multiple times in any given year. But to camp in the area, to really soak in the views for hours on end. That was a treat, we've only done in winter - and it just didn't feel like winter, so it was novel. But doesn't matter. I can't get enough of the views along that route. Doesn't matter the season or conditions. Absolutely stunning. Every. Single. Time.
  • The Steps - Egads. The Mist Trail steps down alongside Vernal Fall. Over the decades those steps have been mightily improved. But they are still pretty darned big steps, especially for those of us with shorter legs. Almost all of our other friends refuse to go DOWN the steps, even on a day hike and almost invariably won't with full packs. We haven't gone down with full packs in ages. But the Pink One likes it, so we did it. Suffice to say, we did fine, but around Wednesday, after I finished another 10 miles locally with some really steep downhills, i realized my knees *are* tired. Not a great idea if wet and slippery and/or crowded, and not a great idea if you don't go downhill with a pack often. That said, even though the trail mileage indicates it's only 0.8 miles longer via the JMT... we just don't buy it. It just feel SO MUCH LONGER on the JMT switchbacks. (Of course, the difference starts once you start dropping from Clark Point. It's just steeper going down to the top of Vernal and then down the side of Vernal.
  • And we really need snow! (edit) Did I mention the LOW was 32 degrees according to my cheapie thermometer? Jeez...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/05/2015 09:41PM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 06, 2015 04:56AM
.....jealous beyond words....
avatar Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 06, 2015 01:03PM
Random comments:
  • 40-minute head start my a**
Head roll

[Vernal Fall. b]The Steps[/b] - Egads. The Mist Trail steps down ...

I agree completely with your comments re the steps. Just went down them a few weeks ago, and was surprised at how well built they were and how steep and long each step was coming out of the alcove.

Sounds like a great time, glad you all had a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery!
avatar Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 06, 2015 08:52AM
Another fine report! It's pretty awesome the adventures you guys have just by committing to doing it.
Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 11, 2015 11:02AM
Yah, I think I've said this before, but we have indulged in a number of activities in the past, but we always came back to this... And well... we don't do a lot of other things so we can do this, and that is just fine with us. And committing to doing it makes all the difference. Sure, waking up at 4 or 4:30 in the morning isn't always fun, but within minutes we start having fun as the road trip begins and we look forward to our time in the mountains. Even for those who don't like to plan.. You gotta at least plan to leave with your gear, right? After that, you have a lot of options...How the Chick-on travels
Re: Glacier Point - Panorama Trail
February 06, 2015 12:23PM
Looks and sounds like a great trip, thanks for sharing!
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