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Re: Echoes of Spring

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Echoes of Spring
March 30, 2015 08:31PM
Bad news: the "rainy day" chore/to-do list isn't getting any shorter. Good news: lots of time in the Sierra!

Status update: the Half Dome cables were still down for the season. I suspect this will change any day now... While we were heading in the direction of Half Dome, our destination was opposite the cables.

The Merced was higher than the past few weekends, and the Mist Trail was even misty.

On the other hand, while JKW and I did find the third person for our hiking party, it was hard to find water in Lost Lake. Fortunately we had loaded up at the Merced--knowing that we'd be lucky to find anything past the river.

The well-marked route to the Diving Board area was mostly easy to follow, with a few places that required searching for a non-vertical route.

The route had a respectable amount of slippery sand and brush, but we slowly made progress to the top.

We eventually reached a broad, open, pock-marked granite dome, which we briefly checked out for possible campsites.

From there we climbed up a steep, sandy slope to the Board itself--a slab of granite with a knife edge overhanging the valley below.

Once on top we rested and took pictures as we waited for the sun to illuminate the face of Half Dome.

A few brave souls peered over the brink of the board.

One intrepid hiker practiced his crack-cranking layback style.

Unfortunately the moon was not in the correct place to recreate that famous photo from the board...

...but the result was impressive nonetheless.

Unfortunately the Board area was a bit cramped for three, so we headed down to camp on a much nicer granite bench.

From our perch, we had views of Nevada Fall and, of course, Half Dome.

The next day our companion headed down early to go help another group ascend the still-down cables; after a relaxing breakfast we scrambled back down the route to Little Yosemite Valley.

From there, we revisited the burnt-out area we had passed through just a few weeks earlier.

The weather was definitely warmer, and there were many more day-hikers and backpackers on the trail along the Merced River. If not for the calendar claiming otherwise, it very well could have been late May or June.

We eventually left the burnt-out area above Bunnell Cascade, and after crossing the twin bridges, we stopped for a bit of foot-soaking and resting along the river.

After that, we continued up canyon past cascades and pools, wandering around the dome on which we'd eventually rest for the night.

The trail crossed wonderful open granite as it traversed high above the river.

After filling up a bit of water at Echo Creek, we continued up to the High Trail junction, then headed west back towards "Echo Dome". Once on top, we met up with our hiking companion and started the arduous task of locating a suitable campsite among a sea of flat, polished granite.

We eventually located a flat spot that was mostly sheltered from the wind and settled in for the evening.

A few wispy clouds--and some more threatening cumulus clouds--had gathered during the afternoon and evening.

The night had been mild, and there were only a few clouds the next morning--the forecast for possible showers had fortunately proven to be optimistic.

After breakfast and packing, we explored the dome a bit more.

After checking out various viewpoints and trees, we met up with the trail.

Shortly thereafter, we re-entered the burnt-out area.

We had hiked most of this stretch of the High Trail before, and we didn't encounter anyone until we merged into the Half Dome traffic.

As with the previous trip, we checked out some abandoned trail goodness and found a few more segments of an old route, presumably to Half Dome.

Clouds were building over the high peaks as we descended to Happy Isles.

Based on the number of hikers, the warmth, and the traffic jam getting out of the valley, it could very well have been summer.

One consolation: frozen juice bars at the trailhead.

This will probably conclude this group's trips from the valley for quite awhile--the high country will be open soon, and it seems there may yet still be some snow up there.

More Pictures

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 08:33PM by basilbop.
Re: Echoes of Spring
March 30, 2015 08:59PM
Great TR guys and awesome pics. Thanks for sharing. Looks like the crowds are building up :-|
avatar Re: Echoes of Spring
March 30, 2015 09:41PM
Tanks for Sharon

Two from the bonus day you missed tongue sticking out smiley

Moraine Dome view ... of who's moraine you walked on a couple of weekends ago:

Obligatory Chick-on faux toe bomb:

Nuttin finer den sum cool Latent Heat Holdin Gran-ite:

Isn't it time to get out Yea Old Trail Boat?

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Echoes of Spring
March 31, 2015 03:30PM
Yet again, too busy to really do justice to yet another fabulous trip!

  • Done with dark pants - My "shoulder season" kit is too hot. The dark pants have to go. It was HOT this weekend. Sure, temps might go back to normal, but now that it's spring, my summer-colors will be fine.
  • One step up, half step down - In pic 9, the steep dirt: one step up, and slide back half a step. So fun... going down!
  • Chick-on went flying - we almost lost the pink bird on the Diving Board! The wind kicked up and caught his protective bag... and I screamed "Chick-on!" (as if it were a living creature) and jumped after it and grabbed it before it went over the edge... I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have thrown myself too far, but the guys were a bit concerned.
  • Merced River Canyon - It's actually been longer than I'd thought since I've done the entire trek to Echo Valley from the Valley... I've always said I think it's lovely, and well.. it is! I was quite nostalgic thinking about past trips. It was still lovely and more pleasant than I'd remembered! Even with the fire damage. We were lucky enough to see Lost Valley before the previous fire. When we first saw it, it was so dark, so thick. But now, we can see the gorgeous canyon walls. It's definitely different. Not necessarily worse...but still a pang thinking about those huge sugar pines.
  • Love the polished granite - when we settled on a site night two... I couldn't keep my hands off the granite for a while. So smooth, so clean, so warm... yummy. Some people don't get it. I *think* the others got it... but... yah, I think they thought I went nuts.
  • Too busy - sorry, there are a number of little stories through the three days... but not enough time right now. Suffice to say every day was filled with good hiking, and a lot of laughter. Can't ask for better.
  • Too fun - there was *one* particular incident that was particularly funny, but incriminates one of the members of the party. I wish I could tell you... but... I really shouldn't... but you know how actors can bring a memory back so they can instantly cry believably? Well, I can pull this particular incident up in my mind and cry from laughter... It. Was. Awesome.
  • It's summer - The Mist Trail traffic was like summer. The traffic was like summer. The heat was like summer. The water levels were like summer. The ground was dry like summer. Pretty much by any metric... It's summer. Maybe it'll go back to more seasonal... but...
avatar Re: Echoes of Spring
March 31, 2015 03:58PM
Even the Lizards thought it was hot. I think maybe I forgot to tell you that too. ???

How about one of Z Perret Master:

And one of Bearpoof n his buddies up atop Z Big Ol' Rock:

Good times

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Echoes of Spring
March 31, 2015 04:58PM
I love the lizard pic! I don't think I've ever seen a lizard flop like that! One of my parrots used to go to sleep on me and flop completely, but a lizard? It must've seen Chick-on! How nonchalant! Too cute!

And yes, kudos to Bearproof and his friends (wasn't sure if a separate post would be forthcoming)! And to tout how nice Chick-on is, he gave his harness up to an Aussie visitor Bearproof's gang adopted in LYV. Chick-on just made himself a harness with his spare rope. Not bad for a bird-brain, eh?
Re: Echoes of Spring
April 01, 2015 09:23AM
Even before this incident report when I saw the picture of the few brave souls peering over the diving board...I thought.."I wonder if they could recover those guys if wind blew them over?"

I am putting my money on "Yes".

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2015 09:24AM by chicagocwright.
Re: Echoes of Spring
April 07, 2015 09:19PM
Thanks for the report, basilbop. Looks like I will be following in your footsteps once again (as with the Kalalau Trail and then the Big Island).
Re: Echoes of Spring
April 07, 2015 09:41PM
Since I can't hike far anymore, I live vicariously through your trip reports. Thank you again for another great one. Please keep them coming.
Re: Echoes of Spring
April 10, 2015 10:53AM
Really glad to hear you enjoy them! We are trying to get next one out. Turns out my count on last trip pics (5 days worth) was wrong, the two bird brains with opposable thumbs managed to take 2000+ pics (which I love immersing myself in)... Anyway, Basilbop's next trip report is almost done... Hopefully tonight. Likely this weekend... A rare weekend at home... Gotta do stuff here, but want to be there...
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