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Fern on the Four Mile Trail, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Gibbous (77% of Full)


Re: Buena Baldy Booping

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Buena Baldy Booping
April 25, 2017 08:17PM
For Easter weekend, due to JKW's recent foot injury, we opted for car camping and day hikes instead of a backpacking trip. This would reduce the amount of gear she would have to carry on any hike she might do--and, we could ask her to help us with a few shuttle trips.

When we arrived at the campground, most of the sites had already been claimed. We were fortunate to locate a decent site and immediately claimed and paid for it.

After setting up camp, JKW drove the Great Pink One and me to the nearby trailhead for Buena Vista Peak. Although the trailhead sign itself was visible and some tracks wandered off in about the correct direction, we were on snow the entire way to the top. The snow was firm enough that snowshoes were probably not needed, but just below the top, it was decided that we would head straight up instead of looping around like the trail did, so the snowshoes went on for additional traction.

The summit lived up to its name and offered great views all around. There were also many snow-free patches on top and to the south. Spring was making slow progress.

We would be able to claim TrailQuest credit for this only under OD's winter rules: the trail was impossible to follow faithfully in all places. So, we poked around some interesting rocks on the way down.

After a short drive, JKW dropped us off at our next trailhead: Lost Grove. It's not entirely clear how a sequoia grove with a road through it could have ever been lost, but it's still a nice grove--easily the rival of Yosemite's two smaller groves.

We requested pickup at the Dorst Campground in about two hours and started our hike. We had decided to leave our snowshoes behind, and while the trail was initially clear, we were soon in almost 100% snow coverage. Fortunately, the snow was not so deep that we could not make out the track, and it was firm enough that we rarely sunk in more than a few inches. Despite a lot of deadfall and a fairly thick layer of recently-fallen needles and branches, we had to look around and retrace our steps only a few times.

In previous years Dorst Campground has had to close early due to lack of water, but this year, Dorst Creek was a significant crossing. We instead crossed a few tributaries separately, and located a log that provided passage over the main creek.

After the crossing, we climbed towards the campground, then circled it on a "bypass" trail, heading towards Muir Grove. We were hiking mostly in heavy fog, which enhanced the forest we were walking through. We were on snow almost the entire way, but it was almost always obvious where the trail was.

Roughly three hours into our two hour hike, we were suddenly in the Muir Grove and a large cluster of trees reminiscent of the House, Senate, or Sugarbowl groups.

We spent a fair bit of time taking pictures in this circle of trees before heading off to explore other parts of the grove.

Although Muir Grove has no giants like the Grant, Garfield, or Giant Forest groves, it had a number of large, impressive, mature sequoias.

We didn't have time to "boop" all the trees, so we had to be somewhat selective.

There were several old, dead sequoia logs and stumps, and many fire-scarred but still very much alive trees.

The sun broke through the fog as we headed to check out a group of distant sequoias. Although we had near-perfect light and many more trees to explore, we also knew we were running out of time.

We reluctantly turned back and "booped" a few trees we had missed on the way out.

We had passed a viewless dome on the way to the grove; on the way out, we could look back at the tops of the big trees, which were being consumed by the fog again.

It came and went a few times as we took pictures of it flowing over the treetops.

We were once more reluctant to leave, but we still had a few miles to hike back to our pickup spot and then had to drive back to the campsite.

Once we were at Dorst Campground, the snow conditions became a bit worse, perhaps due to the sun exposure the campground's roads received.

Snowshoes would have been nice along this segment, but we slogged along the road back to the car. At least the sun was out for most of this walk, but my feet were tired by the time we hit the car.

On the way back we stopped at Redwood Overlook to watch the fog flow over its sequoias.

After breakfast, JKW drove us to our next trailhead: Little Baldy. The trailhead map and sign was the only indication of the trail we could see. We headed in what we thought was the correct general location, but soon knew we were off the trail. After some re-orienting we found the trail, but it was impossible to follow due to being a traverse along a steep hillside under deep, angled snow that couldn't be traversed with snowshoes. We could at least climb straight up this steep slope.

Eventually the gradient eased, and then after a short level section, we had the final, moderate climb to the summit.

The views all around were spectacular.

Rather then try to go down the steep slope we had climbed, we instead headed due south from the summit, after radioing JKW and making sure we could get picked up at an alternate location. There was one tricky bit just off the summit, but past this the downclimb was a typical Sierra mid-elevation scramble among granite blocks and shrubbery.

We hit the road just a few hundred feet from where JKW had found a turnout.

For our final hike, JKW dropped us off at the now-open Sherman Tree parking lot. Perhaps because it was Easter weekend, the parking lot was packed with summer-like crowds. Most of these visitors were content to see the Sherman Tree itself, and most of those who ventured farther were content with the Congress Grove; we saw few people until we got to Crescent Meadow.

We heard on the radio that JKW had walked the closed Crescent Meadow road to Moro Rock (found it!) and was now on top of this popular summit. We quickly hiked the Bobcat Point/Sugar Pine trail and were soon on top with her. The views from the top were near perfect and the temperature was about right.

After spending a good bit of time on the summit, we headed down. JKW decided to hike the road back while we took the trail--after a quick TQ spur to Hanging Rock.

We reached the car at the museum at about the same time and headed back to our campsite.

After a relaxing night's sleep and a good breakfast, we packed away our camping gear, and JKW drove us to our final trailhead: Big Baldy. Unlike Little Baldy, there were obvious footprints heading to this summit. The distance was longer, but the route was generally much safer.

The marked-for-winter-travel route mostly followed the ridge, providing views of both our surroundings and of our final destination.

Although technically the winter route stopped just short of the summit, getting to the top was perfectly safe with snowshoes.

The top had the same alpine look as Little Baldy had had. There was still a lot of snow at the modest elevation of these domes.

In the distance, the high peaks of the Great Western Divide, the Kaweahs, and the Sierra crest also exhibited significant snow cover.

Winter may be winding down, but the effects of this winter will linger far into the year.

It was too bad that JKW could join us only for a little bit--we missed her and know that she would have enjoyed all these great little hikes. Of course, now we'll have to re-do them!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2017 08:49PM by basilbop.
Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 25, 2017 08:34PM
How I wish I could have gone with uou guys, but I was super happy I could help you with the shuttles to enable some fun trips with limited time.

Absolutely love the trees and the pics of "booping".. very gentle taps.. saying hi! Was with u guys in spirit!

And was fun to be on the radio with you while waiting for you on Moro rock! What a perfect time to be there!

Reminds me I forgot to send info to the folks I chatted with up there! So much going on... really nice peeps...

And you two made what could have been a very dreary weekend for me wonderfully enjoyable!

Thank you!!
avatar Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 25, 2017 09:30PM
As always... Tanks.

Good fun as purr use ewe awl!

A few of mine for your enjoyments...

The trick was getting on the log:

Bop boop?

The Muir Grove was magical. We could have easily spent a few hours wandering the grove.

Little Ballsy... it's all about pur spective...

Telescope ... needed to find it...


Found them!

Big Ballsy

Looking forward to redoing... all were spectacular!

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 25, 2017 09:42PM
Thank you for these pics!!!

So glad u each get shots of the other during the day! Helps with pur spective!
avatar Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 26, 2017 06:57AM
Won moor

Time to pack

See ya

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 26, 2017 11:29PM

Atlas of the Sierra?

Leave No Trace
Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 26, 2017 07:08PM
Thanks for all the great pix! We've only been to Sequoia once...about 10 years ago. It was late summer but we hit many of these same locations and it's so nice to see them again!

If you think the name "Lost Grove" is a bit odd (given the grove's location relative to the road), I seem to recall that there's actually a trail (starting in or near Dorst CG), which takes quite a few miles to end up crossing the road before going the 10 or 15 feet into "Lost" Grove! Don't know enough about the history of the Park to know if the name (and trail) came before that stretch of road.

There's one tree in that grove, pretty much dead center, a short ways uphill from the road, which has what may be the biggest fire scar I've ever seen in a sequoia (barring "telescope trees"winking smiley...I remember us both joking that we'd had apartments in college that were smaller than that opening (almost literally true)!
avatar Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 28, 2017 11:00PM
Oooo! So many great photos. Thanks!

I'm gonna be adding some of these to the list for our trip next month.

Friend of the Happy Rock.
Re: Buena Baldy Booping
April 29, 2017 11:12AM
Thanks for the great pics; wonderful to be able to hike vicariously this way.

I'm reading a book called The Hidden Life of Trees, which is pretty cool. Tree lovers may well enjoy this.

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