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Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge

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Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 25, 2010 09:12PM
Those of you who have followed my accounting of off-trail hikes from the rim to the floor in Yosemite Valley (see link off-trail) will realize that there is one glaring omission: The long, thinly wooded ridge above Turtle Dome that starts near the Badger Pass ski area. I call it Inspiration Ridge because the logical extension of this hike to the valley runs from Fort Monroe on the old Wawona wagon road, through Inspiration Point and down the old road (now a hiking trail) all the way to the Bridalveil Falls parking lot.

If you look out the window while riding up to Badger Pass, you will see the ridge. It is thinly wooded, not because it has burned over, but because the soil covering its granite heart is so thin. There are patches of trees, but there is also a lot of open space. Here is what you see from your car:


It was the day before Christmas, and the family was skiing at Badger Pass. I took advantage of the opportunity to steal away and check out the upper part of this bushwhack. The plan was to ski up the main road trail from Badger Pass and out along the start of the ridge ski trail to Dewey Point. Most people don't realize that this trail follows the only the right branch of a Y-shaped ridge. The left branch is what I am calling Inspiration Ridge. Here is a map of what I'm talking about. I skied out the marked trail (yellow dots), but turned left at the fork and broke trail for about an hour along the planned route before I had to head back.

You can find the full resolution version of this map at map

Why is this going to be a great summer bushwhack? Well, if you have ever hiked that ski trail in the summer, following the yellow flags up in the trees, you will realize that it's not great. Too many fallen logs and brush, very few views, and too much up and down. Until you reach Dewey Point, of course, where the views of the Valley are terrific. The left fork of the ridge, on the other hand, is much more open. The views are to the southwest, west, and northwest...not the ones that you usually get from Dewey Point. But the ridge is a fairyland of boulders, scattered around on gravel and slickrock meadows. Giant boulders, little boulder, weird boulders. Chick-on would love it.

Here are some photos. The snow was crusty, but there was plenty of it. A larger selection of photos can be found at this album:album
Looking West:


Looking back at Badger Pass Ski Area:


Lunch time:


Typical open forest:


As an aside, another promising bushwack will be the meadows of Meadow Brook. This the creek that feeds Silver Strand Falls. Satellite photos show that It flows through a series of nice open meadows before crossing the Pohono Trail and plunging off the cliff next to Old Inspiration Point. This brook starts at the point on the map marked "1st Saddle". One can just follow the Pohono Trail down to the Valley instead of leaping over the falls....
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 25, 2010 10:26PM
Beautiful. Thanks for the trip report.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/dqniel/
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 26, 2010 08:48AM
Nice report! When you are at the ski area, where do you pick up the road? We went snowshoeing with the ranger (out over what was normally the snowtube area, not yet created) and I should have asked him. I had intended to snowshoe to Dewey but the weather wasn't cooperating. Anyway, I need to figure out where to get to the road from the ski lodge for next time.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2010 08:50AM by hotrod4x5.
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 26, 2010 09:30AM
When I was there a couple years ago, there was an obvious track leading from the overnight parking area (at the far end of the lower level) to the road. Might be somewhat harder to see if it had just dumped, of course.
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 26, 2010 09:44AM
Quote
ttilley
When I was there a couple years ago, there was an obvious track leading from the overnight parking area (at the far end of the lower level) to the road. Might be somewhat harder to see if it had just dumped, of course.
Ok, we didn't venture over that way, but that makes sense.
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 26, 2010 10:04AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Nice report! When you are at the ski area, where do you pick up the road? We went snowshoeing with the ranger (out over what was normally the snowtube area, not yet created) and I should have asked him. I had intended to snowshoe to Dewey but the weather wasn't cooperating. Anyway, I need to figure out where to get to the road from the ski lodge for next time.

The parking lot has four levels that come together at the lodge and also at the far end of the lot. The road is groomed for cross country skiing from Badger Pass to Glacier Point, and they have groomed a connector that starts at the lodge buildings and curves around the south edge of the parking lot. You can also park at the far end of the lot and access the connector as it passes by and continues down to the unplowed highway.

Snowshoers should remember to stay out of the groomed ski track. The road is plenty wide enough. Ditto on the track to Dewey Point, where the track is not groomed, but where there are parallel ski and snowshoe tracks in places. Showshoe tracks ski like cobblestones, and they will certainly infuriate any skier who broke trail on the way out and expects a decent track on the way back. For some reason, on Friday the shoeshoers had gone out of their way to stomp over each of the parallel ski tracks. Yes, it's easier to walk on ski tracks than to break trail yourself, but at least try to leave the skiers one route they can use.

By the way, the ski track out to Dewey Point is considered "most difficult" for nordic gear, because of some downhill sections with tight trees. When I did it on Friday, I passed some skiers having great difficulty there, after snowshoer ruts had overrun all the ski tracks and then refrozen in the shade. Since I was using skins and backcountry skis, it wasn't a problem for me. but people without that braking action were crashing into things. The trees and fallen logs are tight enough there that you can't just ski off to the side....
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 26, 2010 10:11AM
The NPS winter trail map for the area reminds snowshoers to stay off ski trails, and it seems obvious to me to do so. Too bad some people are idiots. I would think that if they rented snowshoes the attendant would tell them some of the etiquette.

As far as finding the trail. When we drove in, we were able to park very close to the loading/unloading area, spitting distance to the lodge and in line with the ranger's A frame. I'll use your info to find it next time.
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
December 27, 2010 10:08AM
Dats some Cool Grape Goodness.

Billy and I already got that one high on da list for next year sometime.

We talked about it here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,29707,29732#msg-29732

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 27, 2011 01:56PM
Quote
wherever
Chick-on would love it.

Sure did. It was awesome. I'll be going back.

Comparison to your winter shot:


And an example of the incredible rock up there:


Incredible views east and west. Little to no shrub to deal with.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 06:57AM
It somewhat pains me that people just don't realize how cool these ridges are.
In disgust last year I deleted a post sharing your love of El Cap Ridge.

Indian Ridge, Illiouette Ridge, El Cap Ridge, Buena Vista Crest, Turner Ridge,
Crescent Ridge, Kuna Crest, Falls Ridge, Kibbie Ridge, Inspiration, Laurel, and on and on.
All these ridges are just incredibly fun to hike and nearly all are open hiking.
The only one I can think of that I would pause to do again was the ridge west of
Moraine.

Anywho... you can see Half Dome for up on Inspiration... so it must be good, right?





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 11:52AM
Quote
chick-on

It somewhat pains me that people just don't realize how cool these ridges are.

It does?

I would think that you of all people would prefer that these ridge routes remain undiscovered by most vistors to Yosemite. Heaven forbid if any of them became as popular as the Mist Trail. Personally, I don't mind seeing fellow, well-behaved hikers and backpackers out in the backcountry, as long as an area isn't overrun by them.

But I thought you really valued total seclusion. How would you have felt about this past weekend's trip if you had come across three or four other backpacking parties following, more or less, your same itinerary?


avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 11:56AM
Quote
plawrence
Heaven forbid if any of them became as popular as the Mist Trail.

That won't happen.
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 02:06PM
Well... you do have a point... but you should notice how much stuff I share...
along with maps... it's easy to get away from people... if I see too many...
I'd just head the other way... (or hide) wink



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 06:02PM
Quote
chick-on
Well... you do have a point... but you should notice how much stuff I share...
along with maps... it's easy to get away from people... if I see too many...
I'd just head the other way... (or hide) wink

That's just for turkeys, and only before Thanksgiving. Chick-ons shouldn't have to hide, unless the marmots get a roasting spit going....
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 29, 2011 12:29AM
Illiouette Ridge is SOOO close to the road. It's an easy hike from the Sentinel/Taft parking lot. Amazing it's so secret.

Are "normal" people that adverse to going off trail?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/29/2011 12:30AM by qumqats.
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 29, 2011 07:40AM
Quote
qumqats
Illiouette Ridge is SOOO close to the road. It's an easy hike from the Sentinel/Taft parking lot. Amazing it's so secret.

Are "normal" people that adverse to going off trail?

U trying to sey sumtin bout me!?

smiling smiley

It a pretty simple answer. 99.5% of the people out there ... they go to the park once or twice every few years...
and there's a lot of trails... so they just stay on the trail...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 28, 2011 07:26AM
Great report. Makes me want to learn how to use winter gear.
avatar Re: Christmas on Inspiration Ridge
November 29, 2011 08:01AM
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