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Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)

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Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)
October 31, 2011 12:55PM
Ah, the joys of being old and decrepit. Already I'm reduced to day hikes around the valley. Soon, I will have to hire someone to push me down the trail in a wheelbarrow, while chickens and marmots cavort in circles around me.

But not quite yet. I managed to get rooms at the Lodge, allowing two full days of exploring abandoned trails and off-trail hikes on a beautiful late-October week in Yosemite Valley. What could be better?

For the first full day, my buddy and I set out to clean up some questions that had accumulated while sitting on our hands all summer.

Item 1: I hadn't seen the top half of Inspiration Ridge, except on skis. (see link:Inspiration Ridge) Who knows what might be revealed when the snow melts?

Item 2: Chick-On's helpful transfer of the "old roads and trails" overlay onto a topo map pointed out some things that needed looking into. One was the old pack trail below the Old Big Oak Flat Road. But another was "Mount Beatitude" just west of Silver Strand Falls. Huh? Never heard of it. (see link: overlayed map)

Item 3: I was in Boston two weeks ago, and we went to the Peabody Museum in Essex, where they had an exhibit of master painting by artists of the Hudson River School. Pride of the show was a large canvas of Yosemite Valley painted in 1865 by Thomas Hill. It was painted the year after President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, and he took it back east to show off. More recently, it was exhibited at President Obama's Inaugural Luncheon. (see link: Hill's Painting) When I saw the thing, I did a double take. I know that hillside. This was not painted at Old Inspiration Point, nor New Inspiration Point, nor Artist Point. But the view is off to the east, from a heavily wooded area facing north. It has to have been done from a treeless spot that I have never been to! Map triangulation of Lower Cathedral Rock lining up with Half Dome and Middle Cathedral Rock lining up with Sentinel Rock puts it at about the 6000 foot level near the Pohono Trail, but otherwise in the middle of nowhere. Ha. It's time to go look there.

And finally, the day's agenda had become clear the afternoon before, as we got down from our half-day jaunt to Moran Point (see link: trip tip report). As we walked back across Swinging Bridge to the Lodge, waiting for the alpenglow on Cloud's Rest, there ensued some wailing, gnashing of teeth, and dumping out of pockets and packs. My buddy's new prescription bi-focal sunglasses were missing. He has the bad habit of sticking them on his forehead, above the hat brim. He knows better than to do that in the brush, but old habits are hard to break.

Alpenglow from Swinging Bridge that previous evening:

But examination of my camera revealed that he had the sunglasses as we were coming back up the stone steps at Moran Point. There were no overhanging branches after the next hundred yards or so of the hike. So he dashed up the Four Mile Trail the next morning, while my wife and I comfortably read the newspaper. Two and a half hours after leaving the hotel room towards Swinging Bridge, he was at the top, with sunglasses. They were under some bushes, next to an overhanging branch. By eleven, we had been dropped off at the start of the hike. This is at the pullout at the top of the first uphill section of road east of the Badger Pass parking lot. Here is our previous map:

The red line is my December ski trip, and the markers show the route of our June hike. "Trail" refers to where the cross country ski trail to Dewey Point starts.

The hike to 2nd Knob is easy, almost level, open forest and meadow. Perfect stuff. This ridge is where the fire a few years ago along Wawona Road was contained. So the ground is burnt in some places and not in others, but the going is easy in either case. As before, there is no sign that any people other than firefighters ever come here. From 1st Saddle to 2nd Knob is a section that I think of as a child's garden of boulders. Big ones, small ones, but all are spaced out so that it is easy to walk through.

Some are worth climbing:

There is a view to the west that you don't get from any trail in the park:

Lilliputian marmots have cut steps up the sides of the best lookouts, just like humans did at Moran Point:

And a stone turtle moves slowly by:

After 2nd Knob, our next stop was to be just west of the brink of Silver Strand Falls. We could have just wandered down Meadow Brook, but we had done that. So we went down the ridge that goes straight north from 2nd Knob. See map above. It goes right to Mt. Beatitude.

Mt. Beatitude requires explanation. This post is already too long, so I will continue it in a second post. Located here: link

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2011 08:13PM by wherever.
avatar Re: Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)
October 31, 2011 01:43PM
Awesome... as usual.

You beat me to Inpiration Ridge (again). Was going to combine it with Old Wawona (one heck of a lot o climbing) but
Kuna and being able to park overnight close enough was just too inviting.
Hope to do this soon.

Old and decrepit? I think not.

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)
October 31, 2011 08:20PM

There is a view to the west that you don't get from any trail in the park:

So where's Turlock? grinning smiley
Re: Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)
November 02, 2011 06:18PM
I forgot to mention why the Lilliputian marmots cut those steps. It was to get to their natural arches monument:

Located on 1st knob. Photo courtesy of hiking buddy.
Re: Inspiration Ridge, Mt. Beatitude, Hill's Point, and Artist Creek (long)
November 02, 2011 08:04PM
You guys are amazing. The amt of effort for research and the inclination to go out there and actually do this stuff...it's impressive. And you're all so modest about your abilities.
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