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Re: Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)

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Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)
November 23, 2014 09:59PM
I got of couple of nights at Yosemite Lodge during their half price sale, and was in the Valley last Thursday and Friday. But then my hiking buddy came down with the flu. On Thursday the brush was wet, and the sky threatened sleet all day. The Glacier Point Road had closed because of snow and ice the evening before.

My usual steep bushwhacking didn't seem very inviting under those conditions, so I went up the Four Mile Trail to poke around. I was surprised to see that the trail over to the water works (which had been growing shut from brush in recent years) was all nicely trimmed again. So was the decoy trail next to it, which goes nowhere, but which is purposely made to look more inviting.

You can learn about the old water works here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,48306

Here is a view looking back towards the Four Mile Trail. In the distance you can see the trail cut in the brush where it goes around the ridge to the Four Mile Trail, which is by those large pines.



From the same point, looking ahead, you can see the pump building.



Last year I had been up there, and and the works were obviously out of use. Breaks from falling rocks in the plastic feeder pipes, and a general look of decay inside the pump house, though it was clearly being kept in a state where it could be repaired if the new well up at Glacier Point failed. Perhaps that new well has been a disappointment in this year of drought, because now a brand new pump has been installed in the old waterworks.



The new pump is much smaller than the old one, which itself was much smaller than the chassis of an even older one whose pieces used to be lying about. That makes a lot of sense, because the two hotel buildings at Glacier Point are gone, as is the old Glacier Point campground. The fancy restrooms at the point are essentially shut down, for a dumb legal reason. The old comfort station and horse trough at Union Point is also gone. So all that this new pump really has to do is keep the big water tanks topped up in case of fire, and feed the drinking fountain by the parking lot. Still, it is a long way up the hill to those tanks. You can see on the pressure gauge a red pointer at 400psi, which is probably the maximum working pressure of the system.



In the photo, the vertical blue pipe is open at the top, and seems to be the overflow from a (hopefully never used) over-pressure burst diaphragm. You can see how much smaller the new pump is by observing the size reducers where the input comes around to enter the bottom of the pump, and then dinky little pipe (my arrow) that comes out of the brass pump manifold and which must be expanded again to feed the steel pipes that head up the hill.



So the mechanical works are in great shape, and the site has been cleaned up of a lot of old hardware. Unfortunately, the pump building itself did not receive the same attention. The stone walls and the roof (which is interlocking slabs of reinforced concrete, with a cement overcoat) are in good shape. Unfortunately, the large wooden lintel holding the roof, and the door and window frames, have suffered from 80 years without paint or maintenance. The entire door frame has fallen inside, and the windows are not far behind. Since this is an historic structure by park definitions, I hope that someone comes to fix it up next year. When that wood beam crumbles, the roof will come apart and the walls will start to weather away.



The other side of the water tank is fed by low pressure plastic pipe coming from the spring over by Sentinel Rock. To avoid a rib of rock, it drops considerably below the pump house before coming back up in what is called an inverted siphon. The stretch of pipe near the tank is very steep, and it was always a problem to climb next to it without touching the plastic pipe. The work crew has left their own cure for this problem:



On the horizontal run down below, they have left a bunch of extra pipe to fix what will invariably be smashed by winter slides:



The actual pipe run should be covered with dirt, but some bits get uncovered by erosion. So not all of the white pipes that you see in the photo are spare pieces or broken segments.

At the moment, all the drain plugs are out, to prepare for freezing weather.

It rained all Thursday night, then got cold. By 11:00 on Friday it had warmed up to 35 degrees, and the bushes were only somewhat wet, so I went over to look for lost switchbacks on the Old Big Oak Flat Horse Trail. It was a nice clear day, but short. By 3:15 the sun had gone down behind Inspiration Ridge. For info on the horse trail, abandoned in 1874, see:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,48394
avatar Re: Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)
November 24, 2014 08:41AM
Quote
wherever
The fancy restrooms at the point are essentially shut down, for a dumb legal reason.

The fancy restrooms were open when I was there in September.
avatar Re: Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)
December 01, 2014 06:52AM
Quote
wherever
So I went over to look for lost switchbacks on the Old Big Oak Flat Horse Trail. It was a nice clear day, but short. By 3:15 the sun had gone down behind Inspiration Ridge. For info on the horse trail, abandoned in 1874

Any luck?

My guess is no... just too much dirt slope to hold a trail... ??? I never found anything in the few times been there.
Please enlighten...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)
December 01, 2014 07:18PM
No, but I didn't expect to. This jaunt was just intended to rule out the possibility that there was a switchback that we had missed on our trip two years ago.

I started to write a more complete answer, but decided that it belonged in this thread about the old horse trail:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,48394,77958#msg-77958
avatar Re: Glacier Point Water Works restored! (sort of...)
December 01, 2014 08:28PM
Thanks for answering. The problem always with the old trails in high dirt areas...
if there isn't any rockwork... the game trails can take over... you would not believe
how many game trails are along and near Alkali Creek. I simply gave up trying
to find any old trail in that area. Truth is... the only old trail that I've found that
didn't simply stumble into was Mann's Trail below Clark Pt.
Found absolutely nada near Ostrander Rocks earlier this year..
some great granite... but no trace of any trail.

Anywho... tanks fur posting.



Chick-on is looking at you!
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