AsABat's Pacific Crest Trail - California Section H
Yosemite Valley to Bishop Pass (Southbound)

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Illiliouette Fall The Muir Trail runs 212 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney. Many PCT'ers, especially those from out of state, climb Mt. Whitney and then make a side trip to Yosemite Valley to "thru-hike" the Muir Trail while hiking the PCT.

July 6, 1975 While we were in high school, my brother and I spent two weeks hiking the part of the John Muir Trail. Our parents drove us to Yosemite Valley, and hiked a mile or so up the crowded, paved trail. Illiliouette Fall came into view a short distance up the trail.

Nevada Fall Leaving our parents, we climbed above Vernal Fall, and saw Nevada Fall.
Top of Nevada Fall The trail offers an almost scary view down the top of Nevada Fall. From here, the trail levels off somewhat to Little Yosemite Valley, where we spent the first night. The ranger gave a talk about bears, and while there were supposedly twenty bears in the camp, and we actually saw almost a dozen, we were more interested in how to protect ourselves from mosquitoes coming from the slow moving Merced River. In 1975 there were steel cables suspended between two trees with a pully system to hang your food with. These are now gone.

July 7 The next morning the coffee pot I had perched atop my backpack as a bear alarm fell off at six in the morning. I poked my head out the door and was with arms-length of a large blonde colored bear. Groggy, I yelled "Get out of here!" and the bear cocked it's head like a dog, gave me a dumb look, and ambled off to rip off breakfast from someone else's food they had left on the ground.

Half Dome Stairway Leaving Little Yosemite, we made a side trip to "climb" Half Dome. It isn't technical climbing from this direction, as there are are the cables going up the back side of the dome. Two hikers are visible descending the cables about half way up in the picture. The route is actually at an angle of about 45 degrees as I recall.
Yosemite Valley from Half Dome The view of Half Dome is well worth the trip. There is a large sandy flat on top with room for a few tents, although I've heard you aren't allowed to camp on top now.

After returning to the Muir Trail, we camped at Sunrise Camp the second night, and had no more bears the rest of the trip.

North from Cathedral Pass July 8 The next morning we started early for this view north from Cathedral Pass. I was amazing how many different water courses we could see from the pass.
Upper Cathedral Lake Dropping slightly to Upper Cathedral Lake, we saw several herds of deer grazing in the meadows.

From here, we trucked on to Tuolumne Meadows, where we gorged ourselves on junk food from the store, including too much ice cream, if there can be such a thing as too much ice cream.

The trail south from Tuolumne is quite gentle up the Lyell Fork, and we hiked until dusk, camping just below the tree line.

Thousand Island Lake July 9 Climbing quickly past a small glacier and over Donohue Pass, we dropped to Rush Creek which was infested with mosquitoes. Moving on, we arrived at Thousand Island Lake on a cloudy afternoon.

We camped that evening on a small knoll a short distance up the trail, near a quiet pond.

Garnet Lake July 10 The next morning was bright and sunny, and, arriving at Garnet Lake, I took what is my favorite picture of all my trips. The reflection of the mountains on the lake, framed by the windswept pine, was gorgeous.
Rosalie Lake Passing Rosalie Lake, we continued down quickly, dreaming of real food tomorrow at Red's Meadow.

We came to a stream crossing that was deep and quick. All the stepping stones and logs were well under water. Remembering that streams are often lower in the morning, and considering that it was about dinner time, we camped beside the stream.

July 11 The next morning, the stream had dropped maybe one inch, so we packed up, crossed the cold water, and cooked breakfast on the other bank.

Red Cone After warming up, we headed down to Reds Meadow, where we had lunch and bought some supplies to replace what we'd used since Tuolumne. We then pressed on, past Red Cone, and camped on a hillside after doing what seemed like 26 miles. Nah, couldn't have been.
Lake Virginia July 12 The next day took us past several lakes, including Lake Virginia. We crossed Silver Pass that day, and I'm surprised I didn't take any pictures, as the trail wound around several high lakes and had incredible views before dropping down to Mono Creek.
Marie Lake from Selden Pass July 13 Now it's back up Bear Ridge, and on up past Marie Lake to Selden Pass. I need to spend more time in this area later.
Heart Lake from Selden Pass Heading down towards Heart Lake and then Sally Keyes Lake, we made camp by Senger Creek. By now, we were thinking of real home cooked food. We still had a few days to go, though.

July 14No pictures today. We arrived at the Piute Pass junction early and found a campsite nearby to wait for a couple friends from high school. They finally arrived late in the evening. It was great to have a couple more in our group for a few days.

Evolution Valley looking east July 15 The trail climbed into Evolution Valley, passing three large meadows: Evolution, McClure, and Colby.
Golden trout at Colby Meadow We camped at Colby Meadow and caught a number of golden trout for dinner.
The Hermit from Colby Meadow July 16 The next day, we had to leave our friends, who were heading towards Kings Canyon. We hiked past a rock peak appropriately called The Hermit.
Evolution Valley from the east end Ascending into upper Evolution Basin, we had one last look back at Evolution Valley. We then had a wet river crossing before we set up camp at Wanda Lake.
Goddard Divide Glacier from Wanda Lake July 17It was cold last night. There was frost inside our cheap tent, but we had breakfast early so we could get started on our climb to Muir Pass.
Helen Lake from Muir Pass Muir Pass has a distinctive dome-shaped stone hut on top. After a short rest, we started down and toward Helen Lake and immediately noted a hiker far below walking up beside the lake. He was carrying something in his hand. As he got closer, we could see it was a fish! No, it's not a fish. Yes, it is! "What are you doing with that fish?" we asked. He said the trail crossed some shallow water down below, and the fish was splashing in it, so he picked it up to have for breakfast at Muir Pass. That's no fish story!

Town was calling us, and we hiked hard, up Bishop Pass, then down to Long Lake, where we spent our last night on the trail.

July 18 From there it was just a short hike down to our parents at the trailhead.

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