08 July 2012

Mirror Lake

Yosemite National Park


Locate the trailhead.

For a second little hike while in Yosemite Valley, I stepped off the shuttle at the Mirror Lake trailhead, the stop just before North Pines Campground and the backpacker camp behind it. A sign warned against allowing children to linger or run too far ahead and against hiking alone as this is mountain lion country. They don't seem to be spotted as much here as in southern California. I was hiking "alone", but there was also a dad and a couple of lagging, running kids around. We seemed to be both blatantly ignoring the sign's warning. One of the kids found something interesting off to the side, and then I really was alone for a short bit.

Another sign warned of a major rock fall that had closed the trail in approximately 0.7 miles. This was next to a sign saying that Mirror Lake was still 1.1 miles off, or a little further than it had been from the bus stop. The rock fall area is closed as there are still chunks of granite falling off the cliffs regularly. The map provided, but damaged by many fingers poking it, seemed to indicate the slide was after the lake.
Just a short way later, I could see a bit of lake through the trees. Further, and there is another pool with wide beaches on either side and a few use trails from the proper trail down to it. I made my way down onto the beach. A few other groups of people were around on the other side of the stream. This side only had a forgotten pair of white shoes. Behind me, Half Dome rose impressively.

A perfectly good crossing on rocks was a little downstream, but the creek was shallow enough that I decided to just take advantage of my waterproof shoes and walk across. A couple fellows in sneakers seemed inspired by this and crossed to the Half Dome side getting soggy shoes in the process. My feet were nice and dry. I relaxed, listening to the birds and eating a bit of supper and waited for the sunset. Sometimes there's nice colors on Half Dome during the sunset, after all. I think there's seasons for that and the right season is winter, but I go ahead and see what today will bring me.

Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake
For a moment, my camera felt it had enough charge to take a photo, so here is Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake.

There wasn't much to the lake in this dry season. A couple puddles here and there. The canyon wasn't windy, so the surfaces were the advertised mirrors. A small child experimented with floating his water bottle as a boat and found it quite good, so his papa had to chase it down. A teen wandering on the far side said there was a bear over there, but it didn't come out to say, "Hello." Gradually, the others left.

The shadows over Half Dome grew upward toward its peak. There was finally a little color at the top when only a few tips of rock were still out of shadow. Indeed, this is not the season for watching Half Dome turn in the sunset. I got up and made my way along the road, and then a trail beyond it, back to the campground. I spotted a sign for "stables", which are next to North Pines and hoped that would be the trail to go into the back of my campground, but it really did go to the stables. Then I made my way back to the backpackers' camp.




©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jul 2012

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