Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Silence of Mt. Dana (Part 1)

(GPS: N°37 54. 010 W°119 13.280)

Here is one I have wanted to show for a while. I am going to take a few blogs for it. With all the hikes I consider "major" hikes I tend to take hundreds of pictures, but only show about 30 pictures at most in these blogs.

Mt. Dana is one my brother had wanted to do for a few years. I wanted to do it, but not as much as other mountain hikes. The time seemed right so we went off to do it. I should mention that I started to compose the "Why I Do I Climb?" blog in my head the few days before this hike and after it. Part of the problem is we had to wait around to do this one which created a bit of anxiety in me. I knew I would be alright once we got going, but waiting around and thinking about it was bothering me. I was not really enjoying being in the Eastern Sierra those few days before it. The day arrived and the next thing I knew we were at the trailhead. Okay, here we go, 3 miles and over 3,000 ft. in about 3 hours to get to the top.

You can see Mt. Dana from the trailhead that starts at the Eastern entrance to Yosemite. I do not know what that lower rocky peak is called to the left. I will show a picture of it looking back down in my next blog. Now keep in mind we actually started the hike early in the morning before the sun came up. My basic strategy is I rarely take pictures or video in the morning to save battery because I would rather have the sun out for lighting. So, most of what you are seeing is done in reverse order on the way down, but I do it this way so you get to see it in good daylight conditions.
You pass a lot of these little ponds on the way in the early part of the hike. The first 20-30 minutes is easy just walking through a forest with lots of trees.
I have read that earlier in the year after spring the flowers are really nice up there. Unfortunately, I was there at the end of summer. I still was looking for whatever nature pictures I could get. After meandering through the forest for the first 20 minutes we finally got a taste of what the hike was really going to be about.
This is probably the steepest hike I have ever done. I may have been in areas where short portions of a hike were steeper, but this is just straight up the rest of the way. Sometimes I can go up steep portions of a hike really quickly and then recover slowly on the rest of the hike. I tried going fast, but it just did not work that way here. I realized I was just going to have to put one foot above the other at a very slow pace. I felt like I had no choice.