Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Silent Cathedral Hike

(GPS: N37 50.720 W119 25.345)

The Silent Cathedral Hike (Youtube Version)

The Silent Cathedral Hike (Vimeo Version)

Here is what the deal was on this hike. We decided to get up early and do something simple in the morning and then drive into Yosemite Valley. It had been some years since I had been into the valley so I wanted to take some updated pictures/video and examine a few other areas to prepare for a much bigger hike (ex. Half-Dome).

The hike to Cathedral Lakes seemed like the perfect choice. A short tourist hike with a little uphill to a nice lake. I cannot remember how long it took us, but I suspect it was about an hour and half. The hike was nice while you are experiencing it, but nothing I want to spend too much picture/video bandwidth showing. There was a lot of glacial polished rock everywhere which is what Yosemite is known for, and even showed up at the lake edges we were at. We saw Cathedral Peak:

Then just turning around from the above picture we encountered one of the Cathedral Lakes. In the video, which shows how it was when we first got there, you can see there was an awesome reflection in the lake. That lasted about ten minutes.
I believe that is Mt. Hoffman, in the picture below, in the background. That was definately one peak I intended to bag during my time there last summer.
I did not add music to the video because I wanted to show how quiet it was during the time I was there. It really felt like to make much noise there was the wrong thing to do.

So, after spending about a half-hour there we headed back to Tuolumne Meadows and there were tons of cars parked along the road. We got in and headed to the valley. After passing Tenaya Lake I had the video going and turned to see that I could hardly see the area over the valley due to the smoke. I cannot remember what I said, but I know it was recorded on the video. I was not too happy because I kind of realized what was going to happen. Eventually, we were forced to turn around.

That fire was an ongoing story while I was there last summer. I had high hopes of doing many more climbs, but never got to. I remember one of the information desk people I talked to in order to get the latest on the fire, told me as one of his final comments to me that, "There is plenty of stuff to do over here." Well, maybe for the first time tourist, but for a guy that plans out my long backcountry hikes a year in advance that was not too helpful. Or, in other words, to respond to this guy I should have said, "Google 'Great Silence Blog' and get back to me." ;)

I think I mentioned back in September how we spent the final day trying to force a Mt. Hoffman hike, but after driving there we were forced to turn around and did not even try. The problem we had is we never knew how much of it was contained. The reports made it seem like it was almost contained, but when we drove in that last day the visability we had off the road was the worst we had seen.

We salvaged that day by hiking around the loop of lakes that start at Saddlebag Lake, but our enthusiasm was pretty much shot at that point. As I remember, I was kind of angry too that day. So, we came home a few days early. I did take a bunch of pictures and video of that hike, but I think I would rather do that hike again with better conditions than the smoke you would see. I will think about whether I post that one in the next two months. I kind of hope this is the last blog I do that I have to mention any Sierra fires.

So, this marks the end of the Sierra hikes I did last summer that I want to show. I did do some more hikes last October that will eventually show up here soon. I will have an "update" type of blog sometime this next week on how this summer and beyond should be with this blog.