Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Curse of Hoffman Part 1 (T.o.P. for Christmas Series)

(GPS: N37 50.405 W119 30.045)

If you watched the video you heard me talk about why I feel "cursed" in doing this hike. It seems like every year that I have tried to do this hike something would go wrong. You might remember me mentioning the time Yosemite was on fire years ago, and I was irritated about that. That was the first time I intended to do this hike. Last year I got to the top, but the conditions were so bad due to smoke that I didn't even bother mentioning it on here. This year I did it, and the conditions were slightly better, but still smoke in the air to obstruct views. I decided to do a write up this time just because I am sick of trying to convince myself that I need to wait until next year to do it again.

The GPS coordinates are for the parking at the trail head. I'm going to skip the beginning of the hike. It is in the video, and it is rather tame. It is about 1.2 miles on a forested trail and a gradual 500 ft. elevation change to get to May Lake. The above picture is a composite panorama of May Lake. It is a destination for many overnight backpackers because there is a camping area just for that. The pack horses that can be seen in the video help bring in whatever is needed for those people.

After May Lake the trail starts to get a little more intense as one gains elevation quicker. One has to scramble up the following:

The goal is to get to where all those trees are, and then turn around and look back at May Lake:

At this point you can see in the background what I feared. Earlier that morning I could not see that much haze in the distance while driving in. Up to the day I attempted this hike the smoke from another fire in California had not reached the area. Slightly disappointed I went on. The area at this point levels out some to a nice meadow. The trail continues, but at this point I followed another trail off to my right. Regardless of the trail, one needs to start heading up the side of the mountain at this point. There are points I could not always find a trail each time I have been here, but it doesn't matter since you are just heading straight up here:

That isn't the top of the mountain there. The area one has to head to is beyond the bushy tree on the left. It is a bit of a slog here, but not too difficult for an altitude hiker. After this is accomplished one can finally see the final destination. For most of the hike you don't even see Mt. Hoffman. In the distance there is an antenna coming out of the rocks at the top. That is the final goal:

Looking over to my left I saw Half-Dome and where Yosemite Valley would be in the distance. The haze would be the constant sight from now on. At this point I could smell the smoke in the air. I had been through a lot worse the year before, but it was still annoying.
I'll continue this one tomorrow.