Yosemite National Park. Huge waterfalls with huge views. I left Mammoth after a fantastic resupply at the local health food store and took the John Muir Trail alternate. I stopped by the Devils Post Pile which was a fascinating site to see on trail.
The John Muir Trail alternate twists through some of the most amazing high altitude lakes and offered some great swimming and camping opportunities.
After passing over Donahue and decending into Tuolumne Meadows, I acquired a permit to hike Half Dome, which ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Though there were an overwhelmingly high number of people in and around Yosemite, I understood why. With views like this I am not surprised.
I never would have thought I would climb up the side of a granite peak just holding on to steel cables. But I am so glad I did. Hiking up from the valley to Half Dome and Clouds Rest I quickly realized that doing both in one day and heading up instead of down was the wrong way to do it. 20 miles later and many pictures that cannot capture the massiveness of Yosemite, my legs were giving up. Weakness set in and the day was over. But the memories of just a few hours prior lasted all night.
The next few days, thunderstorms rolled in and out as the final passes of the Sierras were getting knocked off the list. One more snow storm left a soggy and cold mix of emotions about leaving such an extrodinary place. But it’s hard to not admire everything about its ever changing but always beautiful granite labrynths, lush pines and deep blue never ending rivers and lakes.
The scenery is changing fast and the granite is turning to volcanic rock. Sanora Pass was within reach and the last day out to the highway the wind gave a forceful resistance to he hike, which made for yet another interesting aspect to the trail. But once on to of the mountains and traversing the ridges I waved goodbye to the High Sierras as the trail is clearly in Northern California territory now.