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A New Adventure!

Day 55: 01/14/2022

It’s Friday morning and we got an early start to drive back into Yosemite. Today we have plans for hiking and something new. Winter camping! Tonight we are staying in a tent, camping at Camp 4. This first-come first-serve campground is the perfect sport for us to get a full day in the valley. Camp 4 is located just a minute away from the base of the towering monolith, El Capitan. The campground is historic for its popularity during the heyday of climbing in Yosemite in the 70’s. We arrived early to set up our camp before we hit the trails. Today’s hike was a loop that took us out around Mirror Lake. From beginning to end the hike was about 9 miles. The first part was down an icy, but paved road towards the lake, we turned off to take a more secluded trail that climbed shallow slopes through the woods. We popped back out from the trees at Mirror Lake. The lake holds true to its name as it shows a near perfect reflection.

We meandered along the shoreline of the lake for a bit and with the snow getting deeper. Soon we found that the path we were on was blocked and the only way around was either back-tracking or stomping through deep snow. We chose to take the deep snow route. After a couple hundred yards we came up to large boulders in our way. Again we were in a conundrum. We figured we’d climb over the boulders but were quite cautious with snow filling deep crevices. We made our way over the rubble and on the other side was the original path. The rest of the long loop was quite pleasant! The path passed the base of Half Dome which gave us a neat viewpoint of the mountain. The half-way point of the loop has a foot-bridge that crosses the stream feeding Mirror Lake. This end of the trail was really neat. We got excellent views deeper into the valley. This end was also very peaceful. At times it felt like we were the only ones out there with the beautiful views all to ourselves. Unfortunately, with all the snow, it’s tough to continue on any further. Even so, this was a very nice first experience on a Yosemite trail and we really look forward to getting wilderness permits which will allow us to backpack into the Yosemite Wilderness! Back at the truck we ran into a man who had some good stories of his hikes up to the top of Half Dome. So this sparked our interest even more and a hike up Half Dome is definitely on our bucket list!

By the time we got back to the campground it was getting dark. We tried to build a good fire to warm up and cook some food, but the wood we had was a bit too wet and it was quite difficult to keep the fire going. After some frustrating time, we were able to get the fire big enough to roast some hot dogs and make a couple smores. Before bundling up for bed, we drove up to Tunnel View lookout and got some outstanding night photography of the valley! Then we gathered gear for bed and tried to stay as warm as we could. This, however, didn’t go very well. Temperatures fell close to 17 degrees but felt even colder! We couldn’t even tell you how much sleep we got. We were up many times throughout the night and quite honestly some of the times weren’t sure we had even fallen asleep.

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