Panorama Trail

Looking Uphill Below Glacier Point on the Panorama Trail, Yosemite

We set out on our second day in Yosemite in August 2005 to hike Four Mile Trail up to Glacier Point. We intended to hike back down the same trail to the Valley floor, where our faithful Honda (flawless through 1047 miles this vacation) awaited at the trailhead.

It didn’t work out that way.

Four Mile Trail is more like 4.8, but who’s counting switchbacks when the views encompass the entire valley, including Yosemite Falls and later, Half Dome. The trail climbed up to Glacier Point, which we quickly realized was a completely developed spot where a hotel had long stood. Neither the air-conditioned tour buses nor the scores of parked cars made any apologies for dumping hundreds of non-hikers in our field of vision. At least the snack bar served a big cold lemonade.

We decided that our knees didn’t need the sort of pleasure involved in hiking DOWN Four Mile Trail, so we opted to check out some different scenery: Panorama Trail. It was about 1:30pm, and the trail was 8.2 miles, leading almost directly to our campsite. We calculated a few different ways to recover the car from the trailhead (Thank You Shuttle Bus) and set off.

This photo was taken early in the afternoon, passing through a brushy hillside which had been subjected to fire who knows how many years earlier. It’s probably Kodak 400 of some sort, definitely with a polarizer on the lens.

We hiked 13 miles in total that day, not including stumbling around the road trying to cross the meadow to get back to the trailhead from where the Shuttle Bus dropped us near Camp 4.

We asked a pair of hikers who looked like they had just come off the trail: “Where did you cross the meadow?”
Them, clearly thinking only about their knees: “No, we didn’t just cross the meadow, we came down from Four Mile Trail from Glacier Point. It’s a trail.”
Us: “Yes, we were there earlier. How did you get here…from there?”

Of course, we were the ones who were lost.

A lukewarm pizza and two cold beers later, we collapsed in the tent, trying not to think about Elmer the Bear.

I asked my experienced-backpacker Dad yesterday how well he slept in tents. His answer: “Well sometimes I go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, and sometimes I fall right asleep about 17 times.”

We were pretty much out-of-order the next day, but slept well, all the way through the night.

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