June 4, 2012
Total distance: 8 miles
Julia and I had a chance to hike together today. Giving no consideration to the weather, we headed out to the McGurk Meadow trail on Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park.
It was mid-morning and cold but the sun was shining. The trail started by descending through a pine forest where many of the trees were dead. They creaked like squeaky doors when the wind blew. It was an eerie sound.
Early into the hike, we came upon an old log cabin built in the 1890’s by John McGurk. He used it as a summer home while grazing sheep.
Not far beyond the cabin was a footbridge over a tributary of Bridalveil Creek. We walked over the bridge and through a muddy path as we approached the meadow.
I have hiked through this meadow several times and each time it was filled with all sorts of wildflowers. This time only a few lupine and one or two shooting stars showed up in the sunny spots. I really wanted Julia to experience the joy I felt the first time seeing the meadow full of flowers. Since she wasn’t expecting to see it, she wasn’t disappointed. Plus, she had a pleasant distraction, her boyfriend Mason was hiking with us.
At the Pohono Trail junction, we turned left to Dewey Point and walked through the dark forest where Old Man Winter was not kind. Many fallen trees and branches were strewn across the trail making an interesting obstacle course for us to maneuver.
We came to a clearing and noticed the sky was quite cloudy. Here in the opening, the pussy paws were beginning to pop and the phlox was in full bloom.
We crossed Bridalveil Creek again, and then the trail began to climb. Upon reaching Dewey Point, Julia and Mason scrambled to the rock shelf.
I sat near the edge and enjoyed the views of El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks and the Yosemite Valley. It was very windy and the sky was threatening rain. Much of the distant view was obscured by the clouds.
The three of us decided to get off the point and find protection from the wind. Unable to do so, we kept moving partly for warmth and partly because we thought we were going to be caught in a rainstorm. Able to move quickly downhill, we ate lunch on the run then slowed our pace and stopped to watch two deer graze in the meadow.
It wasn’t long before the downpour began, but we made it to the car without getting wet. Later that day the park closed Glacier Point Road because of the storm. Lesson learned: check the weather before heading into the high country.