June 21, 2012
Total distance: 8.7 miles
To start the summer off, I drove to the high country of Yosemite National Park for a solo day hike. I learned of Spillway Lake by reading someone else’s hiking notes on-line. Armed with a map and memory of the notes, I headed out to the lake. The trailhead was at an elevation of 9700 feet and continued to gently incline by 800 feet.
Cicadas buzzed as I walked through the shady, mosquito-filled forest. As I made my way out of the trees, spread before me was the verdant and marshy Dana Meadows. Flowers appeared in patches throughout the sunny areas: shooting stars, Brewer’s lupine, some aged mountain phlox, and red mountain heather.
The first water crossing was about a half-mile in at Dana Meadows Creek. It was an easy rock-hop to the other side. At the next crossing, there were a couple of small tree logs stretched across the water. It, too, was an easy walk across.
When I looked up and saw Kuna Crest and Mammoth Peak I stopped and sat for moment. I saw a wonderland of nature’s colors: the snowy granite mountains against the cloudless blue sky; the red rock of Kuna Crest; the dark green forest; and the light green meadow dotted with white boulders.
Nearing the lake, the trail skirted Parker Pass Creek and led to a large sunny meadow.
Lazy marmots sat in the sun up there at 10,500 feet, and the wind blew wildly. Spillway Lake was on the west side of the meadow.
Looking around, I couldn’t believe that I was the only one there. I walked around the lake part way, then finding a shady spot, I sat and ate lunch. A California gull circled the lake trying to catch his lunch.
As I focused on the trail on the way out, a weasel scurried in front of me, too fast to capture a photo.