October 27, 2012
Total distance: 5.5 miles
The southern portion of the loop trail around Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park recently opened after a 3 ½ year closure due to the Ahwihya Point rock fall. In March 2009, rocks near Half Dome fell approximately 1,800 feet with an impact equivalent to a magnitude 2.4 earthquake.
Having walked only the northern portion of the trail to Mirror Lake, I was anxious to experience the newly constructed path on the opposite side. So Chris and I headed to Yosemite for a walk in the park.
We parked near Ahwahnee Meadow where we walked in the warm sun through the soft dormant grass-land dotted with tall milkweed.
We walked in the cool shade through the boulder-strew forest where we watched rock climbers test their ability as they climbed up the granite monoliths.
We walked on the paved bicycle path under a canopy of colorful trees; then uphill bordering Tenaya Creek. The lack of water in the creek was an indication of what was to come.
We stepped aside as a pack of mules moseyed on up the damp path, their riders happy to be trying out the recently re-opened trail without the burden of the uphill hike.
We reached the lake at the base of Half Dome but Chris didn’t realize we were there until he began reading the information panels. (I failed to mention to him that the word “lake” in this case was a misnomer.) During spring and early summer, Mirror Lake is more like a pond.
But towards the end of summer and throughout autumn, the lake is nothing more than an arid sand pit awaiting winter’s deluge.
Even though we didn’t walk to the Ahwihya Point rockfall area, Chris and I enjoyed the afternoon walk in the park. We ended the day at the Ahwahnee Hotel for drinks and a late lunch.