November 5, 2012
Snow Creek Trail
Total distance: 7 miles
Today I hiked a portion of the Snow Creek Trail in Yosemite National Park with my friends Mary Elizabeth and Paul. There was a two-mile walk to reach the Snow Creek trail from the Mirror Lake trailhead.
At first we walked the same wooded path that Chris and I took a couple of weeks ago. The vibrant yellow leaves that once brightened the trees were beginning to turn brown. We walked in the shade of Half Dome on the rocky pack trail while dodging plump road apples.
As the sun began to rise above the mountain, we looked toward Half Dome and saw gigantic spider webs glistening in the sun. The enormous snares stretched in a semicircle from one end of the mountain to the other. I did what I could to photograph this extraordinary find with my little point-and-click camera.
The granite mountains and the unusual spider web weren’t the only big things we saw while exploring. As a breeze blew through the fall foliage, leaves fell to the ground like rain. Mary found a giant maple leaf.
We reached the Snow Creek trail announced by a large metal sign, “Trail Rules”, attached to a boulder at the trailhead. From there we began the steep, heart-pounding climb.
As the 3.4 mile trail escalated around switchbacks and we left the shade of the trees, we felt the heat from the sun radiating off of the granite walls. We looked down upon the blanket of trees in Tenaya Canyon; and across at Half Dome, Clouds Rest and Mt. Watkins.
Snow Creek, the trail’s namesake, was somewhere but without a drop of water in sight, we had no clue where. The trail inclined 2,300 feet, but we were not going to the top. We turned back and carefully stepped down the slippery slope and made our way back to the Mirror Lake Loop. We sat for lunch near the bridge that spanned a waterless section of Tenaya Creek.
Continuing on the loop trail, we walked through the construction site at the Ahwiyah Point rock fall. A crew was working diligently at repairing the rock-strewn trail.
Looking up at Ahwiyah Point, we saw where the granite had slipped away decimating the forest below and depositing 115,000 tons of white talus on the slope near Tenaya Creek.
We finished the five-mile loop in the late afternoon but still had a long walk back to the car. It was quite a walk, and was a another fun day spent with friends in this awesome area.