August 24, 2013
Roundtrip distance: 4 miles
When too much time has passed since my last hike, and my heart yearns to be up high in the mountains…I think of John Muir’s quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Heeding the call, I packed a lunch and headed to the far east section of Yosemite National Park.
At the Gaylor Lakes trailhead (elevation 9,950 feet) northwest of Mt. Dana, I began the half-mile 600 foot climb up Gaylor Ridge and down to Middle Gaylor Lake. It was a chilly morning, 46 degrees, but the sun shone brightly and the quick uphill jaunt warmed me.
While walking by Middle Gaylor Lake, I recalled the day (51 weeks ago exactly) spent here with my dear friend Mary Elizabeth. You can read about our fun adventure here. I also remembered the time at the lake with my son Andrew. We spotted our first marmot in the rocks near this lake.
Beyond Gaylor Lake is the basin: a wide, flat meadow to cross on the way to Granite Lakes. I laid on the dry grass for a while, enjoying the fact that I could just lie there totally alone in that big open space, my soul singing, joy filling my heart.
Upon arriving at Lower Granite Lake, I explored the area then walked along the narrow path skirting the east shore reaching the lake’s inlet.
I climbed up the rocks and around a bend to Upper Granite Lake where I sat and listened to the birds while humming, “How Great Thou Art” :
“O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed;”
While having lunch, the crunching sound of eating potato chips interfered with the peaceful paradise, so I put them away preferring to gaze in silence at the lake and surrounding granite mountains.
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;”
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; how great thou art, how great thou art!”
My day felt just like the song.
Like a kid in a candy shop I explored anything and everything from admiring the intricate designs in the rocks, to reaching a small patch of snow still clinging to the mountainside. I climbed up and over boulders trying to snap a photo of a hearty-sized Clark’s Nutcracker who refused to alight.
The wind howled around the glacial cirque and the scent of pine filled the air.
Wildflowers sprouted next to a babbling creek. They swayed back and forth in rhythm with the wind adding a bit of difficulty to photographing them.
My heart brimmed with nature as I walked up and over the ridge back to the car. How blessed I am to visit Yosemite on a whim and have several lakes and the mountains completely to myself.
On the way down from the high country, firefighters were staged along the road with Yosemite Rangers. From a distance, we watched the Rim Fire that’s been burning for a week now. The Ranger said the fire was five miles from where we stood. God bless the firefighters who are doing all they can to control this wildfire.
Click here to watch Carrie Underwood singing, “How Great Thou Art”