Sharing the Trail

July 18, 2014
Bridalveil Creek Trail
Total distance:  6.6 miles

It is common to share a trail with hikers, especially on some of the more popular trails in Yosemite National Park, but I saw few people on this hike.  Maybe because there was no destination to the route I chose, no lake or river to sit next to, no sweeping views to admire along the way.  There was evidence, however, that I unquestionably shared the trail.

My path would follow the Ostrander Lake trail for a short distance.
My route would follow the trail to Ostrander Lake for a short distance then head in the opposite direction.

I pulled the car into the dirt parking lot where trucks with horse trailers crowded the wooded area.  Two black birds circling above squawked loudly as I headed out.

Evidence that I shared the trail with horses.
Evidence that I shared the trail with horses.

Today’s walk bordered the elusive Bridalveil Creek.  It was well-hidden for the most part, but I knew it was there snaking its way through the thicket below the trail.

Looking through a clearing at Bridalveil Creek.
Looking through a clearing at Bridalveil Creek.

It was an easy walk through the regenerating forest that fire destroyed years ago.  This was ground that I covered in the past on the way to Ostrander Lake.  I was shocked to see how much the trees had grown in the four years since I was here last.

The narrow path.
The narrow path.

The trail led alternately through sandy meadows lush with wildflowers, open rocky areas and the forest strewn with dead wood.

I counted 26 types of wildflowers adorning the path.
I counted 26 types of wildflowers adorning the path.

There were stalks and stalks of brightly colored fireweed, the plant that grows only after forest fires have occurred.


Enjoying the cool air and walking slowly along the well-defined path, I found new flowers that I hadn’t seen before.

Monkshood.  First time seeing this flower.
Monkshood. First time seeing this flower.
Monkshood.  These flowers do not grow in abundance in one area.  I saw two from different areas on the trail.
Monkshood. These flowers do not grow in abundance in one area. I saw two from different areas on the trail.

Lining the trail were twinberry honeysuckle shrubs also known as bearberry honeysuckle.  Bears find the berries of these plants appetizing.

Twinberry honeysuckle.  First time seeing this plant.
Twinberry honeysuckle. First time seeing this plant with blooms and berries.
The blooms of a twinberry honeysuckle that have enlarged, turned red and become conspicuous.
The conspicuous blooms of this twinberry honeysuckle have enlarged and turned red.

Near the berries was evidence that I shared the trail with a bear.

A bear was here.
A bear was here.

I heard a variety of bird calls, birds perhaps keeping in touch with family members or warning them of my presence; but one drab bird in particular literally shared the trail with me.  It ran on the ground and followed the path through the forest.  Several small squirrels followed suit throughout the day.  Swarms of fritillary butterflies fluttered away as I walked on the trail through their perennial feeding ground.

Feeding on mountain pennyroyal.
Feeding on mountain pennyroyal.

A light wind cooled me while walking through a warm, sunny stretch.  On the trail was a reminder that I shared this area with a mountain coyote.

Coyote scat.
Coyote scat.

I came to the end of the route when reaching Bridalveil Creek Campground.  Instead of walking through and making a loop hike, which would have meant walking on the pathless Glacier Point Road, I turned back and retraced my steps.  At a clearing, I headed down to the creek for a brief break.

Happy to be here.
Bridalveil Creek runs from Ostrander Lake to Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley.

While walking  back through the shady forest, I found delicate smoothstemmed fireweed growing in a wet area near the creek, cousin to the larger fireweed.

Smoothstemmed fireweed, cousin to the larger fireweed.  First time seeing this flower.
Smoothstemmed fireweed. First time seeing this flower.

I am always pleased to have an area to myself, but in a forest teeming with wildlife, both seen and unseen, I am never truly alone.

Happy to be here.
Happy to be here.

16 thoughts on “Sharing the Trail

  1. I loved this one, Janet! So much traffic (both human on horses, and of course the animals and birds!). Just be very careful, after Vicky Cardell’s death, I really worry about rattlesnakes! (Colette told Mike on Sunday, that she heard that Vicky had so many allergies that perhaps they couldn’t give her much of the anti-venom drugs!) Either way, please be very careful!

    Love & hugs,



    1. Heart-breaking about Vicky. I have yet to see a rattler though I’ve seen several other types of snakes. I will be careful. Thanks for the comment, Marlene.


    2. I’m sticking my oar in here because a friend’s son recently suffered a rattlesnake bite on a trail in the Santa Barbara foothills. They evacuated him perfectly but the pharmacist at the hospital didn’t realize the urgency of defrosting the antivenin so his doses were not triaged with urgency. He survived but the event caused far more damage and pain than strictly necessary. Should you ever be in a position to need to know this, it is worth gentle but firm harassment of ER staff to ensure that there are no delays in administrating the antivenin. It makes a big difference if you wait another two hours instead of twenty minutes. I don’t know if anything of this sort happened with Vicky, but this boy’s case leapt to mind when I read your comment. I believe snakebite is so uncommon that staff do not always understand the protocols, and they have no time to go looking it up with the inflow of urgent cases that they cope with!


  2. I love following along and seeing the flowers and even the scat upon the way! Thank you. It looks like we may not make it out on a real camping trip this year, so it is particularly dear to see your flowers and trails through the land.


  3. I got a kick out of this one. The pictures of all the new flowers were great. And you’ve got to love the English language with so many definitions for the word “scat”:
    > to go away quickly
    > an animal fecal dropping
    > jazz singing with nonsense syllables
    > School and College Ability Test
    > supersonic commercial air transport
    The coyote scat was particularly interesting. I wonder what animal that used to be. 🙂


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