A Back Country Saunter

September 11, 2016
May Lake
Roundtrip distance:  6.25 miles

It’s football season.  From now until February Chris will be busy on Sundays watching NFL football games.  That leaves me with time to spend on my own because I don’t watch football.  Some wives might go shopping to fill their time; but I would rather go for a back country saunter than a shopping spree, so I headed to May Lake in Yosemite National Park.

All was quiet on the trail except for the heal-toe crunch of my footsteps over gravel.  I realized what a ruckus I was making when I stopped to take in the view.  Then I heard nature’s music: bugs, wind, birds.

View from the trail.

A large group of backpackers bound down the trail leaving a cloud of dust in their wake.  I stopped to let them pass and looked through the trees at Mt. Hoffman.  I was torn between hiking up the mountain or sitting at the lake.

A picture frame view of Mt. Hoffman from the trail.

The lake is located under the eastern wall of Mt. Hoffman and was named by Charles F. Hoffman of the Whitney Survey for his wife, Lucy Mayotta Brown.  Mt. Hoffman is his namesake.

May Lake and Mt. Hoffman

I continued my clamorous ramble towards the mountain skirting the southwest lakeshore.

May Lake, looking northeast.

Like John Muir said, “the mountains are calling and I must go.”


The precise trail stopped at a rocky wall.  I climbed the rocks and searched for the ill-defined route.  Cairns, sporadically placed, marked the way.

My favorite view of the day.

The trail to Mt. Hoffman climbs 2,400 feet.  The crawl up the rocks was not difficult, but trying to find the trail was.  I climbed Mt. Hoffman four years ago and felt that I was off track this time.


My biggest concern was the descent which is always scarier for me.  I plopped on a rock and gazed at the view while deciding what to do.

Getting closer.

Since I was hiking alone and no one was around, I opted not to continue going up.  There was a shuffling of feet behind me.  Thinking it was another hiker, I turned and saw a marmot.

Posing for the camera.

After a brief rest, I carefully retraced my steps down the mountain and back to the sure path.

The lush path on the east side of the lake.

I had never explored the east side, so I wandered around while looking for a spot to have lunch.  There were many interesting things to see.

Gnarled tree roots along the lakeside trail.
More interesting roots.

I heard a high pitched whistle and looked up at a barren tree just in time to see an osprey take flight.  I fumbled with the camera and captured a photo before it flew too far away.

The bird was perched on top of this tree.

Osprey are uncommon in Yosemite.  They are more common in the Mono Lake area (east of Yosemite).  This one may have strayed from Mono Lake for a bit, or may have been migrating through the area.


Finding a good spot, I sat and listened to the back country clatter of chirping birds and squeaking squirrels.

Clark’s Nutcracker
Belding’s Ground Squirrel hiding in the grass.

Voices and laughter wafted across the lake.  A sigh of wind slapped water against the shore and rustled tree branches.

My view during lunch.

God has given us so much beauty here on earth.  I was blessed to experience just a bit of it this lazy Sunday afternoon.

12 thoughts on “A Back Country Saunter

  1. Beautiful pictures Janet. I have never been to any of the High Sierra Lakes. I did a hike to Lukens lake this summer. Lots of pretty flowers there. Hope to see you one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The photos are fabulous! I made it 2 miles the other day, and have walked to and from the ballpark 3 times. Hope to get some more distance in so I can hike with you:)

    Liked by 1 person

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