May 2, 2018
Four Mile Trail to Union Point
Total distance walked: 6.08 miles
Hiking is always on my mind. When I saw the cover of VIA magazine touting, “Outsmart the Crowds at National Parks”, I was intrigued. I thumbed to page 38 hoping to find a new way to outsmart the crowds in Yosemite. No such luck. The article featured parks that do not attract large numbers of people.
The best way I know to outsmart the throngs of visitors in Yosemite, is to get on the trail early. That’s exactly what I did one spring morning when I went out to hike the Four Mile Trail.
The Four Mile Trail is actually 4.6 miles one way starting at the base of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite Valley and ending 3,330 feet higher at Glacier Point. The trail is literally up and down (although if Glacier Point Road is open, you might be able to ride the bus back to Yosemite Valley).
To calculate hiking time, my rule of thumb is: 30 minutes per mile plus 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. I would not have enough time on this trip to get to Glacier Point because later in the day I was meeting friends in the valley; so my turnaround spot was Union Point, 3 miles up.
The trail to Union Point was well-shaded and the path was a combination of decaying asphalt, granite staircases, and the usual dirt and rocks.
Even though it was cold outside, I was warm from the uphill climb. Each time I stopped to snap a photo, the camera lens and my glasses fogged up. There were so many photo ops that I didn’t really need to take a break.
Yosemite Falls’ roaring presence could be heard throughout the day and its view was one of the highlights of the hike.
As usual, my thoughts turned to the John Muir Trail while I hiked. This trail of ups and downs was a glimpse of what could be expected daily on the JMT making it a great training hike.
As I mentioned earlier, hiking is always on my mind, specifically the JMT. You may recall from my last post, I am number seven on a permit for six people to hike the John Muir Trail. Just in case I am lucky enough to get on the permit, I put together my own itinerary that worked out to be a 24-day hike.
I reached Union Point and walked out to the rail. Looking down from the rail was a dizzying drop to the valley below.
The trail continued uphill and around more switchbacks to Glacier Point, but Union Point was my turnaround spot.
After eating a snack at Union Point, I stashed my camera in the backpack and headed down the hill to find my friends.
This hike left me feeling invigorated, strong and ready to tackle any trail including the John Muir Trail.
UPDATE: The day after I hiked the Four Mile Trail I heard from Erin, the JMT permit holder. She said I will have a spot on her permit to hike the John Muir Trail this September! Wow! I have a lot of planning to do! Stay tuned for further updates.