Always on My Mind

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.

Four Mile Trail, Union Point, Yosemite
Union Point, my destination.

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.

Four Mile Trail, Glacier Point, Union Point, Yosemite
Starting the hike.

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).

Yosemite Falls, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
First view of Yosemite Falls from the trail. Wait…it gets better.

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.

Yosemite Falls, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
Second view of Yosemite Falls.

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.

Yosemite National Park, Four Mile Trail
John Muir loved trees as much as he loved the mountains.
Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
Water cascaded over yet another of the trail’s staircases.

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, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
It was hard to keep my eyes on the trail with that view ahead of me.

Yosemite Falls’ roaring presence could be heard throughout the day and its view was one of the highlights of the hike.

Yosemite Falls, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
Yosemite Falls drops 2,425 feet from the top to its base.

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.

Cathedral Rocks, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
View of Cathedral Rocks from the trail.

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.

Half Dome,Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon, Yosemite, Four Mile Trail
More views from the trail: Half Dome, Clouds Rest and the Tenaya Canyon.

I reached Union Point and walked out to the rail.   Looking down from the rail was a dizzying drop to the valley below.

Union Point, Four Mile Trail, Yosemite
The rail at Union Point.
Four Mile Trail, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Yosemite
Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan

The trail continued uphill and around more switchbacks to Glacier Point, but Union Point was my turnaround spot.

Four Mile Trail, Glacier Point, Yosemite
Hikers heading to Glacier Point.

After eating a snack at Union Point, I stashed my camera in the backpack and headed down the hill to find my friends.

Yosemite Falls, Four Mile Trail
One last unobstructed view.

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.

17 thoughts on “Always on My Mind

  1. Janet, what a beautiful day for you to hike. Love the photos as always, it takes me along with you. I am so excited to hear you will be doing the JMT. You will love it. Tony has always come home with such beautiful photos, memories and changed by the experiences along the way. Have fun preparing. Please keep us posted on your training hikes. Have an awesome day! Terri


    1. Thank you, Terri. Yes, it was a perfect day. I am nervous about doing the trail. I think preparing is almost as much fun (if not more) than going. Thanks for reading.


  2. Great photos and great blog. But more important, great news: you got your slot on the JMT permit. That’s exciting!


  3. Great photos and great blog. But more important, great news: you got your slot on the JMT permit. That’s exciting!


  4. Wow, Janet, now you are among the “Big Leaguers” in the world of hiking! I am impressed! Happy training! Spectacular pictures, as usual! Thank you for sharing them with us.


  5. Beautiful pictures! Yosemite Falls looks spectacular. I really do need to get out to Yosemite. Congrats on getting to hike the JMT! I’m envious!


  6. Yeah! Congrats on getting the hiking permit. I’m going to have to try to remember your rule of thumb for hiking times, I always struggle to estimate how long a hike will take.

    Liked by 1 person

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