In January, there hadn't been enough precipitation to snowcamp under the giant sequoias, so I saddled up for a short backpack up and around Glacier Point. After the winter road closure, the snack bar turns into a backcountry ski hut with bunk beds and pleather sofas, and the usually packed overlook is as hushed as a meditation retreat. My trusty microspikes kept me upright on glassy ice-sealed trails, and sections of crusty snow preserved the paw prints of unknown critters. Important lesson learned: in frozen ground, plastic trowels don't dig catholes.
|Yosemite Valley from Four-Mile Trail
|Icy Mirror Lake Trail
|Daytime temp at the Glacier Point Hut
|Hikers tempting fate at Vernal Fall
After completing the John Muir Trail, my long-distance hiking obsession evolved into ticking off sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. This summer's stroll was a 150-mile chunk between Tuolumne Meadows and Lake Tahoe, traipsing between high passes and mosquito-cursed canyons in Yosemite's northern wilderness. My daily mileage kept up with most of the nimble thru-hikers I met, and after so many sola hikes, it was a joy to break up the introspection and become part of a trail community.
|Sandy beach at Benson Lake, the "Sierra Riviera"
|Stella Lake, at Yosemite's northern border
|PCT thru-hikers clock in at 1000 miles from Mexico
|Mono Lake from Mt Dana
|Wildlife near Parker Pass