I recommend hiking the Four Mile Trail before the Glacier Point road opens for the season, but this year there wasn’t much of a window of opportunity. The trail opened on May 8th; the road on May 15th. It’s wonderful experience being at Glacier Point alone: I’ve trudged through a foot of snow on the at the top with only myself for company. Still May isn’t too crowded, and we had a nice breeze to cool us. One more tip: Beware of the misnomer – the trail is actually 9.2 miles round-trip.
I arm myself with water and a peanut butter and jelly for the hike; Shad’s film to food ratio is quite out of balance. The photo bug has hit and he’s been sending off weekly shipments to Seattle Photoworks for developing.
They put stickers on photos in need of help, with suggestions like "Oops, check your light meter." Shad’s goal is to have a packet come back sticker free.
Switchback after switchback we trudge upward, passing a changing assortment of trees as we gain in elevation: canyon live oaks, manzanita, white furs and sugar pines. I point out to Shad a future photo opportunity as we pass stands of aspen that will blossom into brilliant yellow in the fall. When we hit the first patches of snow, small towers of bright red snowplants peek out from the ground.
The long ascent provides its rewards as we reach the top. Snow still blankets the Clark Range, and Half Dome stands guard over the Valley. Shad doesn’t even flinch when I tell him we’ll be scaling that massive granite dome on our next hike. He’s probably thinking about the photographic opportunities.