Last year I took a nice hike up Tuolumne Peak and intended to complete Hoffmann in the same day, but an afternoon thunderstorm forced me to abandon my goal. Hoffmann is the exact center of the park and has pretty stunning 360 views. On the day we climb the peak, despite the forecast of sunny and clear, the view to the east is covered in clouds. Rising cumulus clouds, threatening a storm, have enveloped Half Dome and Mt. Clark.
It’s still a beautiful day, however, and our missing the view is more than compensated for by our meeting various wildlife on our descent. Near the summit, we watch a hiker tussle with a frisky marmot over an unattended fanny pack.. In a small meadow we observe a grouse and her six fledglings, and Shad vows to finally buy a zoom lens so the wildlife we see actually appears as something other than a vague dot in his photos.
And near the end of the trail a young buck dashes by us. Perhaps he’s on his way to some deer errand, or maybe he’s just enjoying being able to run uphill effortlessly, a feat I have not yet mastered.