The change in the way permits were issued this year affected me, just as it did hundreds of other hikers. Many of us have had to consider alternatives. Some have decided to begin in Tuolumne Meadow. (This is a popular option since “walk-up” permits to pass over Donohue Pass are still available from that Wilderness Center, unlike in the valley.) Others have decided to give a northbound route a try. Perhaps most imaginative are those who are going to enter the wilderness at some mid-point, walk north to Yosemite Valley to exit the wilderness, re-enter the wilderness at the same, initial trailhead, and then walk south to Whitney Portal.
I decided to take a different route, literally.
My permit will allow me to enter at Glacier Point. I’ve started hikes there before, but never one that was destined to exit the park.
My route takes me up the Illilouette drainage all the way to the Merced Pass lakes. From there I’ll go past the Ottoway lakes and over Red Peak Pass. I’ll exit Yosemite at Isberg Pass and continue down past Sadler Lake, where I’m going to try something new – at least new on a JMT hike. The blue line on the map, above, shows the stretch where I intend to leave the trail and go cross country. It isn’t a long leg, and the terrain is pretty benign, but I’m really looking forward to leaving the trail and heading to Lost Lake where I intend to stay the night.
Once I return to the trail near Hemlock Crossing I’ll have a fairly straightforward walk to Red’s Meadow and the world’s greatest patty melt at the Mulehouse Cafe. From then on out it will be the standard JMT, all the way to the summit of Whitney.
Most of this route to Red’s Meadow is going to be unfamiliar to me, which is one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to it. I’m told that it goes through a burned area and that some parts of the trail are not as well maintained as the JMT. We’ll see.
Whatever I find I’ll report in October!
Good hiking, Ray