Quite glorious and yet mysterious
As part of the follow-up on my 31-day John Muir Trail (JMT, #JMT2018) thru hike journey, I am going to post many photos throughout the remaining of the month of September and the month of October (till I finish the JMT timelapse). I must say that choosing which photos to edit among 2TB of photos, and it is quite time consuming, and yet who is complaining? LOL
I’ve decided to include brief info, such as what day and where each photo was taken. It’ll help those of you keep track of the JMT journey southbound (aka SoBo) visually in case you’d like to thru-hike it one day.
If you were following the news closely, the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite National Park was burning a lot of acres of wilderness throughout the park and started threatening the closure of the park due to the smoke around the time when we were getting ready for the trip. It had already led to the closure of a few roads in the park and eventually forced the park to close the Yosemite Valley, followed by the mandatory evacuation of not only the visitors but also all the national park personnels, including the park rangers, leading up to the week when we were to start our thru-hike.
To make the long story short, in spite of all the hurdles that we had to jump through, my JMT buddy Henry @el_t0r0_l0c0 (and his son) and I were able to arrive in Tuolumne Meadows. By this time, starting from the Happy Isles was simply out of the question (due to the evacuation). Unless we went 30 miles down into the valley and came back although the idea didn’t occur to us then. The meadows and the Lyell Canyon were filled with a thick plume of smoke from the aforementioned fire for most of the first day. (Did I say that ashes were falling in Tuolumne Meadows?)
After a long day (about 8 hours) of hiking with a lot of elevation gain (1,700 plus feet), we arrived at the campsite by the first lake (there are two lakes) below Donohue Pass. Because it was getting late, we decided to camp here (as opposed to our initial plan to camp at the second lake). We learned that this lake turned out to be quite popular.
I was able to set up my cameras near the outlet of the lake where I believed I was looking at Mt. Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park (13,120 feet), before the sun started casting sunset glow on them. And the glow cast on this particular mountain was quite glorious and yet mysterious at the same time, as it was the farthest point that my eyes could see. The Lyell Glacier understandably sunk in the shadows of the ridgeline of Mt. Mclure.
In spite of the smoke that dominated the sky pretty much throughout the day, this side of Lyell Canyon was less heavily affected. Of course, what we didn’t know then was that the other side of Donohue Pass was quite hazy due to the smoke blowing up from south. And, yes, it was caused by another fire.