September saw me manage to get 4 weeks off work and head out to the USA for a tour up the west coast to Seattle and back down again through the middle of the country. After 2 days up the coast we headed inland to Yosemite. I had been here 2 years before and it was just as spectacular. Last time was in April and there was ice on the ground making the mist trail treacherous. This time it was over 30 degrees C and for this pale skinned English boy it may of been too much!
The Panorama Trail was an 8.5 Mile hike from Glacier Point down to the valley bottom at Happy Isles Bridge. With 375m of uphill and 1325m of downhill it put a lot of strain on my (as usual) untrained legs. The trail starts with a nice downhill section for 2.2 miles to Illilouette Creek and things were going well for the group. The next 2 miles was a 200m climb which I have to say was knackering! Panorama Point does what it suggests and the view are mind blowing, with half dome towering over all the Valley.
The trail breaks out on to the idyllic but deadly Nevada falls, a couple had gone over the edge months before, their bodies never found. The water was high due to the unusually heavy snows and long melt season. From this point it was mostly downhill, and in my mind that usually means the easy bit...
Unfortunately with 3 litres of water already drunk and the 2 bottles empty the heat was still taking its toil and the beautiful walk down from Nevada falls turned it to a trudge and a slog. I had a touch of heat stroke (obvious by the fact I was feeling cold!) combined with what seemed like a relentless number of steps. All in all the last 3 miles were horrible! The only satisfaction was that most of the group of 12 couldn't walk the next day! Those steps downhill were a killer on the thighs! Today mostly fuelled by Walmart m&m trail mix and Ibuprofen.
(And yes I did wear a hat!)