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Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

A group of friends from a Meet-Up group I’m in spent one night at May Lake specifically to photograph the evening and night sky.  My friend Michael and I drove up together.  Along the way we stopped at the Old Priest Grade Station Cafe for a late breakfast to help fuel our bodies for the hike to the Lake.   Michael and I split an Egg scramble skillet loaded with goodies, and a short stack of flapjacks.  The coffee was welcome and good, and the food delicious.   We talked with some folks who were traveling from Maine who were visiting Yosemite for the first time. They were pressed for time and wanted to know what they should see. I suggested Tunnel View as their “do not miss” place in the park. I wish I got their email to find what they saw and how  they liked the park. Hindsight is always better isn’t it. [sigh] What would you have suggested they see on very little time in the park?

We made good time from the Cafe to the May Lake turnoff and we found a great parking spot near the trail-head. While we were getting everything out of the car and ready to do the hike up  to May Lake we met a lovely family from San Francisco; Regina, and Jesse with whom we chatted about backpacking, hiking, and gear. They were having lunch and getting their gear ready for the hike up while their two little ones were having nap time.

We took our time hiking up to the lake enjoying the views and talking to passersby.  Regina, and Jesse with their two little ones caught up with us even. They each carried a child in their backpacks plus their camping gear! There wasn’t much further to go to reach the lake by this point.

It turned out we were first of the group to arrive, and there weren’t many backpackers at the lake so we had lots of choice spots to choose from to set up our tents.

Home Sweet Home…for the night

It was a nice flat space and moderately sheltered from the wind. It was breezy and got windy during the night I heard from Michael in the morning, but I slept through it. Michael set up behind me.

The view from my spot:

Once both Michael and I had our camps set up we did a little scouting; looking for possible sunrise and night sky locations. Here’s a look at Mount Hoffman and Hoffman Peak which rises above May Lake. The stats for May Lake are:

Elevation at trailhead:  8,710 feet (2,655 meters)
May Lake Elevation:  9,270 feet (2,825 meters)
Mt. Hoffmann Elevation:  10,845 feet (3,305 meters)

After the rest of the group arrived and set up their camps we headed up the May Lake trail to the granite plateaus to find a nice viewing location to shoot the sunset. Sunset was absolutely stunning (first photograph). The colors in the sky were so vivid,  and beautiful, it made the hike up with its steep and gnarly trail to that plateau, and beyond for further night photography, and the treacherous return trek down in the dark of night with head-lamps, and torches of course well worth it.

I have to give a huge “SHOUT OUT!” to Enrico who set up, and coordinated this Meet-up. Without him and the group I wouldn’t have gone, as I’m not brave enough to do this alone. Thank you Enrico for setting up another terrific backpacking adventure!  Here’s a photo of the group courtesy of Enrico.

  Left to Right- Tulasi, Milad, Wayne, Me, Michael, Sarita, and Enrico.

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