“The Soul becomes dyed with the colors of its thoughts.” ~Marcus Aurelius

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.

Alpine Glow on Cathedral Peaks and Echo Peaks

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


Myself and 7 other members of a Meet-up group I’m in backpacked to Upper Cathedral Lake in Yosemite Wilderness. for an overnight photography adventure.  It’s a 3.5 mile hike starting at 8500 ft, and topping out at 9500ft. I took my Garmin for the stats, but haven’t uploaded it yet.
My legs are dead tired after hauling my body plus 20+ pound pack up there, but it was so worth it!
It’s gorgeous up here. We lucked out it was too cool for mosquitoes. I didn’t get eaten alive at all. There were only a few other campers up here making it really enjoyable considering it was a major holiday week-end in the United States, and the valley was packed with people.

 

After picking a site to set up our base camp we set up our tents then grabbed our camera equipment  and trekked over to the south side of the lake to shoot the sunset. We didn’t get any color in the sky as it stayed flat all afternoon and evening, but the Alpine Glow on the mountain peaks was lovely.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24mm @f9| 1/20s| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Tripod| 5 frame panorama