Fisher to Mama Bear, bring Baby Bear to Camp Half Dome

Karen and I, in our continuing adventure to hike all trail miles in Yosemite National Park, struck out on a two-day backpack along trails that we felt were unlikely to produce any adventure.  We were mistaken on that account.

Our trip began just after Olmsted Point and just before Tenaya Lake, at a trail crossing that connects May Lake with Tenaya Lake.  It is rarely used by people and so we’ve found it a convenient parking spot twice now.  The trail follows the highway until Olmsted Point, at which point it follows Tenaya Gorge down for a mile before turning north again and rising over a ridge then dropping into Snow Creek.  This was approx. 7 miles.

What we found, to our pleasure, is that you can’t find an ugly part of Yosemite.  We were treated with views of Clouds Rest and Half Dome for well over half the hike in.  In fact, it was some of our closest views of Clouds Rest.  The textured and sculpted valley walls were incredible.

We selected a camp site out on the end of a peninsula of rock just where Snow Creek turns into Snow Creek Falls and tumbles into the Valley some 1,500 feet below.  Directly across from our camp was Half Dome.  It was as if we could reach out and touch it.


We had been approached by a ranger mid-afternoon and through talking with him about the trails he has hiked this season found out that the resident bear was headed back our direction… with a cub in tow.

The night passed without incident, although it was one of the windiest nights we have experienced in Yosemite.

Packing up the next morning, we hit the trail just after 9 o’clock, and walked back up Snow Creek towards May Lake.  It wasn’t more than 15 minutes out of camp when we spotted the bear, and her TWO cubs.  Adorable and tumbly, we watched the three bears for several minutes as they decided to walk away from us and the trail.  So we continued.

Approximately 6.4 miles later, and roughly 2,400 vertical feet higher, we spotted a very rare creature for Yosemite; we saw either an endangered Pacific Fisher (member of the weasel family) or American Marten scampering off having just made a kill of a ground squirrel.  It was a momentary sighting and I was unable to get my camera started before it was too far into the brush.  Still, it was a neat sight to see.

The hike wrapped up uneventfully, but with lots of great scenery.  Here are some photos.


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