“How did you get there?” – the ranger asked.
I walked up the hill and saw another,
Still yet somewhat taller.
I walked up the next and saw one more,
Figured there’d be views galore.
Cannot say the hiking was technical,
Though uphills were quite delectable.
“Well then, you should lead a group today” – the ranger felt the need to say.
No one else wanted to go, but after my first time there I already wanted to return – immediately with camera and phone. With views like those I saw, I couldn’t not get a shot, and given the vantage, I figured there’d be cell coverage.
In Yosemite, the hike to Devil’s Dance Floor from Tamarack Flat is a 30-minute trail-less adventure, mostly crossing forest littered with fallen trees and walking up steep slopes of high-friction granite, typical to the Tuolomne Meadows area.
While staying in the campsite after my climbing friends departed from our Yosemite climbing adventure, I got there wandering randomly uphill in search of a view, but what I found was so amazing that I knew immediately I needed to take photos here. So I jogged back to camp and prepared for a second trip: camera, phone, cliff bar and puffy.
By the time I walked back, it was pitch dark. Moving silently over a foot-ball field of granite in the dark vastness of Yosemite was intimidating. Hiking at night often is, especially within bear habitat.
I repeated my excursion the next day, in need of reception and better photos with a tripod. In the absence of a trail, I never walked the same path twice. No matter how you walk around it, the Devil’s Dance Floor is at the top of a dome that requires some seriously steep walking to get on top of it.
On my way back from this last trip to such a trippy place, I found myself once again worried to hike off trail alone in the dark. I kept hearing echoes of my sounds bouncing off the granite walls I passed by. Eventually though I knew that the last sound had not come from me. I turned suddenly and about 20 yards to my left I saw the distinct two dots of light only a nocturnal animal’s eyes can return. Then I saw more pairs of eyes, all staring at the loud, bright human who had stepped out bounds without company.
“Stay there!” I shouted in fear, picking up a staff of wood.
I figure they were simply dear, perhaps coyotes, as there are no serious pack predators in California.
I am definitely keeping this one high on my list of secret gems.