Hetch Hetchy and Sugar Pines

May 22, 2015 – Whenever we’re on vacation we like to get up early for breakfast.  It helps us beat the crowds, and makes the morning more relaxing for us.  Breakfast today consisted of coffee and ham and cheese omelets, with toast and potatoes.  The food was good, and the views of the valley in the morning were even better – even with the fog, which made everything rather peaceful.

It was wet and foggy in the valley when we woke up.
It was wet and foggy in the valley when we woke up.

The forecast for the trip was fog and rain most of the days, so we were prepared with rain gear.  Fortunately we lucked out and only had a bit of rain one day (though not fortunately for the water table, which was in desperate need of precipitation). Up first was Merced Grove.  We enjoy this relatively quiet trail, and this time made it all the way to the little cabin within the very tall grove of trees.  It looks like you can actually rent the cabin.

We passed through Camp Mather on the way to Hetch Hetchy.
We passed through Camp Mather on the way to Hetch Hetchy.

Our next stop was Hetch Hetchy.  We enjoy this quiet part of the park, with beautiful valley views (akin to a mini Yosemite Valley), complete with its own version of the Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan. Before our hike we grabbed breakfast burritos from a camp store, along with juice and banana chips.  These burritos were huge – eggs, bacon, cheese, potatoes – and very good.  We’d never tried them before, but I have a feeling they’ll be our new go-to spot for lunch whenever we head to Hetch Hetchy.

You can gain some elevation on the trail. Or a lot of elevation of you go further.
You can gain some elevation on the trail. Or a lot of elevation of you go further.

After lunch we rolled ourselves across the dam and through the slightly-flooded tunnel.  We got about a mile into the hike towards the falls when the trail got washed out.  Not wanting to wade through the water, we turned around and headed back up the trail.  Even without making it all the way, the hike was still a nice stroll with views across the water and lots of wildflowers.

We saw quite a few White-Headed Woodpeckers on the trip.
We saw quite a few White-Headed Woodpeckers on the trip.

On the way back into the park we spotted a rather tame woodpecker.  She hopped around in the trees. Before heading into the Valley we decided to stop at a trail that followed an old sugar pine logging road.  The trail was wide, fairly level, and covered with pine needles.  We were the only hikers on it, and might have been for some time as evidenced by the fallen trees that eventually blocked the trail.

Sugar Pines produce huge pine cones.
Sugar Pines produce huge pine cones.

By dinner time it had started to drizzle, so we got pizza at the Pizza Deck.  The food was good, service was quick, and the pepperoni was spicy. 🙂 After dinner we did a round 2 of walking to the Falls.  We tried to go in the dark last night, but couldn’t find the trail (or see the Falls).  Today was a bit earlier and clearer, and the bit of mist kept most other people away.  We also found where John Muir had a cabin and a sawmill when he worked in the area.

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