Snow Creek - an excellent one night backpacking destination
and a print giveaway
This is the view from Snow Creek campsite. I am giving away this print free for one of you, details at the end, but for now, let us talk about the hike.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my hike to the John Muir Trail was canceled due to Hurricane Hillary. As I mentioned before, I had a permit to hike to North Dome for Memorial Day, and that was canceled because Tioga Road did not open until July this year.
We were looking for a hike that was overnight since we had to return before the storm moved in. Pika fire had shut down all the trails in the area, but fortunately, the fire was completely put down last week and the trails opened up. We got an overnight permit for North Dome.
Unfortunately, Pika fire has burned 850 acres of high ground and camping is forbidden in the area for the foreseeable future. The park ranger suggested either hiking to Indian Canyon or to Snow Creek. Both Lehamite Creek and Snow Creek are flowing this year, so both are good options. We chose Snow Creek since it was closer to Half Dome.
The hike is downhill going in, from Porcupine Creek towards the valley.
The trail is shaded almost the entire way and lovely walk through the woods.
About 2 miles (Apple watch miles, not trail miles), there is a fork in the trail and you have to left towards Mirror Lake. That is the hard left in the map above.
There are many camping sites as you near the switchbacks, but just before you reach the switchbacks, you get this open area with a great view of Half Dome.
I deliberated about the campsite a lot given the thunderstorms were rolling in later in the day. There were trees burned down by a lightning close by and young trees in its place. There were safe spots with young trees and shade, but the view was not great. The photographers in the group (including me) won, and we ended up pitching tents in the wide open space here. A decision, I think was not very wise, when I look back now.
After a relaxing afternoon with clouds rolling in, the sky opened up just enough at sunset to give us a spectacular sunset - Instagram reel of the sunset.
The location also had one of the best views of Clouds Rest I have seen. That is Clouds Rest at sunset. We were also able to see hikers going up and down the cables on Half Dome as well.
However, the real fun was just after sunset, when the thunder and lightning started. The closest lightning was 7 Mississippi away, and that was not a good feeling. We had Internet connection at the campsite, so we were monitoring the weather closely. We had two Tarptent Double Rainbow Li and one Gossamer Two. They all stood the strong winds that picked up, although one of the stakes on the Two came out and had to be restaked. However, I did not like the choice of our campsite. Being in an open space such as that is great for photography, but not for safety. NOAA’s instructions on campsites explicitly says to not do that.
The thunder abated in an hour and it rained rest of the night, but it was uneventful. Storms were coming in early the next morning, so we left at 7am and hiked back. It rained for a couple of miles and we had to hike in our rain gear, but it was manageable.
The return hike is uphill and particularly nasty for the last mile. Plenty of wildflowers give you company along the way - Instagram reel.
Overall, all our gear held and did their job. I would do better with campsite selection the next time.
I started taking my photography a bit seriously this Summer. I launched my website as a self-service solution and I will be doing a few art shows this Fall.
I have a print of that Half Dome sunset at the top of this page to giveaway exclusively for the readers of NorcalHiker. I know some of you have already subscribed to the newsletter in my photography website, but if you are interested in this photograph, please signup again. It does not send multiple emails, but lets me know that you are interested in this giveaway.
I will randomly pick one email next Monday night and announce the winner here on Tuesday. If you live in the US, my printer, BayPhoto will ship it directly to you. If you live overseas, I have to find a printer in your country and sort it out, but I will.
Thanks for being great readers of this newsletter. It is a lot of fun to write this and I am super happy with the Half Dome sunset photograph and I can’t wait to see it at one of your homes.