Today’s Guest blog is from Scott Gerhman, Executive Director of Lasting Adventures, Inc., a non-profit guide service in Groveland.
“On Tuesday, September 20th, I decided to summit Mt. Dana, a peak I had been admiring and pointing out for years. Mount Dana tops out at an elevation of 13, 061 feet making it the second highest mountain in Yosemite National Park (after Mount Lyell). Mount Dana is on the eastern edge of Yosemite immediately south of the northeast entrance to Yosemite on the Tioga Road. I began my hike at an elevation of 9,943 feet. The trail begins in the corner of the “authorized parking only” lot immediately on the south side of the entrance station. This trail rises over 3,000 feet in approximately three exposed miles.
The beginning is well marked and groomed yet also quite steep. There are a few “false summits” so you need to follow cairns to find your way. You are well above tree line.
Reaching the summit was simply amazing. I had heard of the great views of Mono Lake from the top, but words cannot explain the joy, excitement and awe I experienced once I saw this amazing 360 degree view. There was a small American flag protruding from the rocks at the summit that signified our accomplishment. I felt as if I was on top of the world as I looked down upon canyons and lakes that I normally travel in the Yosemite High Country.
Because of the incoming clouds and thunder, our stay on the summit was limited. It was now approximately 3pm. We quickly took some pictures then descended on the trail that was much more easily visible now that we were going down. As we descended we must have passed another10 people on their way up. We warned them of the clouds (which were clearly visible and loud), but most hikers chose to continue. We made it down in less than an hour and decided to celebrate our accomplishment with an early dinner at the Whoa Nelly Deli in the MobilMart in Lee Vining.
Most books and information on Mount Dana suggest giving yourself anywhere between 3-12 hours to do this hike depending on many factors such as acclimatization, weather, and one’s personal fitness level. You can easily do this trip in 4-6 hours. I would also suggest you begin in the morning hours so you don’t have to deal with the chance of the afternoon thunderstorms.”
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” R.I.P. Steve Jobs
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com