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Hiking in Yosemite

The Trail to Mount Hoffman - on the easy

At 10,850 feet, visitors can see Mount Hoffman easily, but for the occasional or novice hiker the trail to Mount Hoffman can be forbidding. The glacial advances over the last 1.5 million years buried this area under ice several times. The last of the retreating glaciers, about 11,000 years ago, finished the job of carving the spectacular spires and domes in Yosemite National Park. It is well known; the panorama view of Hoffman showed all the spender of these magnificent peaks.

For a Southern California "flatlander" attempting to backpack to its summit it's a seemingly impossible feat. I had read article after article on the altitude problems many people experience, "three hours of taking 100 steps then needing to pause" just to go a mile or two, up its slope. It's no wonder that a relative few make it to the top. There had to be another way.

Our guide and planner, Steve Yates had a better idea. Use a base camp that was easy to get to and let the flatlanders get use to the altitude before doing the ascent. He chose May Lake. As the name implies, May Lake camp is located next to a mountain lake at an elevation of 9270 feet and offers fishing and swimming. It is within one mile of the parking lot at Hwy 120-east (Tioga Pass Road). This way Mount Hoffman could be done with daypacks instead. The whole trip could be done in a weekend and Starting in Mid July, a group of us flatlanders began our trip to May Lake. The hike was, just a mile,allowing us to make multiple trips to the cars to get additional supplies. May Lake was a surprise - lots of room to camp and facilities too. Delaware North, the Yosemite concessionaire has a store and 8 cabins for those that don't want to camp on the ground.

Hoffmann as a day hike without a full pack is the way to go. It was such a rock pile, a brutal workout with a great payoff. We carried jackets which came in handy when we encountered some hail alone the hike as well as a lunch. The views did not disappoint! Looking down on Half Dome in Yosemite Valley and down at the mountain called Cloud's Rest, Hoffman gives you a panorama of what Yosemite has to offer. Spectacular!

With May Lake as a base, the hike is easy too.

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