Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of the Western United States

Wandering Above The Trees
A Hike to Gaylor Lake

Gaylor Lake

This is an excellent summer hike which starts at 9,945 feet of elevation at the Tioga Entrance to Yosemite. The first part of the rocky trail is quite steep and it takes you quickly up through a forest of lodgepole pine over ten thousand feet into the Yosemite high country above tree line. Oxygen is harder to come by at this altitude and so it is not surprising that you huff and puff a bit more and stop more frequently to catch your breath - particularly if you are not yet accustomed to the altitude.

Gaylor Lake

Our trail crested on a treeless, rocky ridge and we were treated to a wonderful view back down into Dana Meadows on the one side and down into Middle Gaylor Lake in front of us. High peaks surrounded us and patches of snow could be seen on their flanks. Gaylor Peak in front of us was made up of Yosemite's usual gray/white granite while our ridge line was composed of colorful red metamorphic rock - very unusual in the park. There were wild flowers everywhere.

Our trail went down off of the ridge as steeply as it had climbed up and if anything it was even more rocky. As we dropped down nearer and nearer to the lake we met with nasty swarms of very small, very active, and very malicious mosquitos. Fortunately we were both dressed in long sleeve shirts and full length trousers. Traveling at top speed we skirted the end of the lake and escaped the voracious winged predators as a strong and very welcome breeze came up.

Gaylor Lake
Gaylor Lake

Gaylor Lake lies in a large bolder sprinkled meadow. We walked out into the meadow, found a suitable slab of white granite well located in the pleasant breeze, and feasted on the granola, strawberries, blueberries and honey that we had brought along with us. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool, and the only sounds that we could hear were the birds calling to one another. We were completely alone in an absolutely beautiful place and were quite literally on top of the world in more ways than one.

Gaylor Lake
Gaylor Lake

Following the strawberry break we wandered aimlessly in our world for hours - not following any trail or path but rather walking beside a small creek or crossing a meadow or weaving through a forest of pine or climbing over a pile of boulders or circling one or another small pond. A beautiful Clark's Nutcracker entertained us for a while at a lake and a curious marmot provided a bit of humor just by being there alongside the trail. A sleek, long tailed weasel scampered by us at one point carrying a fish to his burrow. Deer, cat and bear sign were plentiful.

Gaylor Lake
Gaylor Lake

We kept general tabs on our location vis-a-vis Gaylor Peak and the ridge line that hosted our trail back to the car but made no effort to go anywhere in particular. The bands of forest that separated the meadows were white bark pine and their bright red "flowers" were in bloom.

The wild flowers were blue and yellow and red; fragrant wild onions were about to bloom; the grasses were green and lush; cool, clear water was everywhere; and the fish were plentiful in the lakes and creeks. Idyllic was the word that came to mind.

Gaylor Lake

Late in the afternoon we finally started back to Gaylor Lake and took the trail back over the ridge to the trailhead. Two miles of hiking, six or seven miles of wandering, and a strawberry/blueberry feast in the high country. An absolutely great day.

More pictures from this hike...
Abecedarius, 7/04


Table of Contents
Alaska Home | Arizona Home | California Home | Colorado Home | Hawaii Home | Nevada Home
New Mexico Home | Oregon Home | Utah Home | Western History Notes | Biographical Notes
Wandering Lizard Home
Cristalen believes all information to be correct
but assumes no legal responsibility for it's accuracy
Copyright by Cristalen © 1997 through © 2009. All Rights Reserved
This web site constructed and maintained by Cristalen
About the Photography | What's New | Who What Why | Navigation Tips | List Your Property | Contact Us