Perfect weather was predicted and delivered and we’ve earned our first gin and tonic of the vacation. Clear and in the mid-sixties, we thumbed a ride to the Weeping Pool shuttle stop and, looking up, took about 20 seconds to select the longer hike to Observation Point, a mere 2,150 ft. vertical ascent over 4 miles. But hey, that’s no more than hiking up from the lodge to the Mt. Ashland…twice.. We began at around 10:30 and were still in morning shadows as the sun hadn’t appeared in the east. After about 2 ½ hours, we reached the observation point with its magnificent panorama of the entire valley beneath us. The first thing I heard was another hiker’s cell phone. Such is life, even in the slow lane.
Shortly after we arrived, a couple families arrived with a whole pack of children—infants in backpacks, 5-6 year-olds afoot. Seeing them enjoying the view put the whole hike in perspective; it was child’s play. One of the dads ceremoniously held up a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale he’d ported up for the occasion, while we lunched on a Sooney’s special: o’doerves of pistachio nuts, followed by several fillets of sardines on super-healthy crackers, garnished with a sharp cheddar and followed by a decadent white-chocolate/peanut butter cookie and fruit dujour. From our lookout, we focused our binoculars on hikers across the valley atop Angel’s Landing. It’s not nearly as high (elevation wise), but the final ascent is supported by chain banisters that makes the narrow ridge manageable. We learned that the “Hidden Canyon” hike, also originating at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop, is another chain-assisted ascent. Maybe another time.
The 5-6 hours we spent on the Observation Point trail was beyond my wildest expectations and, combined with the “best” bike ride ever a couple days earlier, this hike is right up there among my favorites.
Wildlife viewed during this leg of our trip include:
grey/brown darkeyed juncos ?
yellow shouldered warbler?
golden winged warbler?
ruby crowned kinglet