Life is full of surprises

Mountain Secrets

Tony KrizanMarch 27, 2013 

A few days ago I was having coffee with my hiking partner Fred Cochran. Our meeting was to discuss a future hike in Yosemite that sometimes is forgotten. Personally I have never heard of Turtleback Dome until an article written by author Sharon Giacomazzi which appeared in the California Explorer Magazine. Her comment was and I quote: "This is a two-bit walk with a million dollar payoff. This hike will have to be researched?

With only a short three-quarter mile trek and a mere 1,600 feet above the valley floor, I estimate an elevation gain of only 150 feet from the locked gate. From this location there are views of Half Dome, Quarter Domes, Sentinel Dome, El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil and Tamarack Creek waterfalls. One can't overlook the distant views of the Merced River and the paved roads that maneuver their way along the valley floor."

The article also states that locating this locked gated road can be difficult. But a reliable source, Fred Cochran sent me an email which stated; while driving on Highway 41 into the valley look for a small pull-out on the right about one mile before the tunnel entrance. Or look for a post marker on the left which reads "W3" next to a low profile brick wall. Park your vehicle at this location and cross to the opposite side (south) of Highway 41 until reaching the locked gate. Follow this gated road to the summit of Turtleback Dome.

Now why am I writing about an article about a trail I haven't hiked? Let's go back to my original meeting with Fred when we were discussing this trek. Plans were to drive into Yosemite early Sunday morning and check out this new adventure.

A previous personal commitment on my behalf forced me to cancel. The trek was not a loss for Fred. His wife Peggy and fellow hiker Clem Bingham completed his group for the Sunday morning adventure.

I never gave this trek a second thought until my phone rang around noon on Sunday. Fred, Peggy and Clem called me from Turtleback Dome and described in detail what a wonderful hike I missed. Now everyone knows how much I enjoy hiking especially a trek I've never experienced. Seriously I felt privileged someone called me from a mountain summit in Yosemite.

But later that afternoon I was sent an email that with a photo of the three of them to tease me, with Peggy holding a sign which read "Hi Tony." So I'm sharing this experience with you, my readers.

Now I'm committed and Tuesday morning I'm driving to Yosemite and I'm personally hiking to Turtleback Dome and return the favor and drop a call to all three from the Dome.

Isn't it great to have friends.

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