Yosemite Unseen II: Fern Ledge
I will first of all refer you to Tom’s excellent description of Fern Ledge. While you are there, be sure to check the site for other places to explore in Yosemite. I had no difficulty finding the route using Tom’s notes, but since sometimes having an alternative viewpoint can be useful, I’ll add a few comments, as well as two pictures of the route. I am also providing an unedited KMZ file. It is missing the Fern Ledge proper (the Trackstick GPS chip easily looses the signal), but there are still some useful waypoints. Click here to view in Google Earth
View of the route from the NPS stables
The most challenging part for us was getting lost … in the “concrete jungle” of Yosemite Village. The volunteer lady sitting in front of the visitor center had no idea of where the NPS stables are, nor had she ever heard of Fern Ledge. However, once we asked a ranger, she promptly pointed us to the NPS stables. From the visitor center, continue past the Museum, then make a right at the first main road. You will arrive at an area with lots of maintenance buildings, and few trees. From the stables, which are at the edge of the forest, the starting talus slope will be obvious.
The easiest way to find the talus slope is to start at the NPS stables, however, as can be seen in the image below, there is only one such slope in the area, so you can also get there and find it by hiking the trail between Yosemite Falls and Yosemite village, which will cross the base of that talus slope.
View of the route from Glacier Point
On that trip, I went with a friend from college who was visiting Yosemite for the first time, but wanted to avoid the crowds. Since I was mostly interested in a back-lit photograph of Upper Yosemite Falls, we started at about 12.30 after a brunch at the Yosemite Lodge. We reached Fern Ledge around 3.00, which was a good timing for that image. However, in retrospect, I think it would have been interesting to start earlier to have more time to linger at the lush suspended meadows above Sunnyside Bench, and arrive in the morning to also see the rainbow in the mist.
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