By Michael Lanza

One the final morning of a three-day, 65-mile hike deep into the southeast corner of Yosemite National Park, three friends and I started hiking shortly after first light, to take advantage of cool morning temperatures and enjoy some morning light on the mountains. Climbing through switchbacks hundreds of feet up a steep granite wall of the canyon carved by the Lyell Fork of the Merced River, we reached this high overlook just as the rising sun set fire to distant, jagged peaks around Red Peak Pass, which we had crossed the day before.

I took this shot of my friend, Mark Fenton, standing on a ledge with a sweeping overlook. We had camped the night before on a massive slab of rock, bigger than my back yard, around which parted the waters of the Lyell Fork. We were hiking a route south of Tuolumne Meadows, exploring one of the more-remote corners of Yosemite—an area of the park that, even after several visits, I had still not visited. From Tenaya Lake, we passed over Clouds Rest and Half Dome, paralleled Illilouette Creek, wandered past the Ottoway Lakes and over Red Peak Pass in the Clark Range, crossed a quiet plateau high above the Merced River, walked up the Lewis Creek Valley and over Vogelsang Pass, and finally descended to Tuolumne.

I’ll post a feature-length story with lots of photos from this trip later at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, see all of my stories about Yosemite, including my story about dayhiking to Yosemite Valley’s world-famous waterfalls and my tips on hiking Half Dome, as well as my “10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit,” and all of my stories about backpacking and national park adventures at The Big Outside.

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