Hiking 2:00:00  20.54 km (5:51 / km) +1678m 4:09 / km
shoes: 201304 Asics Gel Cumulus 13
Expedition: Yosemite! I quite accidentally chose a fantastic time to visit the park: while it was cool in the evenings, the temperature during the day was as high as 15-20 C. There was very little snow and ice on the trails, and most importantly, there were far fewer people in the park than is typical during the summer.
I arrived at Yosemite and purchased a fantastic National Geographic: Trails Illustrated map of the park, then set up my campsite at Upper Pines. For my first day's hike, I set to ascend Sentinel Dome via the John Muir trail, which promised a scenic view of Half Dome. To make the hike more interesting, I ran the flatter parts of it.
The hike was magnificent; some day, I would like to through hike the John Muir Trail. It is my impression that there are two Yosemites: the touristy valley and the popular hikes in its immediate vicinity, and the grand landscape that starts about 10 km away from the frequented areas. I got brief tastes of that Eden, especially on the aptly named "Panorama Trail."
I arrived at the summit of Sentinel Dome about a half hour before sunset, and as it's accessible by a road, there was a troop of photographers packing some L-series heat on the summit taking a picture of the sunset vista. I hung out with them for a little while and grabbed a few shots with my ghetto 18-55 before hiking back down in the dark with my flashlight. While it is true that being out so late was unwise, I was adequately prepared, with a flashlight, matches, several extra layers of warm clothing, two candy bars, and about three liters of water. Still, in the future, it is much better to finish hikes during daylight hours, particularly when I am traveling alone. After the sun set, I was awestruck by the clear view of the heavens. There were so many stars, as the light pollution near Yosemite is mild even with the unnecessary lights in the valley. After descending to the bottom of the "4.6 mile trail," I ran back to my camp.