Getting a partner from work, I drove both of us early Saturday morning south on U.S. 99. We dined for breakfast at a spot by El Portal, CA, with a window view of the cascading Merced River right by our table. Arriving to Badger Pass ski area, we got our wilderness permit, and started our ski backpack east along the snowbound Glacier Point Road.

The initial glide downhill runs to Bridalveil Creek, and then it is a plod to Clark Range View, about 5 or 6 miles along. We chose to ascend Sentinel Dome for crisp, clear views, and then had a nice, short, ski run down, back to the highway.

I had a tent, so set it up at a fine viewpoint at Glacier Point. I had to dig out the door to the outhouse, to be able to use it. My partner chose to camp inside the geology kiosk, along with another winter camper. We made dinner, and it began to get cold. My partner popped into his sleeping bag at 4 p.m., and didn't come out till 8 a.m. the next morning. I lounged about for views and photos, enjoying the view and sunset. I slept to about 3 a.m., when I got up for night photography. The star field was dazzling! Going back to sleep, I noticed my partner, who was having a sleepless, miserable time. Too cold for him. I offered to boil up some hot soup, and he may have refused.

The morning dawned beautifully, and a bluebird flitted about our campsite. I captured the views, and appreciated the winter beauty, free for all to see, given the ski ability and gear.

We had to get back out. Packing up, we shortly set out to ski back along the highway, and to return to my car. Having carried in good gear, I was weighted down a bit more than my partner, who had recovered from this night, and sped on ahead. Impact from other users was apparent along the ski trail, causing me to remark that it was like an open sewer. This all goes over Bridalveil Falls.

Back to the parking area, it took us some five hours each way, with backpacks. Motoring down to the Valley, I did some more photography before going home.

The next year, I was to put this trip into our Club schedule, and some other skiers chose to attend. Because they said they were too poor to afford good winter bags, some of them really suffered. My partner went by chill factor and comfort charts, claiming he'd stay warm enough. He had been crying, regretting that he had come along, even moaning that he could be at home, enjoying a "candlelight dinner" with his family. Each to their own. He claimed to be the Club "expert," always bragging that anything I could do, he could do. Wrong. For one, I enjoyed this trip. He certainly did not!

It is ten miles each way out to the point, and signs then warned of a ten hour day, minimum. Inexperienced tourers can get into bad trouble. Now, they have a track setter that grooms the ski trail, and trail reports are given on the Net, though sometimes delayed. I had the thought to do this ski, 3X, in a day, but solo and with uncertain road access, now, I may never get to do this again.