When Warren Storkman tells you "we did this in 12 hours when I was your age", it's a sure bet you're in for a long hike... but Jeff Fisher and I agreed to accompany him on a day hike from Happy Isle (Yosemite Valley) to Mount Florence anyway. We left at first light, with long strides and high hopes for a short day.
It's all trail past Merced Lake, but the last 3000' gain (out of over 9000' total for the trip) is second-class cross country travel. Warren turned back somewhere near where we left the trail, but still did a 30 mile day. Did I mention that he expected it to be 32-34 miles? Try 38.
Jeff and I summited around 5pm (11 hours up) gritting our teeth and swearing for the last hour or so. We were most worried about getting back to the trail by dark, and less worried about having to do a forced bivy with no gear, and (for me at least) even less worried about Jeff being late for a noon appointment back in the Bay Area the next day.
We collapsed somewhere near the outlet of Merced Lake, around midnight, and tried to sleep for a few hours. We froze, and moved on. We collapsed the second time at Twin Bridges just above Little Yosemite, and froze again. We made civilization (if you call Warren's cute little Kia Sportage civilization) around 8am, 26 hours after we started.
Yep, watch out for Warren!
Now, any takers for the Mt Clark day hike coming up in a few weeks? Gary Whitman and I still have room available, so contact me if you want something a bit easier (30-31 miles, 8000' gain) but still worth remembering. (If you've already signed up, we'll be contacting you this week.) This used to be Warren's birthday hike, but he tricked me into agreeing to lead it from time to time... but so far I've never equalled his alleged 12.5 hour time.