The Four Mile Trail Time Trial

On October 15, 2008, in Running, by Meghan

A few of of my Yellowstone National Park friends have been lucky enough to have also worked in Yosemite National Park; thus, they are familiar with the Four Mile Trail. Before I left Yellowstone, one of them bet me a six-pack of beer that I couldn’t run the entire climb of the Four Mile Trail. With no hesitation, I shook on that bet, even though I knew nothing about the trail (I later learned that the Four Mile Trail is a 4.6 mile trail that climbs 3214 feet from Yosemite Valley to a lookout called Glacier Point.).

Several days ago, I set out to win the beer. I was a little hesitant to do this run, simply because I don’t consider myself very fit right now. However, after a decent run up Half Dome the previous week, I thought that, while I might climb slowly, I could at least win the bet and run every step to Glacier Point.

The climb was so easy! In 1:09, I arrived smiling to Glacier Point, greeted by the cheers of a German couple that had apparently been watching me climb.

As I was climbing, I pondered the idea of making the Four Mile Trail a climbing time trial. I know that I was running conservatively, worried about growing tired in my un-fit state, and because I didn’t know what lay ahead on the trail. I was also carrying a pack full of goodies to support a 20-mile run in the Sierra Nevada. Increased fitness, trail knowledge, and a lighter load would definitely allow me to run faster.

With that, the Four Mile Trail Time Trial idea was hatched. Alright, so I’m sure my idea is not unique, and I’m sure that one of the valley’s insane athletes has done this climb in like 38 minutes (After running up and down Half Dome and learning that the record was over an hour faster than my time, it became abundantly clear that the athletes here are so freaking amazing.), but all of that is fine. My new goal is to someday get under 1 hour for the climb up Four Mile Trail.

I did complete my 20-mile run that day, but I had to modify my route back into the low country because I was unprepared for changing weather. A storm front moved in as I was headed uphill to Glacier Point and the temperature fell quickly to below freezing. I certainly learned my lesson about weather in the Sierras! Finally, please enjoy a few photos from this run.

Half Dome stands its persistent guard over Yosemite National Parks.

This is the view of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point. I have only this picture from the top because I was so cold that my fingers could hardly work the camera. The cabled route to the top of Half Dome (where I was last week) is on the opposite side of the mountain.

The Valley Floor Loop trail, on Yosemite Valley's west side, was much more docile, climate-wise.

Once I returned to the relative mildness of the valley floor, I set out to explore the low-lying trails around Bridalveil Falls and Inspiration Point, to the west of the Four Mile Trail. Here’s a photo of the trail (It’s a historic roadbed, actually, with some remnant pieces of pavement here and there.) rolling up from the base of Bridalveil Falls towards Inspiration Point. There was bear poop everywhere on this trail, but no bears.

A self portrait from Inspiration Point, above Yosemite Valley's west side

El Capitan is the prominent mountain above my head, and Half Dome is several miles in the background. There was a weird deer up there that kept following me around. Sadly, it was clear that she had been fed by previous visitors and she was expecting handouts from me, too.

12 Responses to “The Four Mile Trail Time Trial”

  1. saschasdad says:

    Awesome – I love the little time trials that we all have on our training grounds. I fully expect you to blow the 60 min. barrier away on your next time up. In fact, anything over 60 is unacceptable!

    I’m glad you’re getting out, playing, and enjoy Yosemite, Meghan. Even though you’re sporting a lame fake smile in your self portrait, your blog entry makes it clear that you’re having fun.

    Tuva Tuesday felt kinda weird without chatting.

  2. JeffO says:

    Only half a dome? I’d get my money back, if I was you!

    I’ll bet you a 6-pack, you can run that trail in 45 minutes before the end of the year.

  3. Beth says:

    You’ll be under that hour in no time…and challenging the 38 min record! 😉 Your new home seems so amazing!

  4. Doug and Maria says:

    It’s great to have you writing again. I was missing my fix of beautiful places and great stories.

  5. Danni says:

    You are now one of the amazing local athletes silly! I love your idea. I should come out and run your time trial — you will be hours ahead!

  6. Leslie's Keith says:

    Give me a 30 minute head start…then you and Les can ‘chase the rabbit’ up the hill…there are worse things than being hunted down and passed by you two!


  7. Tom says:

    you can do it under an hour, no problem!! how about some pictures of bear droppings. just want to compare what we have in CT

  8. JeffO says:

    Oh yeah – like Tom says – POP! Pictures Of Poop!

    But seriously, do bears hibernate in warmer climates?
    Or do they only do it in really cold places?

  9. Blog My says:

    There was a weird deer up there that kept following me around. Sadly, it was clear that she had been fed by previous visitors and she was expecting handouts from me, too.

    OOOPS was I not suppose to do that 🙁 damn Deer had me at Hello!!

  10. Journey to a Centum says:

    I think you need a side bar listing your times on Four Mile Trail.

    Don’t worry about what others have done. Just crank it up that trail!

    I’d bet you a beer but there’s too much government control. I’ll stick to Credit Default Swaps:D

  11. Backofpack says:

    Glad to hear you are out and about and running again!

  12. Sunshine Girl says:

    Yeeeeah! Megs is back in the saddle!

    And “Unfit” my Ass! Maybe “out of sorts”…but certainly not, “unfit”!! It is funny how we perceive ourselves after a little break in our routine, yes?!?]

    Enjoy the company this weekend and have fun!


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