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Up the 4-Mile Trail with Mr. T

Mr. T and friend, Jonah, took to the trail this week ... the 4-Mile Trail. So how long is the 4-mile trail? If you guessed the obvious answer, you are a little bit off. It is actually 4.7 miles long with an elevation change of 3,200 feet extending from the Yosemite Valley floor to Glacier Point. It took us 3 hours to summit.

4-Mile Trail from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point
The 4.7-mile long 4-Mile Trail

It is pretty amazing to observe close-up the power of a glacier. It was John Muir who demonstrated that the amazing granite features of Yosemite National Park were cut by glaciers. He saw the evidence of the scaring (striations) or polishing on the granite walls, the pushed-up moraines, and the depositing of erratics (large rounded boulders) where the ice had dropped them.

While John Muir was making these observations, Josiah Whitney, chief of the California Geological Survey, held a different theory about the formation of Yosemite Valley. Whitney thought Yosemite Valley was formed not by glaciers but "the bottom of the Valley sank down . . ." John Muir recognized that it had not been formed by a cataclysm, but by a long, slow, natural process in which ice played by far the major part. Muir was able to prove the glacial origin of the Valley, and discovered live glaciers in the high Sierras, but Whitney never accepted it. He mocked Muir as a "mere sheepherder" and "ignoramus." Yet, Muir convincingly proved the glacial origin of Yosemite Valley and related features through painstaking study, which he published in his Studies in the Sierra. Muir’s views eventually prevailed in the scientific community.

El Capitan rises over the Yosemite Valley
View of El Capitan from the 4-Mile Trail

You can think of glaciers as large ice bulldozers. As they progress, they grind up anything in their path including granite, trees, and landscape. Dirt and debris (called glacial till) is pushed in front and to the sides of the glacier. The piles of glacial till that are left after the glacier retreats or melts are called moraines. Glaciers will also leave large "pot holes" which when filled with water form glacial lakes. You can observe these throughout the high sierras and the northern part of the United States.

As testified by the nearly 4,800-foot scar on Half Dome, Yosemite Valley was shaped by glaciers during the ice age. You might be surprised to find out that, although most scientists believe in one or more ice ages, evolution-believing scientists have a very difficult time identifying potential mechanisms for the initiation of an ice age. But, not so for Christian scientists who use God's Word as a guide. The global cataclysmic flood described in Genesis would be a perfect catalyst for an ice age. It most likely commenced within 100 years of the flood and lasted approximately 700 years. This chronology would place the ice age during the days of Abraham and Job. The Book of Job actually has more references to snow and ice than any other book of the Bible.

View from the top of the 4-Mile Trail
View of North Dome, Tenaya Canyon, and Half Dome from Glacier Point.

You can learn more about the testimony of Yosemite and glaciers by going to my Faith & Science website at:

So get outside and explore God's wonderful creation. He has placed testimonies to His nature and the truth of His Word all around us. Grab your pack, hiking poles, and water bottle and do some faith building (and muscle building) exploration!

I hope to see you on the trail on my next hike!

--- Mr. T

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