They were on a 10-day trek through the wilderness, just four guys and six llamas. Expecting to commune with nature, they instead faced its sheer, raw power when their hike was cut short by the huge wildfire ravaging northern California.
David Hermanson, a 30-year-old artist and air conditioner repairman from the San Diego area, knows Yosemite National Park like the back of his hand.
“Me and my dad have been hiking Yosemite every year since I was seven,” he said.
Stoked to be back in the park again, Hermanson and three of his buddies loaded up the llamas and embarked August 20 on what was to have been a 60-mile hike from Leavitt Meadows to Lake Eleanor.
The group was at Dorothy Lake — about halfway into their trip — when clouds started to roll in. At least that’s what they seemed to be.
“It looked like a thunderhead cloud, but it was smoke,” Hermanson said. “It was just amazing. It looked surreal.”