Continuing our fall 2012 West trip,Wesley and I hiked amongst the soaring granite spires and domes in California`s Yosemite National Park.
We entered Yosemite via the 9000 ft Tioga Pass road. Light snow on this first morning in Yosemite as we hiked a few miles back to Dog Lake. Save for the fog and snow,one would see majestic peaks surrounding this lake.
Shortly past noon the snow ceased and the clouds broke. We hiked around Tenaya Lake and witnessed reflections in this glacier carved lake.
Reflections in Tenaya Lake
The trail circling the lake was about 2.5 miles around.
Wesley on ledge of El Capitan
El Capitan is a vertical rock wall that extends about 3000 ft from base to summit. A sometimes steep foot trail led up to the base of the vertical rock wall. From this point,climbers use ropes and anchor bolts to ascend the rock face. Wesley and I hiked up to the base of the vertical wall. The picture would be more dramatic but it was a cloudy and somewhat misty day---our 2nd in Yosemite. Behind Wesley can be seen a climbing rope dangling from the rock wall.
Fixed rope ascends El Capitan wall
Fixed ropes are in place to aid climbers in their ascent. I grabbed the rope with my hand to lend some perspective.
The vertical wall of El Capitan disappears into the mist above. In center of photo the rectangle is a hanging camp used by climbers. These pads are fixed by ropes to the wall and climbers sleep and rest on them during the ascent which can take a few days.
a pair of climbers ascend the vertical face of El Capitan. The cylindrical bag is a backpack of sorts to haul their supplies.
El Capitan wall seen from our ledge
We reached this rock ledge via the narrow hiking trail. This was as far up as Wesley and I could go without resorting to technical rope climbing,something that would be hard to do with a dog! We were still a decent way up from the floor of Yosemite Valley.
El Capitan wall
The vertical rock face soars thousands of feet up to the summit. Wesley and I did reach the summit the next day via an 8 mile long hiking trail that ascends from the back of El Capitan.
Morning sunlight near the Tamarack Flat campgroundp
The 8 mile long hiking trail that led to the summit of El Capitan from the back began from the Tamarack Flat campground. It was a chilly morning as sunlight filtered thru the trees.
Moss covered log
Several miles into our hike,we passed this massive tree that had been cleared from the trail.
Wesley at the summit!
Rock cairn marks the summit of El Capitan. We took the relatively easy way via the hiking trail but climbers would reach this point via the vertical rock face. Half Dome,another Yosemite icon,can be seen behind Wesley.
View from the edge.
We hiked the sloping rock down from the summit a short distance to the edge. Past this point,the way becomes steeper and there are a few small rock ledges before the 3000 ft vertical plunge to the valley floor.
Fixed rope at the summit
Peering out over the edge,a rope can be seen anchored to the summit area. This is one of the fixed ropes to aid climbers in their ascent.
View over the edge
a climbers pack can be seen on the rock ledge below. This ledge was maybe 15 ft down from me but I could see no way to safely reach it. I think that past this ledge,you could gaze down the sheer rock face of El Capitan 3000 ft to the valley floor! Wesley was tied to a tree at a safe location further back.
Another view of the small ledge from the previous photo. I`ve labeled the climber`s pack and the fixed rope. Cars on the road thru Yosemite Valley can be seen far below.
This stuffed (animal?) was tied to a nearby tree. Perhaps a mascot of sorts for a climbing team?
Good camping spot
The curved granite dome of El Capitan`s summit is in the background as we hiked back along the trail. The circular cleared area in the brush would make a spectacular overnite campsite!
North Dome Arch
the next day we hiked the North Dome trail which led about 4.5 miles to another granite dome with commanding views of Yosemite Valley. A few miles from the Tioga road trailhead,a side trail led to this natural arch.
nearing trail`s end,we were treated to this spectacular curved granite dome. Like many features in the area,it towers over Yosemite valley far below. The thought crossed my mind that if one were to walk out on it and slip,well you`d be in BIG trouble!
North Dome and Half Dome
Wesley and myself on North Dome at trail`s end. Half Dome can be seen behind us. Half Dome is the other climbing mecca in Yosemite after El Capitan.
this was the view behind me in the previous photo. The trees look like tiny toothpicks on the floor of Yosemite Valley. You`d need nerves of steel to walk out on that sloped rock!
Edge of Half Dome
Closeup of Half Dome as seen from our spot on North Dome. A few days later,we hiked the trail to the base of Half Dome. Cables would allow one to climb up the sloping face to the summit but I didn`t want to leave Wesley tied up behind while I did it since it would`ve taken a while---too hard to get a dog up the cables.
Geico lizard on North Dome
Wesley and I had lunch at this spectacular viewpoint on North Dome. I happened to glance over and see this lizard on a nearby rock. Reminded me of the gecko lizard in Geico insurance commercials!
Wesley and Half Dome
Wesley relaxing in the sun on North Dome with Half Dome in the background.
High Sierra lake
The day after hiking the North Dome trail,we hiked another trail that led up into the Yosemite mountains to some lakes in the high sierras. I was a tad grubby after several days without a shower,so I took a chilly swim here. Wes simply relaxed on shore.
The trail that we were hiking led to the Sunrise High Sierra camp. As we hiked along,a jet contrail was visible in the azure blue sky.
High Sierra meadow
We hiked a few miles past the lakes to reach the actual site of the Sunrise High Sierra camp. It consisted of campsites and empty wooden floors that probably host wall tents in summer ( we were there in late Oct). We had lunch here in warm sunshine. The camp overlooked this meadow. Wesley is walking in what appears to be a dried watercourse.
Next day after hiking to Sunrise High Sierra camp,we hiked the trail that led several miles to the base of Half Dome. The trail passes 2 waterfalls enroute,the first being Vernal Falls. The trail ascends the cliff face beside the falls on a LONG series of narrow stone steps.
we paused for a break while ascending the stone steps to view this lovely pool at the base of Vernal falls.
Vernal falls cascades into this pool shown in the previous photo.
Top of Vernal falls
It was a long climb,but the view at the top was well worth it. Vernal falls cascades over this precipice to the pool far below.The trail continued on to Nevada Falls then on back to the base of Half Dome.
Ascending Nevada Falls
As was the case at Vernal Falls,more stone steps ascended the cliff here at Nevada Falls.
Alpine lake above Nevada Falls
a good lunch spot!
after a long hike of several miles and past the 2 waterfalls,we emerged above treeline at the sub dome. This exposed rocky feature must be negotiated to reach the base of Half Dome.
Climbing the sub dome
the sub dome was open and exposed but the views were spectacular! A short distance beyond this point the trail followed a rock fissure on the sloping dome. I thought it too risky for Wesley,so he was tied to this tree while I proceeded onward to the base of Half Dome.
it was sunny and clear on this late Oct day!
Base of Half Dome
I made it to the base of Half Dome. From this point,the sloping rock dome ascends to the summit and the sheer rock face on the other side. Another hiker is ascending the cables above. I could`ve done the same but it would`ve taken time and Wesley was tied up at that tree behind on the sub dome.
Half Dome cables
the cables ascend the back of Half Dome from its base. they were officially "down" for the season meaning that they were simply lying against the rock instead of being supported by metal posts,making the climb more difficult.
Half Dome as seen from the base
I was inspired by the view here at the base of Half dome so I used my photo program to edit the image here and in the following 2 photos.
Yosemite Valley as seen from the base of Half Dome
Half Dome cables
it was possible to walk a short way up from the base before it became too vertical. Beyond this point would`ve required climbing the cables.
210 sub dome.jpg
210 sub dome.jpg 2012-10-16
Hiking back from the base of Half dome
view down the sloping rock to Yosemite Valley
Wesley takes in the view.
After untying Wesley,we began the return hike.
narrow stone steps led down this sloping part of the sub dome as we hiked back from the base of Half Dome.
view from the sub dome
In this view,I think we are looking across at North Dome where we were a few days ago.
Wesley and Friend
the day after our Half Dome hike we were walking the level paved trails of Yosemite Valley. The deer were rather tame here.
Backlit trees atop Haf Dome
Hiking Yosemite Valley floor on our final day,we gazed up at the rock wall of Half Dome. The sun was just clearing the rock wall and backlit trees up there.
on our last day,Wesley and I hiked the valley floor trail back to Mirror lake and Tenaya creek. The snow creek trail ascended this sheer rock wall via many switchbacks and afforded views back down into the valley floor.
Wesley on the snow creek trail
it was a hot day under the alpine sun and we rested in the shade at one point along the trail
Above Tenaya Creek
looking down from the Snow Creek trail,the dark water of Tenaya Creek can be seen bisecting the trees below in the valley.
view from the Snow Creek trail