A Bully Day!

(Note: my goal is to reintroduce Teddy Roosevelt’s expression back into the common vernacular. When he journeyed to Yosemite and camped on Glacier Point with Join Muir, they awoke the next morning to snow. He is reported to have emerged from his tent and exclaimed “What a bully night!”)

Since the snow conditions still are not favorable for skiing, the hiking season continues. My good friends, Paul and Annette, and I decided to hike the Glacier Point and Panorama Trial loop, which is always fun after the road to Glacier Point has been closed for the winter. Paul bravely donned shorts at the beginning of the trail despite the 34 degree temperature, but I had to wait until after I had warmed up before removing my outer layer.
Illilouette%20Fall.jpg At the 6500 in elevation we encountered full coverage of snow, and much ice, which slowed our pace somewhat. We arrived at Glacier Point and had the place to ourselves. While eating lunch, we stared at the polished granite of Cloud’s Rest frosted in white and Florence Peak donning her expansive white apron.

On our descent, we paused at Illilouette Fall, and snapped some photos of the south face of Half Dome. The light of the waxing gibbous moon provided a beautiful light that highlighted Vernal and Nevada Falls as we descended down the Mist Trail in the semi-darkness. We then headed to the Mountain Room Restaurant for a well-earned meal!

After such a great late season hike, let it snow! I’m ready to don my cross country skis.

Taft Point and Sentinel Dome

I took a quick hike this afternoon to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome. The day began with clear blue skies, and I enjoyed a clear view of El Capitan from the dizzying heights of Taft Point.

Boulder%20at%20Taft%20Point.jpgAs I followed the trail along the ridge, I watched the clouds arrive, and at the top of Sentinel Dome, the fingers of the clouds reached down to greet me. My view revealed that El Capitan had been surrounded by the sky!

At the top, I met a friendly and enthusiastic group of park visitors, who certainly rate as the most geographically diverse group of friends I’ve ever encountered on the trail—they hailed from Russia, England, Scotland, and Texas. (I didn’t ask them at the time, but I do wonder how they agree on restaurant choices!) The gentleman from Scotland had even read my weblog! Their enjoyment of the park was evident, and even the clouds obscuring the view of Half Dome didn’t damper their spirits.

Glacier Point

I recommend hiking the Four Mile Trail before the Glacier Point road opens for the season, but this year there wasn’t much of a window of opportunity. The trail opened on May 8th; the road on May 15th. It’s wonderful experience being at Glacier Point alone: I’ve trudged through a foot of snow on the at the top with only myself for company. Still May isn’t too crowded, and we had a nice breeze to cool us. One more tip: Beware of the misnomer – the trail is actually 9.2 miles round-trip.

I arm myself with water and a peanut butter and jelly for the hike; Shad’s film to food ratio is quite out of balance. The photo bug has hit and he’s been sending off weekly shipments to Seattle Photoworks for developing.

They put stickers on photos in need of help, with suggestions like "Oops, check your light meter." Shad’s goal is to have a packet come back sticker free.

Switchback after switchback we trudge upward, passing a changing assortment of trees as we gain in elevation: canyon live oaks, manzanita, white furs and sugar pines. I point out to Shad a future photo opportunity as we pass stands of aspen that will blossom into brilliant yellow in the fall. When we hit the first patches of snow, small towers of bright red snowplants peek out from the ground.

The long ascent provides its rewards as we reach the top. Snow still blankets the Clark Range, and Half Dome stands guard over the Valley. Shad doesn’t even flinch when I tell him we’ll be scaling that massive granite dome on our next hike. He’s probably thinking about the photographic opportunities.