What better time than Thanksgiving to start catching up on my long-neglected Yosemite posts! I can’t believe our trip was only two months ago, it feels like so much longer!
On the first official hike of our Yosemite trip, we headed to the Tuolumne Meadows area of the park – a long, slow drive out of the valley to the north and to higher ground. It was the day before our planned trek to Half Dome, so we figured that this hike, which mostly took place at elevation higher than the top of Half Dome, would be a good warm-up.
We started just after 9am in cool, crisp mountain air. (My car thermometer claimed it was less than 50 degrees, but I didn’t quite believe it was THAT cold!) The steepest climb of the hike was at the beginning – we spent the first 0.7 miles trudging slooowly up forested switchbacks, breathing heavily as we ascened in the thinner air. It was good to start out at a slow pace – I think it helped us acclimate to the elevation by not over-exerting.
After the junction at .7 miles, we turned off toward the domes; the trees started thinning out as we bassed the broad back of Dog Dome, and we soon came to the saddle between the two.
The path to Dog Dome from the saddle was closed, so we tackled Lembert Dome, the higher of the two, first. There was a trail heading off around the Dome, but we decided to try the more direct ascent, which involved a little bit of scrambling up the Dome and a lot of rocky fun.
We found a pretty good path to the top – there was only one spot where Chuck had to help pull me up – and celebrated our ascent with lots of pictures and some beef jerky.
After a few minutes, we headed back down, taking a more indirect (but easier) line back.
We found an accesible path to Dog Dome on the way back to the saddle, and were able to walk right up its far gentler slope, no scrambling required.
We got some more good pictures (yay, pictures of rocks!), then headed back down the trail to start the easier stretch of our hike. At the junction again, we headed off toward Dog Lake, uphill a little more and then down again. We passed a shallow pond along the way, right at the base of Dog Dome.
After a leisurely half-mile through the forest, we came onto the shore of the lake, where we dipped our hands in (it was chilly!) and got some more pictures before heading back.
Lembert Dome, Dog Dome, and Dog Lake, Yosemite National Park
September 15, 2008
Hike Stats:4.38 miles, 1153 feet elevation gain