Sentinel Dome at Sunset

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Sam and Lori had climbed Sentinel Dome on our family visit to Yosemite last summer, but Jack had been feeling a little under the weather, so I stayed back at the lodge with him on that occasion. They came back telling stories about what a cool hike it was, so this time around I wanted to see for myself. Sam needed no encouragement to do it again, so after dinner we headed up onto the Glacier Point Road to start our hike.

Relatively easy, we were at the top within about half an hour. The 360 degree views were amazing, and as the light faded the whole place took on a magical glow. We must have spent 90 minutes up there enjoying the cool breeze, the incredible landscape, and the tiny but remarkable wildflowers that were doing their best to survive. Of course I photographed the famous, though now dead, Jeffrey Pine that still rests on top of the dome, and I also had a great time checking out all of the glacial erratics that were deposited here thousands of years ago.

The return trip to the car was bathed in the most beautiful golden light, and on three different occasions we were fortunate to encounter foraging deer right on the path. Throughout this trip it has seemed as though every time we made a hike it became a new favorite… and although Sentinel Dome was not as strenuous or grand as some of the others, we really enjoyed the time spent there.

Wildflowers on a Mountain Road

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As we cruised up the Glacier Point Road toward Sentinel Dome, a couple of small meadows right off the side of the road filled with beautiful wildflowers caught our eye. The early evening light created little pockets of color that begged to be explored and photographed. The Glacier Point Road climbs as high as 9,000 feet, so at that elevation these the little beauties get a pretty late start to the summer.

I wish I knew more about the local flora so I could name these (Shooting Stars?), but am going to have to settle for just showing them here. I found it challenging to use the camera viewfinder to truly do this scene justice, but at least we have a sweet reminder of how pretty and alive this part of the forest was. In amongst all of the magnificent and rugged grandeur of Yosemite, these delicate little swaths of intense color were a striking contrast to the immense scale of the park. This was another side to the changing seasons of Yosemite that we were quite fortunate to witness on this visit.