Twiddling my thumbs

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As I sit here twiddling my thumbs in anticipation of the first snow covered landscape photography opportunity of the winter, I do what most photographers do… go back into the archives to see if there are any images I might have missed the first time around, or any that I might be able to post-process better after all this time. Here are a couple I came up with of a big rock in Yosemite National Park, hands down one of the most beautiful parcels of land I have ever seen…

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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.

Yosemite

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As a family we had the good fortune of visiting the magnificent Yosemite National Park last summer. Yosemite is a place like no other, and even though we had heard tales of the beauty we would see there, we were all totally amazed to witness for ourselves what is a remarkable and spectacular landscape.

Sam just graduated from high school, and when asked what he would like for a present, he was pretty emphatic in his desire to travel west to see Yosemite again. When we left the park last summer I think we each had the feeling we would be back, but little did we know it would be so soon.

Last summer we spent the majority of our time in Yosemite Valley enjoying the icons – and the crowds. We had a wonderful time exploring along the Merced River and bending our necks to soak in views like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls and El Capitan, but all the while there we couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to escape the hordes of tourists and get up into the high country… this time we will.

On this trip we are incredibly excited to be spending most of our time up along the Tioga Road and especially around the Tuolumne Meadows area. At 8,500 feet, the temperatures at this elevation should be moderate and bearable, but it is the promise of experiencing the higher sierra that has us really anticipating our visit.

The image above with Half Dome standing large in front of Clouds Rest was made on a perfect summer evening from Glacier Point. Looking back up Tenaya Canyon toward the high country, you can’t help but sense the wonder of what must be a spectacular and unparalleled wilderness. Can’t wait to see it for ourselves.

We are currently researching and planning how we can squeeze every last ounce of Yosemite into our trip, so if you know of any must-see hikes to add to our itinerary, please share in the comments.