On our second morning in Yosemite, Jason and I embarked on this summer’s “adventure” hike: climbing Lembert Dome.
Now, I use the term “climbing” loosely. There is a trail that weaves through the woods along and behind Lembert Dome. The trail splits for a short side trip to Dog Lake as well. As for the climbing portion, it’s really just walking at a very steep incline. We set out to make it as far as we could.
I failed to have my camera out and to take any pictures during the first mile of the hike. It was bad and reminded us of last summer’s hike, particularly the portion between Vernal and Nevada Falls. It was just a rocky trail with 500 feet of elevation gain in that first mile. Despite all of my running this spring and mileage increase leading into the trip, I once again could not handle the elevation. We had to stop several times for me to catch my breath and for my heart rate to go down. It was very frustrating.
Finally, things evened out and the hike improved greatly.
Here’s where we ran into a little trouble. When I was reading about the Lembert Dome hike before we left on vacation, some accounts made it sound like the trail was not well-defined when you hit this point. So when we saw granite slabs that kind of looked like a trail, we turned. Nope. We were wrong.
Then we came to what we thought was the dome. So up we went.
When we got to the top and looked to the east…Oops!
(That point is wrong, too, although we still didn’t realize at this time.)
We took a break on the wrong turn to catch our breath (plus Jason wanted to find an easier way down than the way we came up).
When we made it down, we saw hikers in the distance on the well-defined trail we didn’t originally make it to. We wound our way around and made it to the base of our real climb.
Because of the activity involved, not many photos were taken, obviously. After the initial climb, there was a flatter portion, another small bump, and then the final summit. Jason pushed us to continue over the bump, but neither of us had any desire to climb to the summit. In that case, it would have been legitimately climbing. And even if we had made it up, we were both pretty sure we wouldn’t have made it down.
Instead of retracing our steps, we continued down the opposite side of the dome. It’s steeper, but the trail was full of gentle switchbacks. Even still, it was hard on the knees. I need hiking poles badly.
The trail took us to the short road Tuolumne Meadows Lodge is on and follows the river around to the main meadow.
The beauty of the hike is that we were virtually alone. We didn’t run into any fellow hikers until we turned around from Dog Lake. There was a group of older women and a middle-aged couple on the dome with us, and a few more people were heading up as we were making our way down. But that was it. It was fabulous!
It was a great, short hike (about three hours total), and it definitely provided a minor adrenaline rush (well, maybe more like a major rush for me). I’m not going to lie, it was slightly terrifying for me. I don’t have too many issues with heights except, apparently, in situations like this. I did have to do the butt scoot a couple times as we were making our way down the dome 😕
But hey, I climbed a dome! I’m pretty proud of me 🙂