Tag Archives: Tuolumne Meadows

California Vacation 2011: Exploring Tuolumne Meadows

After our morning climb, we were in the mood for a relaxed afternoon. First up was lunch at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill where I enjoyed a hot dog (yes, meat) and Jason enjoyed a cheeseburger. Both were pretty good and were served up with a side of fries – huge, wedge-cut fries. Yum  🙂

Once we finished with lunch, we strolled along the wide trail winding through Tuolumne Meadows. It was such a beautiful day, perfect in fact.

I could not get enough of the surrounding peaks.
Tuolumne Meadows

The Parsons Memorial Lodge
Parsons Memorial Lodge

Tuolumne Meadows

The water was so clear and so blue, almost teal in some spots.
Tuolumne River

That’s Lembert Dome in the background, site of our morning adventure.
Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River

How could you not want to stay here forever?
Tuolumne Meadows

After walking around Tuolumne Meadows, Jason suggested a short drive to Olmsted Point. Jason wanted to shoot some of the bristlecone pines around the area. There were a lot of people at Olmsted Point when we arrived (including a girl in a blouse and mini-skirt – interesting choice 😕 ).

We really didn’t spend much time at Olmsted Point last summer, so I never fully noticed the trail that runs down from the parking turnout to another overlook. Even though I had changed out of my hiking shoes and into flip flops, we decided to check it out. And hey, at least I wasn’t wearing a mini-skirt.

The backside of Half Dome.
Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

I will tell you that flip flops are not the best choice for walking up steep inclines. Live and learn.

The rest of our final evening in Yosemite was spent relaxing at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. The main Lodge building has a small fridge stocked with water, soda, and beer, so I bought a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to enjoy out by the fire pit after dinner. More perfection!

While we were buying our beverages, we entered into a conversation about the recent accident at Vernal Fall. The accident occurred as we were traveling to the park, and I just caught notice of it on Twitter before my cell service was lost. While it was a very sad incident, it wasn’t completely unbelievable. We saw people last summer and saw plenty this summer make very bad choices in the park. One of the older gentlemen joining our discussion talked about how he loved swimming in the Emerald Pool, just above Vernal Fall. One of the Lodge employees was very stern when she basically stated how stupid that was. Some people just don’t get it.

Unfortunately, other people’s bad behavior would dominate our trip from this point forward…

 

California Vacation 2011: Hiking Lembert Dome

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.

Jason ready to cross the first of many small streams.
Lembert Dome Hike

We made the quick trip to Dog Lake first. It was so peaceful; Jason could’ve stayed here all day.
Dog Lake

On to Lembert Dome!
Lembert Dome Hike

The side of our ultimate destination.
Lembert Dome Hike

Making the turn to climb the dome…
Lembert Dome Hike

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.

Lembert Dome Hike

Then we came to what we thought was the dome. So up we went.

Lembert Dome

When we got to the top and looked to the east…Oops!

Lembert Dome

(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).

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

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.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

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.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

The point we saw from our first mis-climb. Can you see the people? (They’re right at the tip.)
Lembert Dome

We made just about to where the three people are (just above our heads).
Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

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.

Hike to Lembert Dome

We came across a lone deer and were basically able to walk right up to it.
Deer

Some people take a much different route up the dome.
Lembert Dome

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  🙂

California Vacation 2011: An Evening in Tuolumne Meadows

After a day of visiting Mono Lake and relaxing at camp, we decided to spend the evening scoping out wildlife in Tuolumne Meadows.

We packed up the cameras and drove to the meadow after dinner. (Dinner was much improved over the night before, primarily because we made better choices. Jason had a burger and I had the pasta with marinara. In the High Country, simple is better.)

We found our first deer right by the Lodge.

Deer Sighting

And we hit the deer jackpot once we made it to Tuolumne Meadows.

Babies!
Tuolumne Meadows

Minus one fawn. We never did see the second one again.
Tuolumne Meadows

More deer joining the fun. The new buck was a big boy. Jason was impressed.
Tuolumne Meadows

Mama and baby suddenly took off. Not sure why.
Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

The first group of deer wasn’t the only crew in the meadow. Over a little, there was a whole different group hanging out. There were a few more bucks, but they were all pretty small.

Tuolumne Meadows

Hey! Where ya goin’?
Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Someone was not happy with the new company joining in. The first group we spotted moved in on the second group. We expected a rumble, but nothing major happened.

Tuolumne Meadows

While seeing wildlife was the primary motivation for heading to the meadow that evening, we also enjoyed the effect of the setting sun. The alpenglow was so incredibly beautiful.

Lembert Dome

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

What I didn’t realize is that the sky eventually starts to take on a purplish, pinkish hue. Jason had the camera and I failed to point out the sky to him, so we didn’t get a photo of it. But trust me, it’s incredible.

The only bad part of the evening were the drunk Canadians hanging out just off the side of the road. They were hooting and hollering and generally being obnoxious. Not exactly conducive to the atmosphere of Tuolumne Meadows. They eventually left, but they certainly wouldn’t be the last of the obnoxious drunkards we would encounter on the trip.

I’m excited to do the High Sierra Camps someday. From what I’ve read, the alpenglow is amazing, especially at Vogelsang (the highest altitude camp and one that we were supposed to visit). And I just have to see that sky again.

To close, here’s a little clue to my next post…

Lembert Dome

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