Half Dome – Morning Pictures

This post contains pictures taken Wednesday morning.  You may want to print a map of Yosemite Valley to follow along at home with the references I will be making in this post and the next one (Half Dome – Afternoon Pictures).  To print the map, Google “NPS Yosemite Map” then click on “Official Map for Yosemite Valley”.

But before I post Wednesday’s photos let me revisit the first picture I posted of Yosemite which I took from the Tunnel View vantage point.  This was taken Saturday afternoon around 230 but I want to use it to put distances in perspective.

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In the photo above, Bridal Veil Fall (on the right) is only about 2 1/3 miles away as the crow flies.  El Capitan (on the left) is about 3 1/2 miles away and Half Dome (in the center) is a whopping 9 1/2 miles away – well beyond the Yosemite Valley.

I didn’t go deep enough into the Valley on Saturday to see Half Dome again.  On Monday, when I was riding the Shuttle Bus around the Valley, I learned that I could see Half Dome from the middle of the Sentinel Bridge, though I never returned there that day to get any pictures.  Well the next picture is from that bridge on Wednesday morning, around 1030.  The sun is still behind Half Dome so you can’t see it very well because of the fact I was shooting from sunlight into shadows, but at least it gives you a slightly closer look.  Half Dome is now about 4 miles away.  I will be posting pictures taken with the digital camera later.

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These next two shots are taken from the area around Mirror Lake, which is the closest I ever got to Half Dome.  For me, Mirror Lake was a big disappointment.  On Monday I got off the bus at the Mirror Lake stop when the driver said it was an easy hike of about a mile with not much elevation change, which in my opinion was wrong and wrong.  It is actually about a mile and a quarter (and not being a hiker that added a half mile to the round trip) and it started off easy and relatively flat but became rocky and steeper, about 100 feet of elevation change and, again, for “not in very good shape” JohnBoy, now walking at 4,000 feet elevation, that was more than I was expecting.  Well, when I got up there I learned much to my dismay that I was on the wrong side of the damn lake to get the “mirror” effect of seeing Half Dome in the lake’s reflection!  There was no way to get to the other side other than to go way around (and I mean WAY around) on that trail, or go back down and walk back up on the other side.  I can’t believe they don’t tell you which way to go to see the reflection when you get off the bus.

This is a small lake I got to just before Mirror Lake.  Wednesday, having learned from my mistake on Monday, I walked up the PAVED ROAD on the west side of Tenaya Creek which ends with a short, level trail which put me on the correct side for seeing reflections.  Well, kinda sortof.

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Here is a shot looking up at Half Dome from the little lake shown above (it had another name on the sign up there but I don’t remember what it was and can’t seem to find it online).  Mirror Lake itself is supposedly just beyond this one.  From the vantage point of the photo above Half Dome can now be seen by looking up and to the right.  It is still over a mile away and you are looking up (into the midday sun) from around 4,000 feet elevation near the lake toward the 8,836 foot peak.

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Well, we (I had joined a group of fellow travelers for my walk up to the lake, and I told everyone getting off the bus to take the road, NOT the trail closest to the bus stop) started walking further back to see the reflection in the “real” Mirror Lake only to be told that the Park’s new credo is to let nature take it’s course and rather than maintaining the much touted Mirror Lake as a lake they are letting it drain and return to being a meadow through which Tenaya Creek will run, in effect, undammed.  So no reflection today for Mr. “I walked up here twice and I’m not doing it again” JohnBoy.

You’ll see more pictures of Half Dome, taken in the afternoon, in the next post.