July 28, 2015
Glacier Point to Taft Point
Total distance: 4.7 miles
Andrew and his girlfriend, Sarah were heading to Yosemite National Park. Before they left home he asked me to join them. I jumped out of bed with a happy heart, dressed, packed a lunch and was ready to go in a flash.
We zoomed passed the trailhead for Taft Point and the Fissures–our destination, and headed up to Glacier Point at the end of the road, elevation 7,200 feet.
Sarah did not remember ever visiting Glacier Point, so we walked around the area admiring the extraordinary views. We saw the falls: Yosemite, Vernal and Nevada–the fullest; and Half Dome, the most recognizable rock formation in Yosemite. I pointed out Mt. Hoffman where years ago Mary Elizabeth and I climbed. We looked down 3,200 feet at the valley below and the winding Merced River.
From Glacier Point we left the arresting views behind for a time and took the Pohono Trail through a shady forest. The 400-foot climb began immediately.
A group of teenagers worked diligently at maintaining the trail. We passed them huffing and puffing from the elevation change–or was it just me who was out of breath?
We stopped along the trail many times to appreciate the extreme views.
A Yosemite Conservancy guide leading a family of four told us that we had stopped at Roosevelt Point which was recently named. I’ll have to take his word for it since I couldn’t find it on a map or in the Yosemite Place Names book.
I had hoped to overhear the guide as he told the family about the area, but didn’t want to eavesdrop; so I wandered away and watched Andrew and Sarah play on the rocks.
Besides the amazing views, we also caught a glimpse–too quick for my camera–of a western tanager with its orange head, yellow body and black wings. We left Roosevelt Point and continued towards Taft Point.
Corn lilies were in bloom in a damp area near Sentinel Creek. I haven’t seen a blooming plant in at least two years. From what I’ve learned about them, conditions need to be just right before they’ll bloom.
Then we came to, or almost stumbled into, a fissure–a deep crack in the granite. There are five of them in the area that drop hundreds of feet or more. Their edges are sandy and the openings are not easily seen from a distance.
We walked up to the railed lookout on a protruding rock then over to Taft Point proper viewing El Capitan, Three Brothers and much more.
Andrew and Sarah perched precariously close to the edge, or so it seemed. Too nervous to watch, I found a safe spot and ate lunch.
When it was time to leave, they scrambled up from the ledge and sat on sound boulders while my heart calmed down.
Our plan was to go from Taft Point up to Sentinel Dome then back to Glacier Point making a loop hike, but Andrew ran out of water. I didn’t bring the Steripen to purify water, but Sentinel Creek was just a mud puddle anyway even though the area seemed lush. A trampled path through the ferns led to a giant mushroom.
We walked the last mile to the Sentinel Dome trailhead where we caught the shuttle back to Glacier Point, something new that the park has been doing since closing Mariposa Grove for renovations.
I was pleased as punch to have been invited on this hike with Andrew and Sarah. I enjoyed watching them interact, talking with Sarah and getting to know her a little better, and showing her the Yosemite that Andrew and I love.