Enter at Your Own Risk

September 19, 2016
Porcupine Creek Trail
Roundtrip distance: 8.8 miles

It was the end of summer, possibly the last of the good weather.  I headed into Yosemite National Park for an end-of-the-season hike out to North Dome.  The morning was cold, a sign that fall was upon us.

sh2365

There were many cars parked near the trailhead.  I expected to see lots of hikers, but was alone on the trail.  An eroded asphalt path led downhill through the former site of Porcupine Creek campground.

sh981

The forest was filled with dead trees of varying degree.  Some had tumbled to the ground, others were brown and brittle but still standing.

sh1105

It was cluttered and chaotic with a clear cut path that looked like someone had swept it clean.  With each breath of wind the trees creaked and groaned.

sh1104

A nice path through the decomposing bark.

Pinecones high in the treetops crashed to the ground, one missing my head by a hair.

sh1076b

Playful squirrels chased each other spiraling up and down trees and zigzagging across the trail.

sh1046c

I crossed Porcupine Creek and Snow Creek, neither holding much water.  A search of the arid stream beds found summer’s last flowers barely hanging on.

While shooting a photo of the trail, a person popped into the frame.  I looked up from the viewfinder and he was gone.

sh989

A hiker stands at the very end of the path.

I made my way to where the hiker was standing.  A large tree had fallen onto the trail knocking its bark everywhere.  The area was bathed in the scent of pine.  Fresh branches and pine needles camouflaged the trail.  The hiker told me the tree was not there earlier.  When it fell, it broke into seven sections covering the trail causing him to think he was heading in the wrong direction.

sh1052

Looking back after crossing over the downed tree.

Enter at your own risk would be an appropriate warning for the trail thus far.  I made my way over the mess and headed towards North Dome detouring at Indian Rock.

sh996

Indian Rock and the arch.

The arch spans 20 feet and is just over a foot thick at its thinnest.

sh1011

The arch.

Leaving Indian Rock, I continued through Indian Ridge out to North Dome.  The wind blew in gusts on the granite dome.  I sat in the shade of a tree that grew straight out of the rock.

sh1028

Many trees growing from the granite.

The Indian name of North Dome was Tokoya.  It meant “round basket used in gathering acorns.”  Directly across from North Dome is Half Dome whose early name was “South Dome.”

sh1021

A dramatic view of Half Dome.

sh1030

Looking southwest at the valley several thousand feet below.

The first time I hiked to North Dome was five years ago with Andrew.  Not much changed on the trail except for the myriad of dead trees enroute.  Leaving the dome, I retraced my steps through the unpredictable forest and returned to the car.

sh2433

With Andrew on the trail to North Dome, looking towards Clouds Rest and Tenaya Canyon. August 20, 2011

Days are getting shorter and prime hiking season is coming to a close.  It was a good summer filled with trips to new destinations as well as hikes to familiar favorites.  I look forward to cooler weather and kicking up leaves this autumn while out on the trails.

15 thoughts on “Enter at Your Own Risk

  1. Erich C Gehring

    My favorite picture is of Indian Rock and the arch! Beautiful! Also, the playful squirrel picture looks as if you put a flashlight on it! How great to capture the squirrel in the sunlight at just the perfect moment! Looking forward to your autumn leaves pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Janet Post author

      Thanks, Sheelah. For the photo of the squirrel I used an effect called vignette. It darkens the edges and focuses only on the subject. I did that because the squirrel is in the middle of the photo without much room to run (he was running into a shadow in the photo so I cut it out).

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s