Water is drawn and camp's packed up. It's getting a little warmer (up from 42F last night), and the sun is shining in a cloudless sky.
We follow a gentle climbing trail over the rock, up into the woods and over to Yosemite Point.
After a few minutes we enter a small wooded area, followed by transitioning to rock and gravel, signalling the top.
The woods give way quickly to open angled terrain, showing many places with trees felled by wind or lightning.
It feels nice to sit for a few minutes and soak up the sun.
The view down to the valley shows part of the switchbacks taken yesterday to get up to the Falls. You can also see the top of Lost Arrow, where there are often climbers atop.
In fact, if you look closely, there is some equipment and rope sitting up there now!
Retreating back from the Yosemite Point along the trail to North Dome, we meet up with a couple of day hikers on their honeymoon. Johan and Judith are from The Netherlands, and have been touring California for a week now. With a few days to go before heading back to civilization, they are making the best of every minute outdoors.
Looking back, we can see Yosemite Point as we start toward North Dome. The trail will take us down and up Lehamite Canyon and Indian Creek Canyon, where it'll be interesting to see if there is any water for pumping.
There are some amazing old trees standing about.
Below: Looking towards Half Dome, you can see North Dome in front of it. First we do some up and down trail work to get to Lehamite Creek, then we cross Indian Canyon Creek and we're on Indian Ridge - seen here as the upsweep of smooth rock bordered in the foreground and background by trees.
This ridge rises slowly up to the left to a height of 9000 feet - well above North Dome. At the top of the ridge, the dome looks pretty small!
A natural pathway
Making our way across, we see there are many pine cones that have been eaten like corn-on-the-cob.
The squirrels are having a late summer feast, and there are more than they can eat.
It's always amazing to see all the places that trees can grow.
On the flat rocky areas you can see roots dozens of feet away from the trunk, tracing their way between rocks and along crevasses.
Here we are on the lower section of Indian Ridge, just above North Dome which rises off to the right. Behind Jackie, the rock falls away into Tenaya Canyon, a few thousand feet below. With a telephoto lens I can see a straggler on the top of Half Dome. He or she better have a headlamp, and better start down pretty soon, or it'll be a flashlight descent on the cables!
The shadowed area between North and Half Domes is Little Yosemite Valley. This continues behind Half Dome, up past Bunnell Point, past Echo Valley, toward Vogelsang and the High Country.
To get to North Dome from here requires a few switchbacks down into a saddle, then up the other side. I was completely bagged by this point, having had a bout of mild digestive distress all day, so we decided to get onto the saddle and camp for the night. It was either that or camp on the exposed section of Indian Ridge. This is not a good idea if there's a possibility of storms, and clouds were gathering on the east flank of the range. As it turned out, the clouds dissipated and by that time, the tent was set up, food eaten and we were ready to turn in.
The next morning the sun is beaming down in a cloudless sky. It'll probably hit 90 today, and with a breeze it will be perfect low-humidity mountain backpacking weather.
North Dome has plenty of exfoliating rock, and lots of interesting rock formations as well. This one was formed when the granite cracked deep underground and was infiltrated by new molten rock filling the space. Eons later here it is...
Infiltrations, Exfoliations, and Manta Rays swimming upstream
Stylish Italian Mountaineering boots....echoing the shape of Half Dome and more.
That flat rock behind Jackie is a great place to sit for a canyon direct view.
Shelter from the Storm
Slowly and surely the rock slopes away. It's gradual, so it's easy to keep going (carefully), making sure there is solid footing, and a safe landing place ahead should you slip. It's only when you look back that you realize you've dropped more then ten stories altitude to get a little bit further down and closer to the edge.
This rock flake is gently balanced on a wedged rock - just visible. Meanwhile, the shadows give way to a big Sky Vista.
Looking at Indian Ridge, Yosemite Point is off camera to the left. We need to get back there and climb up to the top - off camera to the right.
Half Dome is directly behind me as I frame this image.
From the edge of the saddle on the walk back from North Dome to the start of Indian Ridge.
After crossing back over the saddle, we're up onto Indian Ridge on our way over to Snow Creek! There's a few dodgy sections on steeply sloped, exfoliating slabs before getting to this part of the actual trail.