Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places in the United States. Grand landscapes, granite mountains with sheer valleys carved by glaciers, thunderous waterfalls engorged by the spring thaw plunging thousands of feet, and several groves of majestic Sequoia trees (the largest living things on the planet). Everything about it seems bigger than life! It’s easy to see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the best places to gain views of the park is from its granite domes. These domes, smoothed and rounded by the action of glaciers, offer 360 degree views that are remarkable! Sentinel Dome is among these, near both Yosemite Valley and Half Dome it’s accessible and a fairly easy hike. When I first started coming to Yosemite and (frequently) climbing this dome, there was a skeleton of an old Jeffery pine which had lived at the harsh rocky summit for hundreds of years. Seeing it during each climb of the dome was sort of like visiting an old friend. The tree was a popular subject for Ansel Adams and scores of others photographers while it lived, but sadly it died during a drought in 1976. Even in death it made a dramatic subject for a photograph. It remained standing for almost 30 years before falling over a storm in 2003.
So here’s a photo you can’t take any more. An iconic symbol — here today, gone tomorrow — so to speak, like so many things in life.
(Click on thumbnail to enlarge)