Ted's Hiking World Taft Point
Yosemite National Park

June 19, 2008

It being my birthday, I have opted to try something new with my spouse.  A decade ago we scaled nearby Sentinel Dome, which offers the finest vista in the park or perhaps anywhere else; but we didn't venture over this way.  Taft Point was so named to commemorate President Taft's motorized visit in October, 1909.

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Much of the trail is shady

The first noteworthy attraction is a pile of brightly hued white rocks, which seem out of place here.  Beside them is the first of many patches of phlox, fulfilling their seeming destiny of providing color to the landscape before most other flowers have appeared.

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This looks more like marble than granite

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Phlox always are a pleasure to find

On the trail is a Tortoise Shell butterfly.  This species is noted for its population explosions, followed by mass migrations eastward as far as the Great Lakes and New England.  This guy appears to be hurt, however; so he won't be going anywhere.

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California Tortoise Shell

After half a mile there is a junction with the Pohono Trail.  The left-hand fork goes toward the Wawona Tunnel.  To the right is a link with Sentinel Dome, which could provide a nice loop trip of 4½ miles.  Proceeding straight ahead and across a small stream, we achieve a high point from which the destination is in view.  We promptly scurry down a slippery-sandy trail to peer into one of the renowned fissures.

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There are five such fissures

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Mountain Pride hug the cliffs

The deep canyon here is worthy of a photograph; but I am unable to find a suitable vantage point.  It is quite scary here near the cliff's edge, as the drop-offs truly are straight down; that is not the case at such places as Glacier Point.  The best that I can manage is a shot of the opposing canyon wall.

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Across the canyon

Taft Point itself is nearby now, so we proceed up to the overlook.  Even behind the guard railing it is somewhat stomach-wrenching here.  Although it is safe, my sweetie will not approach the edge to look down.  The views directly across Yosemite Valley and to the west are relatively unremarkable; many of the valley's most scenic features lie out of sight to the east.  There is, however, a great head-on view of Upper Yosemite Falls.

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Taft Point

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Looking across Yosemite Valley

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Yosemite Falls, fourth-highest in North America at 2425'

Only the 1430-foot upper section is visible from here.  The water level is low already; within a month or so, Yosemite Creek will dry up completely.

After a brief break to enjoy some trail mix, we look down a couple more fissures without getting too close, then start back up the hill.  Near the pile of white rocks I stop to shoot three varieties of flower that I have not seen before.

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Another fissure

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A lone ant stalks the Hound's Tongue

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Goosefoot Yellow Violet.  Who thinks up these names?

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Narrow-leaved Monkeyflower

Near trail's end I spot a female Sara Orange Tip butterfly on one of those violets.  Right next to her are a few prettyface, which I have otherwise seen only in the Meiss Country north of Carson Pass.

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Sara Orange Tip

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Mountain Prettyface


§: This walk was a nice diversion.  The fissures near Taft Point were interestingly different, and Yosemite Falls was its normal spectacular self.

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