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Snowshoe to Dewey Point

Complete quiet except for the crunch of snow on your snowshoes, drop dead views, and discoveries of frosty covered trees and animal tracks make a trip to Dewey Point something that I feel I need to experience at least once each winter. There is no better way to describe it other than to say that Dewey Point has one of the most magnificent views of those snow covered areas that I love.

Where: Yosemite National Park

Distance: 7.24 Miles

Elevation Range: 7,216-7.576

Date: January 8, 2013

Highlights: Starting out at 37 degrees at 0730, we had the trail and Dewey Point to ourselves. How can you adequately describe the amazing view at Dewey Point in the winter? You can look down into Yosemite Valley, or up Tenaya Canyon and see Half Dome, Clouds Rest and other famous Domes and Peaks. All were coated in snow, of course. The contrast between the bright blue sky and that white snow made for great views!

We parked at the north parking lot at Badger Pass Ski Area and started out with my snowshoes, snow baskets on my hiking poles, pack, layered clothes, water and a lunch and headed up the groomed Glacier Point Road, which is closed to vehicle traffic during the winter.

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Did I mention that we had the trail to ourselves?

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There are two marked trails that take you to Dewey Point, the Ridge Trail #14 and the easier MeadowTrail #18. We decided to go in via the Meadow Route and return via the Ridge Trail. Snowshoeing up Glacier Point Road, avoiding the groomed cross country ski tracks about 1.9 miles past Summit Meadow and the pit toilet, we came to the junction of the Meadow Trail.

Dewey 4We hadn’t gone up the trail too far before we saw Hoarfrost on the trees. From Wikipedia’s definition, Hoarfrost is white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air. Based on the direction of the wind, frost arrows form. The name “hoar” comes from an Old English adjective for showing signs of old age, and is used in this context in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

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The morning shadows were still covering the meadow and snow still clung to some of the tree branches.

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Dewey 10After we left the meadow, the trail was pretty straight forward because others had used it since the last snow, but it was still important to keep an eye on the trail markers, which are the yellow markers high in the tree. Some were easy to spot.

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Others could be a lit of a challenge to find.

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As we approached Dewey Point, wide open views of the snow covered mountains to the east of us unfolded.

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Dewey Point is named after Admiral George Dewey of the Spanish American War. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy.

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What a great lunch spot!!

Dewey 15My hiking partner for the day, Gail Gilbert, frames a view up Tenaya Canyon.

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As we make our way back to the car, we get one last glimpse of snow covered peaks.

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Hiking in the winter has special challenges and safety issues related to it. There are many books and online information on safety issues related to this, along with checklists on what to bring along with you. I wouldn’t even think of doing a trip such as this without brushing up on these items.

If you are interested in snowshoeing to Dewey Point, the Badger Pass Ski Center rents them. For more information on Badger Pass or their rates, check out http://www.yosemitepark.com/BadgerPass.aspx You can also check out their webcam and online information for current conditions.

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