James Murren
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Sentinel Dome / Taft Point Loop and South Gate Brewing Company

The Earning  

The Sentinel Dome / Taft Point Loop is a well-trafficked hike. Nevertheless, it is a spectacular 5+ miles of not-too-strenuous walking in Yosemite that provides countless vistas of some of the national park’s iconic sites. With no need to watch the clock, I set out from the parking area on a glorious late-morning blue sky day and made way to the top of Sentinel Dome, reveling, like always, in the majesty of the 360 degree viewscape. For a moment, when voices dissipated, silence prevailed, and I held on to the quietude. 

Back down, I went, turning left and working my way across to Taft Point. Along the way, the valley’s songs rose up from the floor, while El Cap stood mighty and tall. The songs floated around inside my head but were abruptly turned off when I inwardly joked about the newer notion of “forest bathing.” What will the human mind come up with next? Amidst the trees, I felt the breeze, softly passing over pine needles and my smiling face. 

Taft Point was crawling with masked and unmasked humans. Here, there, everywhere, the creatures, myself included, stepped and poled our way around the rock and dirt surfaces. So many selfies were taken that surely social media sites crashed, or so I wished. How do we focus on the here and now? Does it exist, for some humans, if it is not documented and shared? 

I do not know the answer. 

It was a passing thought, thank goodness, then drifted away into the autumnal air.

On back up the trail, and on some more in the direction of the parking lot, I traipsed. The sky was still glorious. Warm sunshine shone. An achy knee ached more than before I started and my legs were a little worked. Somehow, despite the seeming annoyances of the day’s hiking experience, I felt refreshed. 

Oh, wait?! Is that what a forest bath is?!

All Trails can help you map the hike; search Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop.

Earn Your Beer 117


South Gate Brewing Company in Oakhurst, CA is a great spot to grab a beer and grub if you are using the southern gate to or from Yosemite National Park. They’ve been racking up medals at various regional/state competitions for the past five years. Their beers are on-point and the food is a bit on the side of being a welcomed oasis in the area. From what I gathered, locals frequent the place more so than travelers/tourists.

I had their standard pale ale while I waited for my order to arrive. It was straw bale in color and clean on the palate, perfect for a post-hike refresher. The fish and shrimp tacos were delicious, as good as any tacos I’ve had elsewhere. I’m an IPA fool, so I had to taste the double hazy Hop Punch. Indeed, all the citrus you’d expect was there. Porters, too, are a favorite beer style, as long as they are not too sweet. A taster of the Deadwood had me wishing I had ordered a full pint. It was super smooth with subtle chocolate notes and more on the roasted side. Next time, I will immediately order the porter.