On top of Half Dome in Yosemite
Submitted by Craig Drummond

Jan. 22

Saved by the bears.

That’s what happened to this week’s It’s A Snap! photo contest winner, Craig Drummond, while he and his buddy hiked to Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome in June, 2008.

The duo chose to avoid the crowded daytime rush to the top and to instead hike at night.

“We planned our trip around a full moon, and it was so bright that we decided to hike without our headlamps on,” Drummond said. “About three hours into the hike along lots of switchbacks, we came around a corner and practically tripped over — and startled — a black bear. From then on, it was headlamps on, no excuses.”

It wasn’t until the pair came across two more bears, forcing them to turn around, that they realized they had been going the wrong way all along.

“We missed a fork in the trail to the Half Dome,” Drummond said. “It must have been divine intervention, because if it wasn’t for the bears, we would have missed the sunrise. We got on the right trail and arrived 10 minutes before sunrise.”

Drummond, an Intel data analyst from El Dorado Hills, Calif., said the hike to the top took them about 5.5 hours.

In the photo, Drummond’s hiking companion — Jeff Silva — looks down at a 4,000 foot drop from a granite slab he calls “The Knuckle” on the edge of Half Dome.

Drummond captured the winning shot with a Sony Cybershot.

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