Ode to Yosemite

Yosemite is one of the most magnificent creations that nature has ever given us.  It is small wonder that thousands of visitors every year pay homage to this great site.  Artists, writers, and photographers try to capture the beauty of Yosemite with every medium imaginable.  But like taking a snapshot of a beautiful person, you can only take a peek of a frozen moment in time through the eyes of others.  The splendor and dignity of Yosemite can only be experienced in person where your body and soul can be enriched with its magic.

With that last remark, I will give you a quick tour of my trip through Yosemite with the attempt to capture those precious moments through the eye of a camera...

Knowing full well that our hiking trip may take 10 hours, we started out early at 8 A.M. to begin our 13 mile hike.  For all you early birds like myself, you must understand that for creatures of the night like my husband, morning does not begin until 10 AM on a weekday.  Weekends are another matter.  Morning breakfast starts with lunch... a late lunch.  The hiking trail information described the Yosemite Valley Trail as a "marathon hike."  That's an understatement.  We climbed up 3,214 feet to Galcier Point in less than 3 hours.  There were times when I felt like conducting a scientific experiment involving catapulting my 10 lbs worth of camera equipment across the valley.

Aside from climbing approximately 3,200 ft. to the top, what's cool about Galcier Point is that you can get a good view of the valley floor, four waterfalls, the High Sierra, and, last but not least, Half Dome.   You can get a great appreciation of how high you have hiked when people quickly become ants.  What is more amazing is the realization that the same tree that you saw at the base is still going up higher as you switch back and forth along the trail.

Once we grabbed a quick lunch at Galcier Point, we decided to head down the Panorama Trail.  The only problem was trying to locate it.  After a false start, we bumped into a ranger that was about to give a guided tour.  Turns out that he was heading in the same direction.   If you ever have a chance to take this tour, do so.  It's worth it.  A little blonde bear cub even made an appearance.  The cub was actually a distance away and, unfortunately, we did not have our telephoto lens with us.  We were able to see him searching for grubs among the burnt out tree trunks.  The ripping sounds of the tree trunks cracking between the cub's paws pretty much told us to stay away.  Shortly after that we reached the top of our first waterfall along the trail: Llilouette Fall.  It has a drop of 370 ft. Even though it was early July, the waterfalls were still full due to the El Nino effect.

I took this picture hanging precariously off of a cliff.  I have to admit that I was very stupid to do so.  If just one little misplaced pebble had had the audacity to be under my foot I would have been another statistic of idiots who fell off a cliff.  The sun did a bit of damage to my brain cells.

As we followed along the Panorama Trail, we got a good view of Half Dome.  According to the map, we could have hiked along the Panorama Trail and then taken the Half Dome Trail as a detour.  However this would have meant retracing our steps along the Half Dome Trail to continue on with our Glacier Point and Vernal and Nevada Falls trail.  Maybe a fitness nut would attempt it, but not I.   We actually came back another day and took a time sequence shot of Half Dome.  Unless there is a lot of popular demand, I am only going to post one of the more beautiful picture here instead of the entire series.

Finally, Nevada Fall with a glorious drop of 594 ft.  You can see the Merced River plunging downward over a rock cliff, it's bottom lost among the mist.  Guess what we saw along the Mist Trail as we looked back at Nevada Fall.  Breathtaking, is it not?

I would have sworn that I would die along the way to Vernal Fall if it was not for the fact that the sun had dried the rocks that were supposed to be the path.  Bring a raincoat if you decide to visit Vernal Fall.   And please do be careful of the wet rocks.  It is pretty challenging when you are tired, wet, and cold.  Vernal Fall has a measly 317 ft drop.

Once we reached the bottom of Vernal Fall, we followed the Mist Trail along the Merced River and onward to the valley floor where we caught a bus to our car at the Happy Isles Nature Center.  Amazingly enough, I discovered that I had enough strength to sprint the last couple of yards to make sure that we would make the bus that would take us back within "walking" distance of the car.  It was the last bus and I had enough of walking for one day thank-you.

Oh, this was taken on our way to the car as an added bonus.