Monday, October 18, 2010

Yosemite - Oh, My Gravy! Look at That!

Roger here....  The second part of our first day at Yosemite was a jaw-dropper.  From the Mariposa Sequoia Grove we drove about forty miles to Glacier Point, going uphill most of the way.  Glacier Point provides a panorama of the Yosemite Valley 3200 feet below.

We made sure to take this drive on one of our early visits, because the road could be closed by snow at any time, and it closes for the season November 1.

  We thought that the waterfalls would be nonexistent in the fall, but as you can see in the first pic, Nevada and Vernal Falls are pretty healthy.  The view of Half-Dome gave me the same sense of wonder and awe that I get when viewing the Grand Canyon.

Dianne and I lingered at Glacier Point for quite a while.  Enjoy the view in the next few photos.

(Dianne here:  Remember that you can click or double-click on the smaller photos to make them large.  Some of these are worth it!)

Dianne cringed when she saw an old photo of two young ladies balancing on an overhanging rock: 

Dianne here:  I guess reckless youth isn't just a phenomenon of our time!

Time to head back to the campground so that I won't be driving on these twisty, steep roads after dark.  

But wait, there is a 2.2 mile round-trip hike to Taft Point just a few miles down the road.  The literature says it would take a couple of hours to do this hike, but it might be a really cool hike.  (Dianne again:  We couldn't imagine it could take two hours to walk 2.2 miles!  Trust me, with the fantastic sights to stop and see, it really does take 2 hours.)

  Let's see if there is a parking spot at the trail head.  If there is, we'll do the hike and get back late.  

There's a spot at the end of the lot.  Let's do it.  What a mistake it would have been to skip one of the best hikes we have ever taken.  

Into the woods!

Due to the lateness of the day, we started the walk at a pretty good pace.  Then, crack.  Then crack, crack, crack, crack.  What is that loud noise?  Is a tree falling?  In the distance, and through the trees, I saw it go down.  Were we far enough away to not get squished? Thump!  Missed us by a long shot.  Up ahead we heard a fellow hiker shout, "Holy S***!"  We caught up with the three hikers ahead and discussed why a healthy tree would just tip over on a non-windy day.  Not something you see every day.  A puzzlement.

OK, we need to move on.  Let's pick up the pace.  Wait, what is that?  That is one big bird, and it does not seem to be too afraid of us.  The grouse posed long enough for us to take several pictures.  

Taft Point could not be far ahead.  The forest opened up, so that we could see a distant metal railing on the edge of the abyss.  Not too far.  But, we had to be careful.  We passed three amazing fissures before reaching the point.  All three were invisible until we wandered within six feet of them.  And, they went straight down to the valley floor. 

After avoiding a stumble into the fissures, and taking a million pictures, we scrambled up the granite slope to the railing on the edge of Taft Point.  

Here is a shot of Dianne squeezing dents into the metal railing as she looks down, straight down -- 3200 feet straight down.

I am not typically afraid of heights, but I had a tingly feeling as I gazed down, then out across the magnificent view which included the iconic El Capitan on the other side of the valley.  I also held the railing with an iron grip.  It was not a slanted cliff with maybe a few rocks along the way; it was straight down.  The trees looked like moss on the valley floor.

(Dianne again:  the cars on the valley roads looked like matchbox cars, and we couldn't even see the people from this high.)

Dianne here:  the rock formation above looks like a giant cairn, doesn't it?   To get a sense of how large it is, you can see it in the zoomed-out photo below.   I'm highjacking Roger's blog to add three of my favorite photos of this day:

Back to Roger....

We did not want to leave, but we wanted to get home before dark.  

Back into the woods....  

This lichen on some of the lower, dead branches of the pine trees was literally fluorescent green.  Looked like it might glow in the dark:

Almost stepped on Chip (or Dale).  This little fella held his ground in the middle of the trail as I walked by.  He then scared the bejesus out of Dianne as he darted past her left foot.  Dianne did one of the classic whoops that she does when she is startled.  She usually saves the whoops to make sure that I don't drive off the road :-)

Dianne again:  Don't you believe that smiley face above.  Roger has threatened to blindfold me when we're driving the motorhome so that I won't be so "helpful" from the passenger seat!

Dianne's pedometer indicated that altogether we walked close to 8 and a half miles this day.  Our muscles felt tired as we pulled into the campground just as the sun was setting.  What a great first trip into Yosemite National Park!
The Whippet (barn cat) Picture of the Day is actually an image of Big Chuck lounging in one of the many places where we do not want him to lounge.  Today - on our mail on the dining table.  He likes to sleep on those crinkly surfaces.

1 comment:

John and Judy said...

Beautiful! We were originally going to head down to Yosemite next week but recently changed our plans to stay in the NW until the end of the month. It's definitely on our bucket list...maybe next year!