Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cavorting in Yosemite National Park

"I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate."~Vincent Van Gogh

After our day trip to the ghost town of Bodie, California, my friend Jay and I decided to explore more of Yosemite National Park where we were camped for a week. The entire region was a sensory witness "Nature's Cathedral" so intensely was something we knew we would hold close to our hearts forever. With each glance upward cliffs of granite greeted us and we watched the light slant and change every hour. We had our adventure shoes on, and plenty of good coffee too!

We had a great system of filters and coffee to jump start our mornings at camp

On one of our last days we went to the top of Glacier Point, over 3,000 feet above the valley floor. It was amazing and vertigo-inducing to look down over the edge to Curry Village down below. People scurried about like ants and cars were the size of pebbles. 

The winding climb that took over an hour to reach the top had us giddy with the knowledge that we were in such an amazing place. It was hot...every day was...July in Yosemite challenges your body to maintain a steady temperature, yet the climate is so variable that we were quite cold when twilight dipped into camp. Being in the high Sierras forces you to be prepared for the dramatic fluctuations in temperature from mid day to the middle of the night.

Here is a view looking out from Glacier Point. Half Dome, that sheer granite cliff that has inspired artists and naturalists for ages stands resolutely off to the right hand side. Here is a closer view of Half Dome below. It is hard to believe that it towers 4,744 ft above the valley floor... 

Spending time in Yosemite National Park fostered a new appreciation for the beautiful variation of the earth. It is continually a surprise, an adventure, an invitation to reach out beyond our preconceived ideas about what the world is about. It was my first time in California and I can see why people wax romantic about that state. Granted I only saw a small pocket of it, but an important and significant place. I am pleased that Yosemite National Park is protected, and, while heavily traveled, there is a conscientious attitude there to preserve and enjoy it for future generations. John Muir set a good example and the park simply would not exist without him. 

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, 
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."~John Muir

A view looking down Lower Yosemite Valley

On one of our last days in the Yosemite area, we ventured up to the Northeastern section of the park to Tuolumne Meadows. The drive took us on a winding road over to Olmstead point, which presented gorgeous views of the park from an entirely different angle. All told, we traveled from the top to the bottom of the park over the course of 8 days and did a great amount of hiking. From the vast expanse of the valley floor to standing in the soft shadow of giant sequoia trees, we embraced all that nature had to offer.

 Crazy-gorgeous sky and clouds, with slabs of mountains falling away
 as we drove towards Tuolumne Meadows..

At last...Tuolumne Meadows. Standing here was the highlight of my time in Yosemite..

Tuolumne Meadows literally took my breath away. We walked out on to the emerald expanse, and I could not help but spin around in circles. I felt like a child once again, and looked wide-eyed at the paradise rolling out all around us. Such large spaces of beauty seem to create a vacuum...they seem to possess their own gravity and pull you towards and into them as if with a tractor beam.

 The water was so clear I couldn't help but wade in up to my waist...fortunately I had my Vibram 5 Finger KSO's on!! These little shoes are fabulous...especially if you are a rock climber, or like to amble about or run barefoot. Check out your local hiking store to see if they carry them. Here is their site!
KSO's make you feel like a Nature ninja!

I admired the tenacity of this tree to grow through a crack in the rock. 
Proof that nothing is ever permanent..

We explored the meadow for the afternoon, walking away from the road, towards the river and passed all manner of rocks and trees, encountering almost no one once we left the road. Our entire week in the park had no rain, just hot temperatures, magnificent views and, fortunately, no cell phone reception!

Our last stop was the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias...sequoias are truly exceptional trees...they were almost driven to extinction because their wood is so valuable...I think it is over 300 times more dense than pine. The forest was quiet with a light humidity as we walked in the shade of their shadows...we followed the winding trail down through the forest, marvelling at their immensity and the majesty of these unique trees.

Jay demonstrating the scale of the giant sequoias...

Yosemite seems like a lifetime away now, but yet the memories of spending time here will never leave me. The park thankfully, is protected, and we have the freedom to explore its wilderness to our hearts' content. If you have the chance to visit Yosemite National Park, please do. It has a quiet magic that will cast a spell on you and will not lead you astray. I promise :)

"I will be the gladdest thing under the sun. 
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one."~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Have a beautiful day, wherever you may be...

I now have prints, mugs, magnets of my paintings and photographs available!
 I will continually add new paintings and photographs for purchase. 

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Loved the pictures and the post....The picture of the Tuolumne Meadows provided me with a visual to the song from Into the Wild I love!! With gratitude - N