This past weekend I caught a flight out to LAX to finally make my way to Yosemite. I had tried to go this time last year, but a massive forest fire diverted me to Banff and Jasper. Between work travel and weddings, there weren't a whole lot of weekends left for me to go this year before it got too cold so I booked a ticket somewhat impulsively last month and flew out on Friday. I had originally intended to go alone, but ended up picking up a few old friends in LA to join me.
We made the five hour drive from LA Friday after stopping at a Chik-fil-a for a quick lunch. After copious car karaoke and reminiscing, we suddenly found ourselves in the Yosemite Valley. Towering plumes of granite sloping skyward on either side. With just an hour to sunset from the time we entered, we sped toward Glacier Point to catch the last light of the day opposite Half Dome. Switchbacking up the slopes we caught glimpses of dramatic vistas that only whet our appetites for the whole valley. And Glacier Point did not disappoint. Half Dome towered over rolling waves of bare rock where pines grew only when their slopes were shallow enough for them to take root. The fading light retreated swiftly eastward toward the horizon like a door shutting on an unlit room. Low hanging clouds meandered through the valley listlessly. It made me feel smaller than I have in a while.
Unfortunately it began to rain shortly after the sun set. Rather than trying to set up camp in the rain and to avoid making E anymore sick than she was, we opted to take refuge at Curry Village. We got up early to head back toward Glacier Point for the sunrise, but diverted to Taft Point. At about 5am, we made the 1.2 mile hike to the sheer cliffs at Taft and took in another throat catching view of the valley. We took turns stepping as close to the near vertical drops as we dared before vertigo turned us away. The sun warmed us as it ascended and burned away mist and frost. We partook in some provisions and plotted out the rest of our day, weather contingent.
When we finally descended, we were heading toward the Mist Trail and Vernal Falls. Despite the raw, imposing majesty of the valley bathed in the orange glow of dusk and dawn, our visit to Vernal Falls was the most memorable part of the trip for me. Stay tuned.