Friday, November 28, 2008
November 28 - Yosemite See
Breakfast at the Groveland Hotel, then break fast for Yosemite, via Big Oak Flat Road and the first lookout (where years ago I ran into an old trumpet playing student -- no such luck this time, but luck aplenty nonetheless, including a sky that has cleared to virtually pristine from mere sunbreaks), with El Capitan and Sentinel Rock framing Half Dome.
A second vantage point yields a view straight up the Merced to Bridalveil Fall, Cathedral Rocks, Leaning Tower (latter two respectively to the east/left and west/right) and Sentinel Dome (extreme left horizon).
Dropping into the Valley, El Capitan and
Bridalveil et al loom above the dark forest, to the north and south.
Serendipidously, we snake up to (Wawona) Tunnel
View for a classic Ansel Adams vantage
(including El Capitan, Cloud's Rest, Half Dome,
Sentinel Rock and Dome, Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil Fall, and Leaning Tower)
before heading back down to the Bridalveil Trailhead.
Onward to Cathedral Beach, for another perspective on Capitan, plus
Three Brothers (the highest a.k.a. Eagle Peak), all of these to the north, with
Sentinel Rock south.
Sentinel is also the next Beach, revealing Yosemite Falls
and a vertical view of the Rock.
At Leidig Meadow, North Dome and Royal Arches come into view, and
we soon reach Curry Village, with Half Dome rising in the shadows.
The furthest extents today (and these days, any day in an auto) areHappy Isles Trailhead and Yosemite Stables, the latter revealing Washington Column, to the east (right) of North Dome and Royal Arches.
A brief walk into the woods of Tenaya Canyon recalls earlier adventures in the Quarter Dome and Half Dome environs,
then it's west to Stoneman Meadow with Yosemite Falls ahead,
and the bright gates of Tenaya (WC and HD, above shadowy deciduous and evergreens) behind.
Slightly nearing the Falls at Ahwahnee Meadow,
we make a beeline for the Gilbert-Stanley-Underhill-designed Inn,
miraculously finding the second-closest parking space directly west of the porte-cochere,
to take in the view past the lobby,
and settle in for a spell in the Great Room
specifically, the west-facing (and, of course, themed) Mural Room (considerably cozier, darker, and furniturier than pictured here).
The return includes a quick loop through the Yosemite Lodge area (virtually at the foot of the Falls), but the road past El Capitan is closed,
so we circle back over Sentinel Bridge, with one last signature look at Half Dome,
then watch the light fading past the Rock,
the Cap, and
Down the Merced River Canyon we go on Route 140,
out of the Park, past beautiful, little-known prominences,
with ominous sky-cover moving in,
towards the realm of digger pine, chaparral, and grassland,
to the Ferguson Slide 15-Minute (delay) Bridge --
the rocks and
vegetation, here and most everywhere, waiting far longer.
Eventually the wait ends, and we take the detour on the other side of the river (this temporary -- but by now a couple of years old -- paving of the old railroad bed)
around the rock
recrossing the Merced,
heading past burned vegetation,
leaving the canyon for
the inclines around Midpines and Mariposa,
to scattered oaks in the clearing sky beyond Catheys Valley, petrol at $1.75/gal in Livingston (or so we presume...), and
home, where there's time to start the orchestration of Samson and Delilah: V. Disorientation very late (inspiration from Igor Stravinsky's Concerto for Piano and Winds -- and perhaps barbecue, above)