Yosemite National Park – Saturday

Well, progress is being made, albeit slowly.  When I got home after spending the day at Yosemite on Monday I got the password for my Airbnb host’s private modem so I am now able to access the internet using my computer to post to the blog (the posts the past two days were made using only my phone).

Saturday was a travel day as I went from Visalia, CA to where I am staying this week near Sonora.  I had not been planning to go to Yosemite on Saturday or Sunday, fearing 3rd weekend in June crowds, but my Airbnb host advised me that one of the local roads which would have allowed me to go around the Park was closed due to problems it experienced over the winter.  So after going near Fresno I drove up Route 41 and, reluctantly, enter the Park.  I had to sit in line for an hour and a half just to get in the entrance gate.  After driving a while I went through one of the many tunnels in the Park and experienced my first “Oh wow” moment, the picture I posted on Sunday.  Here is an even closer look at that same scene:

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As I mentioned yesterday, this vantage point shows the three main attractions in Yosemite, El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the center, and Bridal Veil Falls on the right.  Here, now, is a closer look at all three:

The El Capitan peak towers 3,000 feet over the Park floor with a maximum elevation of 7,569 feet.  It is a popular rock climbing destination and earlier this month two climbers set a new world record by climbing it in less than two hours.  And get this – they did it with their bare hands and NOT using ropes or safety equipment (definitely do NOT try this at home!).  Alex Honnold, who I have seen featured on 60 Minutes and several other shows, and his buddy Tommy Caldwell climbed “The Nose” several times earlier this year, each time breaking their own record.  Well, on June 8 they did it in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 7 seconds.  El Capitan is more than 5 times taller than the Washington Monument and I don’t think I could climb the STAIRS in it 5 times in two hours…

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Here is a picture I found online indicating where “The Nose” route goes:

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(Photo credit: Gripped.com – Photo copyright protected)

As you can imagine, rock climbing – even with safety equipment – is a very risky proposition and El Capitan has many victims.  Two experienced climbers were killed earlier this year when they fell from the face of the formation, and a British climber was killed last year when a large chunk of the rock wall gave way during his ascent.  Base jumping off the top has been banned because of several fatalities.  I prefer to just look at El Capitan from a safe distance, thank you very much.

Way off in the distance is Half Dome:

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I am hoping to get a better shot of it on Wednesday.  This is also a popular rock climbing destination and has it’s victims as well.  As the TV ads used to say “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature”.

And finally, Bridal Veil Falls – one of several falls with that name throughout the United States (we have a rather unique one in western North Carolina, near Brevard, and I saw a really cool one last year in extreme northern Oregon.  They each have their merits.)

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These next two may look the same but were actually taken just seconds apart:

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I spent a good part of the day in the Park on Monday and plan to go back in on Wednesday.  I will have lots more pictures to post, although the bulk of them may have to wait until I get to Reno, Nevada this weekend.  My Airbnb host here warns guests that the internet connection is rather slow.  They actually live in Tuttletown, which even more remote than Sonora, and the service isn’t exactly “blazing fast”.

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