I’ve been to Yosemite numerous times… always in love… It’s just such an incredible place. We came in via Tioga Pass from the east, which I had hoped to do during my last route down the Eastern Sierra’s, to no avail. During this unplanned stop in Mammoth Lakes however, the pass was open. Since we were stuck at the back door of Goodyear (see last post) we decided to book a room and “do Yosemite!” together for a couple days.
We stopped a few times along the way. Like Olmsted Point on Tioga Pass…
As we ventured into the valley we came across acres and acres of forest fire burns. We weren’t quite “there” yet, and I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the California fires had burned into this sacred valley. We were off on our boat adventure and far from connectivity most of the summer, so we really had no clue. I was saddened to see the scorched trees as we entered Yosemite Valley.
Thankfully most of the valley was not effected. There were obvious burns, and clean-up piles along the way. That was sad enough, but then we did the short hike up to Yosemite Falls. DRY AS A BONE! Really… hardly a sprinkle of water over the falls. I’d never seen Yosemite in this condition during my many visits. Needless to say… no awesome waterfall shots to share.
We were probably a couple weeks late for the most dramatic fall color, but numerous trees still shined brightly with fall foliage. We did the loop around the valley several times, stepping out from time to time just to enjoy the colors.
Yosemite Falls was bone dry, but Bridal Veil wasn’t much better. The California drought is more than apparent here. Fires are burning throughout the state. As I write this post I’m following the news about the “Camp Fire” in Paradise. So incredibly heartbreaking.
And adding to the heartbreak… we discovered that while we were driving around this valley a young couple lost their lives while shooting selfies at Taft Point, a popular vista here… 3,000 feet above Yosemite Valley. Sadly, stories like this are on the rise.
El Capitan is a notable rock face in Yosemite. Quite popular amongst rock climbers. I personally know only one person who has climbed it. While driving through the valley I goggled it… and those who dare to climb it. (That’s how I discovered the news about the couple who died while we were there.) My search came up with information on a young man who climbed the face “free solo”! Meaning he climbed it solo without any assistance… including ropes or safety devices. And where most people take days to do this climb, this young man did it in less than four hours! He was the first to do it. I’m thinking we may be reading about other attempts in the near future, but most of those stories will have tragic endings.
So then we discovered there was a newly released movie about this incredible event… and it happened to be playing in the one Mammoth Lakes theater while we were there!! It’s amazing! The story… and the movie! A must see in my opinion… Free Solo.
Clearly, our visit to Yosemite was not well timed, but it’s such an amazing place we enjoyed it just the same. If you haven’t been yet… plan for spring… or early summer… when the falls are flowing and the valley is bursting with spring color.