Friday, May 24, 2013

Wilderness Adventure: Part 2

After an awe-inispiring stroll through the Giant Sequoias of the Mariposa Grove, and a deliciously sustaining snack, I was ready for my next Yosemite destination: Glacier Point.

Glacier Point is a viewpoint, high upon the end point of huge rocky cliff, that affords brilliant panoramas of the park. Waterfalls, granite rock formations, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevadas are jaw-droppingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I couldn't wait to get there and take a billion pictures.

However, as I drove out of the parking lot in the lowlands of the grove, what stood between me and my glorious destination was 36 miles of steep and winding mountain roads. Half of that distance was on the most treacherous conditions imaginable: two very tight, shoulder-less lanes of traffic, one shoved up the side of the rocky cliffs, the other offering a complete and utter lack of guardrails. One false move and it's down the steep mountainside for you.

Steeling my nerve, I chomped down the last of my beef jerky and entered my Zen zone for the hazardous drive. An hour or so later, I safely reached my destination, no worse for the wear, and hopped out of my car to take in the sights.

How's that for a glorious sight? The cold winds were whipping about, making me wildly homesick for the tropical Malaysian heat, but the dark, moody clouds created gorgeous and dramatic atmosphere. Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance. Like every other person in sight, I grabbed my camera and started shooting.

That gigantic rock formation in the center of the shot is Half Dome, one of the geologic wonders of the park. To the right of Half Dome are two of Yosemite's waterfall superstars: Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall. When I visited Yosemite on my honeymoon, we hiked from the valley floor, past the lower Vernal Fall and on to the top of the upper Nevada Fall, and they feel like old friends.

At this point in our visit, the thunder grew more menacing, and lighting strikes began to cross our field of vision. Uh oh. We retreated to the car for safety. Driving rain turned to hail, and the storm raged mercilessly while we fished a soggy block of cheese from the cooler, whittled it down to the relatively dry and edible core, and ate as if we were starving. This was one of those hilariously miserable moments that make road trips so memorable.

A half hour later, the electrical storm gave way to harmless rain and wind, so we determinedly made our way back to the cliff's edge. This photo is not really any different than the ones I took earlier, but  it speaks volumes to  me of a stormy afternoon's wilderness adventure 

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Check out the rest of my Yosemite travels:

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