Day 27; Sentinel Dome and Big Trees!
Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
32Trip End Aug 23, 2009
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We drove into Yosemite Valley, and did a quick tour of the loop so we could find where Io would be doing his rock climbing tomorrow. Yosemite Valley is amazing. It's dominated by El Capitan, a 3000 foot granite rock formation. Lyn had always wanted to see this, and couldn't wait to get out of the car with the binoculars to look for climbers. It's got numerous routes up, all of them difficult. it can take climbers 4-5 days to climb it; they sleep in little cots harnessed to the rock mid air. Mad! What's even madder is that some climbers free climb it. That means they climb 3000 vertical feet with no ropes or harnesses! Words fail me!
The Valley floor is beautiful, consisting of forests, meadows, and the fantastic Merced River, surrounded on all sides by cliffs,with the famous Half Dome dominating the Eastern end of the Valley. I love Half Dome, it looks like someone's taken a knife and sliced it in half down the middle. It's 4737 foot above the Valley floor, yes, and some strange people hike and climb it, using cables to haul themselves up the last steep 400 feet. There can be 1000 people climbing it per day on a Summer weekend!
After viewing the Valley, we drove up on the Glacier Point road, to hike the Sentinel Dome trail. This walk was lovely, through a pine forest,and up to the top of the granite Sentinel Dome, where you get amazing 360 degree views of the Valley floor, El Capitan, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. It was hard work pulling up the granite slope to the top of the dome in the 100 degree heat, but the view was well worth it, and we were so high up there was a lovely breeze!
We spent about an hour up there, just soaking it all in, and, of course, taking photo's of the World's most photographed dead tree; a Jeffrey pine, made famous by the Ansel Adams photo.
We trekked back down, and drove on to Washburn Point, and Glacier Point to take in the views, then tried again to see these elusive Giant Redwoods. Luckily, the car park was open and much quieter, so we were able to have a walk and try to take in the size of these trees; the oldest living things on the planet, some are 2700 years old. Some were HUGE; there was no way you could hug them! The smell of pine was awesome.
We drove into Mariposa and went to a pizza restaurant. It had been a good day, but it was time for counting shooting stars in the hot tub again........