The Mighty Finger of God (Yo, Semite!)

Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, June 27, 2011

It's kind of a shame that, having grown up just a few hours away in Reno, I had never been to Yosemite.  Then again, I highly doubt I would have had the same respect for it that I do now.  But then again, again, if I went when I was younger, my parents would have been driving and I would not have had to deal with the traffic jams that plagued every bit of the main valley!

I hate to start off with the bad, but I'm already on that track, so what the hell... even though I was there on weekdays, it is peak Yosemite season, and the place was a zoo.  One visit greeted me with a probably 15-minute traffic jam at the entry gate.  And you don't have to worry about being pickpocketed because people are packed in so tightly you could hardly move a hand!  Ok, it's not that bad, but it was pretty stinkin busy.  I accidentally wound up sitting in on a ranger talk (I was talking with some fellow hikers and we happened to be in the "Ranger Talk" area, and I would feel like an ass if I had just left).  She talked about lichen.  And boy, was she excited.  Like a dog to a big slab of greasy bacon.  Horrible.  I just compared her to a starving dog.  I'm going to hell.

But I digress...

The comparison is just that she was VERY excited about lichen and how it's formed and what it does and what it means.  A combination of fungus and algae that creates a super-organism with the powers of both.  Beware, someday they shall take over the earth.  (I swear I am not drunk right not, even though my writing style may lead you to believe otherwise.  If only...)  One thing she talked about is how lichen has no ability to filter nasty particulates (such as vehicle exhaust) out of the air.  So any pollutants just go right into it, obviously inhibiting its health and growth.  It seems to be a pretty big deal to the park, as she went on about it for some time.  Yosemite does have shuttles established, however, they are not required.  Trails, lines of cars, probably a mile long at times, litter and rape the park every day.  All just sitting, idling, AC running full blast, blowing nasty little particulates into the air, killing that poor lichen.  I'm sure they've thought about it, and I don't know where they could build parking lots since space is severely limited, but it would be awesome to see them establish a shuttle only season, similar to Zion.  In Zion National Park, during the peak season, private vehicles are not allowed at all.  But again, ample parking is located just a few miles away in the little town of Palmdale.

<stepping off of that soapbox>

Yosemite was amazing!  Looking up the main valley, ginormous, shouting waterfalls on either side, cliffs and domes, El Capitan and Half Dome being the most famous, standing so proud and tall and grandiose.  While out hiking on a rather secluded trail, I had views of the valley, the falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, far off mountain peaks, endless miles of pine and fir, dozens of other domes and features, named and unnamed.  I imagined God, with a titan-sized bowl of crunchy peanut butter, digging his index finger deep into the bowl, dragging it, and creating a massive gouge, forming the main Yosemite Valley.  Crunchy bits of peanuts of various shapes and sizes scattered here and there - Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, North Dome, the Brothers, although rather than tiny bits of peanut, since they are on God's scale, they span thousands of feet across and in to the sky, since then streaked and shaped and characterized by thousand of years of sun and rain and snow.  Lastly, using only the finest of organic whole milk from heavenly cows (happy cows come from Heaven), God slowly pours it around the edges and high points of the massive bowl of peanut butter.  The milk naturally finds the paths of least resistance, twists and turns and babbles and follows, eventually launching off, wooting and screaming, into the colossal gap created by the Mighty Finger of God.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range got crushed with snow this winter, leading to some of the most fantastic Yosemite waterfalls that anyone will ever see.  While on my hike along the ridge, I could clearly see Yosemite Falls across the valley, probably a couple miles away as the crow flies.  But not only could I clearly see them, I could hear them!  Not faint, not quiet, not something you had to stop and actually listen for.  So much water was pouring over and crashing to the valley and rocks below, the force of which was still audible over such a great distance.

Similarly, when I made the short little walk up to Bridalveil Fall, the last 100 feet or so of the paved trail was flowing with a layer of water due to the falls flowing so heavily.  Although surely not an intentional design for the trail, it made me smile, chuckle, take off my sandals, and play in the water like a young boy.  Soaking wet, especially after being showered in the spray of the falls, I began the walk down.  I saw an old man struggling with his cell phone and had a feeling that he may need assistance taking a picture, so I lingered.  Sure enough, after a minute, he asked if I could take a picture for him.  So, I took a couple pictures and then, even though he was only to able to move at a quick snail's pace, I decided to walk with him back down to the parking lot.  We talked about the Park, the traffic, California, the army, his family... all in about 200 feet of trail due to the pace we were going.  It was good for my heart and I can only hope that it brightened his day a bit, too.

Saw one bear.  Cute little fella.  Thought it was a badger or something when I first saw a poof of fur rummaging through the brush.  While at Taft Point, a jut of stone protruding over a multi-thousand foot drop, only protected by some pipe railing, a man came up with his family, briefly looked over the edge, and then had to go sit back a ways due to the vertigo it caused him.  Being a guy, I just had to throw something off of it.  So, I backtracked a little ways, found a good book-sized stone, and approached the railing.  When he saw me heading to the ledge with the rock, the man, despite his vertigo and fear of the height, immediately jumped up and followed.  I gotta see this!" he said with excitement.  (What is it with males and throwing things off of tall places?)  A young couple was there, as well.  When I tossed the stone over the edge, holding our breaths until we heard her arrival far below, we all quietly watched it fall.  And fall.  And fall.  And fall.  And fall.  I never heard it land, and am rather convinced that perhaps it is still falling.  The abyss, the great valley carved in crunchy peanut butter by the Mighty Finger of God, will someday catch the stone and welcome it home.

(Lots of pictures below.  Enjoy!)
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