Is there a more beautiful place than this, the Ah-wah-nee, or the Yosemite as some chose to call it years ago? I'm sure that everyone who explores the outdoors has "that place", the spot that represents the highest attainment of their personal concept of beauty in nature. In my life so far, there is no place more beautiful than this.
It's a rarely fulfilled desire, the dream to have the most beautiful place in the world to myself. It's just a little selfish too, but hey, I wasn't keeping anyone else from visiting that day. Most seasons it is quite hard to imagine Yosemite Valley as a wilderness. It hasn't been a wilderness for nearly two centuries. But on Sunday, here and there, it was possible to envision the wildness.
After a long dry spell, Yosemite Falls began to flow again a few weeks ago after our December storms. I hope we will have some more storms soon. After a record-setting December, January has been dry. How dry? Zilch, not a drop of rain in the San Joaquin Valley, and none in the 10 day forecast. It is a bit worrisome. Three years of record-setting drought, and this year has the makings of a fourth.
We don't usually stop at the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area, as it is usually packed with people, but not Sunday. It offered wonderful views of Upper Yosemite Falls, and one of Yosemite's less familiar peaks, North Dome (above). I'm pretty sure that if Half Dome didn't exist, or Yosemite Falls, or El Capitan, or Sentinel Rock, or Cathedral Rocks, well then, I am sure that North Dome would be one of the most famous landmarks in Yosemite Valley.
I took a moment to look at the oft-ignored cliff across from El Capitan, the wall of spires between Cathedral Rocks and Sentinel Rock. The names are less familiar to most park visitors, Crocker Point, Stanford Point, Taft Fissures, and again, in any other setting, these peaks and cliffs would be the focus of a national park, rather than the relatively unknown cliffs that they are. If the panorama shot below seems a bit less sharp, it's because it was done with my smart phone rather than my usual camera.
Where is your most beautiful place?