Friday, April 15, 2011

The Promised Land

I have been to the Promised Land

and it is good.

The skeptic in me has always put aside Yosemite as "just another tourist trap" where the idea of going to Yosemite is what draws people, rather than the actual place. And assured myself, "I've seen an alpine landscape before, Yosemite is just another scene from the same book..."

Oh, was I mistaken.....

As soon as the Wu and I entered the park, a weight of pure excitment came crashing down on me. My smile shot from ear to ear and my foot pressed down just a little harder going around the almost 90 degree turns switchbacking down to the valley floor. 2 hours to the park gates and half an hour to the tunnel, which then spews you out to the most breathtaking view-point I have EVER (EVER!!!!!) seen in my life (see first picture). The valley floor underneath you with the two most prominent and prolific crags in the world: El Cap to the left and Half Dome to the back right. I was uncontrollable in this state. My giddiness overwhelmed me; it was a miracle Whitney was able to calm me down for a few moments to capture a picture of the two of us. This view was the most glorious view I had ever witnessed....but it wasn't enough, I wanted more and the only way was down into the valley!

The descent into the valley and the meander along the valley walls revealed the gems, the life-blood of Yosemite: the waterfalls.
Every little chink in the solid granite fortress was fully exploited by the omnipotent force that is water. But these were not your average waterfalls. Each one (and there were about 6 just along the valley floor) were absolutely roaring down over 100 feet, crashing and then dividing into multiple levels. Running water is my favorite part of Nature. Personally, I see everything one needs to know about life in rivers, streams and waterfalls. Honestly, I could have found a good sittin' rock and simply watched just one of these behemoths for HOURS!!

We decided to do the touristy thing because all except one of us had never been to Yosemite before. But even the paved trails that totaled maybe 3 miles that we walked boasted some of the greatest scenes of nature I had ever seen. They took us to the base of two waterfalls: Yosemite Falls and Nevada Falls. Jaw Dropping. That's the only way I could possibly describe the landscape. Every five seconds I had to stop and look around to make sure that the view I thought I had just seen behind me was, in fact, real. And that was it: it was difficult to believe this place was real. Everywhere I turned was a timeless Ansel Adams piece. Every granite peak and giant sequoia must have been painted into the backdrop. It could not have been real...

With just this little taste of what the entire national park has to offer, I became hooked. Not on just visiting Yosemite though. I became hooked on truly embracing what California-and especially the Sierra Nevada-has to offer. Yosemite prioritized my goals for the near future and placed climbing at the top. There is now a necessity for me to learn trad, multi-pitch and to just fuckin' get out there! It is not a question of fear or accessibility anymore. I'm 2 and a half hours from arguably the greatest climbing area in North America; I know some people who climb trad; and now Yosemite has instilled in me the passion and adrenaline that will lead me the whole way.

What's stopping me from climbing Half Dome?

What's stopping me from climbing El Cap?

Only myself.

Here's a little slideshow I thought I might add to the end of this post....

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