Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

First Yosemite Valley One-Day Blitz of the Season

Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you are of the opinion that I’m nuts for doing this sort of thing) I live close enough to the Sierra that by getting up at an absurdly early hour, knowing where all the Starbucks are located, taking a mid-afternoon nap in the car, and playing the radio loudly on the way home… I can do an occasional One Day Yosemite Valley Blitz when the photography demands it.

I did the first one of 2008 yesterday.

In the Prius and on the road by about 4:00 a.m. I arrived in the Valley before most people were up and certainly before much of anyone else had arrived in the park. The waterfalls were quite something. Not only are the usual waterfalls flowing impressively, but all of the smaller and seasonal waterfalls are also in full flow right now. Ironically, some of the “waterfalls you have never heard of” would probably be the centerpiece of a popular state park anywhere else – but here they become an interesting side show for Valley aficionados.

The last Valley event of the day for me was to NOT join the throngs at “Tunnel View,” which overlooks the Valley from the east end of Wawona Tunnel. Instead, I parked my car there and hiked almost a mile and a half up the sometimes steep trail to “Inspiration Point,” where the main Valley overlook was in the days before the tunnel was constructed. An old road (whose bed is still very evident) wound up this steep slope well above Wawona Tunnel.

If you attempt this at sunset, I have a few bits of advice. First, it is steep – though less steep as you climb higher. Take a flashlight or headlamp if you do it at sunset. Even if you leave the point by the time the last light leaves the peaks, you may be hard pressed to make it back to the parking lot before it gets completely dark. Finally, if you arrive at “Inspiration Point” and are less than inspired by trying to see the Valley through a thicket of trees, you are not quite there yet. When you arrive at the old road, head a 100 yards or so to your right and then descend a bit to get to open areas.

You will be inspired.

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April 28, 2008 - Posted by | Commentary

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