Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chasing After Deer 

We headed back into the park. It was far busier today, on account of it being Memorial Day Weekend.
We parked up and caught the shuttle bus to the foot of the Vernal Falls trail.

There's a very well trodden footpath so there's never any delusion that you're striking out into wilderness country. That doesn't mean to say the trek is without its dangers.
Although there'd been less snow than usual this year, the rivers and waterfalls still looked full enough, and as you approach the Falls, mist fills the air and the path becomes perilously slippery.
One false move and, frankly, that would be the end of you. The path bottle-necks and the crowds thicken - incredibly we saw people wearing flip-flops - and we walked quite high but not to the very top. Girlfriend had an attack of common sense and asked to stop. I didn't mind.

Next we did the Mirror Lake Loop, a nice circular walk which takes you well away from the crowds. Soon it's just you and hundreds of bears hiding on tiptoe behind every tree, all saying "Ssshh! Humans!"
The path takes you directly underneath the Half Dome, which rises almost 5,000 feet above the path, and at seven measly degrees off vertical is the sheerest cliff in North America.

It's all absurdly picturesque. Butterflies flutter by, children laugh and play in the water, people happily potter about in boats. It's like walking round inside a children's picture book.
We saw another bear.
I managed to catch a rare and very exciting sighting of, Mmmm, a cowgirl.

As evening fell we drove up to Glacier Point in time for the sunset. It's another precipitous drive, alarmingly so at points - we saw snow! - and it involves driving fifteen miles away from the valley floor, then fifteen miles back in again, ending at The Car Park On Top Of The World.

The view was completely and utterly spectacular. This snap doesn't begin to do it justice.
And this is what it's like to stand at a railing and look down on a 3,200 foot sheer drop.
People regularly die here.

Darkness was descending. As we left the park, a deer darted across the road right in front of us. I slammed on the breaks and came, like, this close to hitting it.

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