By John P. DeGrazio
Looking up at Half Dome is quite impressive no matter where one stands. I recently had the opportunity to visit the first place I ever hiked in Yosemite National Park, Mirror Lake. On my first wide eyed visit, I knew very little about the majestic peak above me; only that I knew I wanted to be on top of it. The next day I attained that goal, and the idea was hatched to launch YExplore. On the trail, we discussed the idea to take people all around Yosemite to uncover beautiful vistas while learning how to make landscape images with expert photographers.
The scope of YExplore has changed over the years, and we now include a full slate of Yosemite activities while learning about the human and natural history of the park and the surrounding Sierra Nevada. Our goal is to take people to unique areas of Yosemite that are “off the beaten path”, so to speak. While we would probably not take you to Mirror Lake on a busy July afternoon (which was where I was in 2003), it is a wonderful area to explore in winter. Sweeping vistas present themselves wherever you may be in Yosemite Valley, and gazing at Half Dome is a favorite activity on a quiet January morning. Mirror Lake is perfect for images of Half Dome and Mt. Watkins.