It’s been a busy month which is a good thing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are two from a recent hike up Clouds Rest. Sorry I don’t have many more words to share as I’m heading back to Yosemite for more adventures. Enjoy.
It’s summertime in Yosemite National Park and as the Major League Baseball All Star Game approaches, I can’t help but think of this classic baseball phrase. So here goes.
It’s a hot steamy day and it’s time to step up to the plate. There are two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of your family vacation. The bases are loaded with your wife on third, your son on second, and your daughter on first. After looking at two early strikes, you’ve worked the count to full. Lembert Dome is on the hill looking in for the sign. Heck, Lembert Dome is the hill.
Here’s the pitch. It’s super hot and super crowded in Yosemite Valley and much cooler with fewer crowds in Tuolumne Meadows. Lembert Dome delivers extraordinary views with a formidable challenge that is far from overwhelming. After shaking off a sign, Lembert serves up a batting practice fastball right down the pipe. You’re sitting on the heater and take a mighty swing. Will you connect?
No matter what time you hike the Mist Trail in spring, you will be in for a treat. If you time it just right in late morning, you will see a mist bow on Vernal Fall. Here are photos from two separate recent trips up the most popular trail in Yosemite National Park.
What a week in Yosemite! Storms continued to hit the Sierra Nevada bringing much needed precipitation while creating dazzling light shows along the trails of Yosemite National Park. I was very fortunate to share the Panorama trail with two very adventurous couples from Singapore.
We hiked to Nevada Fall and received a few showers on our return trip. As we neared the trailhead back to Glacier Point, the skies opened up to let beams of sunlight hit Half Dome. A new light and interesting shadows were cast with every turn. Here are a few images from the the day.
It’s not every day you get to follow a legend. This past week I had the opportunity to follow the path of the greatest Yosemite legend of all time, John Muir. It’s only fitting that we honor him on what would have been his 177th birthday today, April 21.
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”
During that first summer, Muir took a job herding sheep through wilderness above Yosemite State Park in 1869. The wilderness Muir roamed was unprotected at the time. This summer trip changed his life forever, and he dedicated the rest of his time adventuring in and later protecting the American West. Thanks mainly to his efforts, the area surrounding the Valley is now part of Yosemite National Park (established Oct. 1, 1890).
I relish every chance I have to wander on that very same North Rim of Yosemite Valley and had the good fortune to lead a private 4 Day Yosemite backpacking trip there this past week. Muir’s words were in my head as we danced from peak to peak in no particular hurry. It is a feeling of ultimate freedom and one I encourage everyone on this earth to experience. I know my photos won’t represent these landscapes with any justice, but I will share them anyway.
I owe my professional life to trailblazers like John Muir and am forever in his debt. For that, I will always honor his spirit, his teachings, and his legacy. Happy birthday John of the Mountains. Thank you for the gifts you left for us all.
If I had a dollar for every Facebook post with a generic proclamation about how kids make their parents proud, I’d be a rich man. Facebook seems to be inundated with these types of posts that end with share if you are proud of your daughter or son. I find irony in these posts because it’s often a photo from someone else that is being shared by people with no connection to the post. Don’t be mistaken, I find it admirable for people to use this as a display of love, but I wonder how many parents stop at the share. What does that mean? My point is it would be much more meaningful if you were a parent that shared unique experiences with your own children that created an interesting photo or incredible memory.
There’s no better way to accomplish that than choosing an adventure in nature with your child to develop their confidence and your relationship as you explore the outdoors together. I had the opportunity to share an unforgettable adventure with my nine year old daughter this past weekend in Yosemite. We planned a hike to the top of Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Point. Before we began the hike, we stopped along the Merced River to gaze upon El Capitan and the Three Brothers. We stood in silence as we absorbed the beauty of the moment.
Our hike up the trail was filled with as many teachable moments as there were photo opportunities. We discussed science, art, and a wide variety of subjects to take our minds off the steep climb. She really enjoyed lunch at our “special” spot where she had a chance to climb on some rocks and admire the face of Half Dome. It was a thrill for me to witness her enduring strength throughout the day, and I was extremely proud to trek with her. On the descent, she thanked me for taking her to such an awesome place and asked when we are going to try Half Dome. She is definitely becoming a true rock star.
Adventures come in all sizes. There are no mileage requirements. Whether you take your child for a walk in the park or just around the block, you are going to appreciate every tender moment you share with them. Then they may actually tell their friends how proud they are of you.
Rain and snow were in the forecast for Yosemite yesterday so we showed some flexibility in rescheduling our events for the weekend. We flip-flopped a photo workshop with an adventure hike, and everything worked out perfectly.
As the leader of the hike, I was thrilled to be greeted by fresh snowfall as I entered the park. It was nothing more than a tease, though. The storms never materialized for more than twenty minutes.
I was excited to photograph a few partial clearings in the morning, but for most of the afternoon, the skies were gray and flat. Of course, on my way home, I noticed more clearing skies. I was already running late so I wondered if any photographers were able to capture some drama. Here are some of the panoramas I was able to capture in the morning and early afternoon.
Last week it rained for a couple days, and then it stopped. Soccer practice ended, and we were off. Making it to OMG Point is quite an adventure for a 4 year old who was up to the challenge. Sure, we hiked back with the aid of headlamps, but the memories and the burgers were worth it. Here’s a view of the setting sun from the point.
Yosemite and California are in desperate need of more precipitation. There is no doubting that fact. Last week’s storm helped but was just a proverbial drop in the bucket. This past weekend I had the opportunity to hike in Yosemite Valley in short sleeves during a very mild President’s weekend. It’s awkward to feel guilty for enjoying a Yosemite hike on a beautiful winter day, but if life throws you a can o peaches, you might as well enjoy them. Here is a panorama image I captured of El Capitan from the Merced River.
On Thursday I had an opportunity to do something I’ve never done before in Yosemite, summit Half Dome in February. After carefully selecting a group of friends, we set off on our journey from the trailhead parking lot. We were so confident we’d be back in about 8 hours, but something happened along the way. We were having too much fun. We spent an extended period of time on the summit celebrating several milestones including a birthday, a first winter ascent for 3 team members, and my first February climb up the cables. This is significant for me because I have now been atop Half Dome in every calendar month. When I took this photo of Pat descending the cables, I didn’t realize how much I liked the image. This was the day before the great storm of 2015 so the clouds were dancing all around us.
Here are some other panoramas from the day including one from a place I call Motivation Point and two other from the summit. This day confirmed many of my feelings about friendship & teamwork and also helped us all realize how fortunate we are to live in such an extraordinary place. To have the ability to wake up and take a short drive to hike Half Dome is is one of the great benefits of living in the Sierra Nevada.
Contact us soon if you want to join us for a Half Dome hike and take your own dramatic photographs. The permit lottery begins in March.
For my final Panorama update of 2014, I’d like to share photos from my last foray into the Yosemite wilderness this year. The trip began at Badger Pass as we loaded our packs, put on our snowshoes, and hiked along the Glacier Point Road on a clear, crisp December morning. Our plan was to spend 3 days enjoying the iconic scenery above Yosemite Valley on the South Rim. My guests were a pair of adventurous Europeans making the most of their holiday visit to the US.
We were well prepared for this excursion but there is no real preparation for the cold overnight temperatures we experienced both nights. Fortunately, the wind was low, and the conditions were right for a winter campfire. Pieter, a former Belgian Scout, was a self proclaimed pyrotechnician who worked tirelessly to build a fire after an inauspicious first (and second and third) attempt. His tenacity earned him the nickname ‘Jack London’ for whom he and Pauline (originally from The Netherlands) were unfamiliar. With the additional heat from our blazing campfire, we spent each evening under the stars with bellies full of gourmet camp food until we were forced to escape the temporary comforts into our unheated tents. On the second night, we agreed to name our site Camp Johnny Cash for Pieter’s masterful work. Everybody loves Johnny.
The nights were rough, but the mornings were sublime. Confidence ruled our second day, and as the sun warmed our souls, we explored the rim along the Pohono Trail. We chose an extended hike down toward civilization at Inspiration Point where we encountered seven people. The trail was crowded. After escaping the masses with a picnic at a semi-secret location off the trail, our group began the return journey with an almost 2000 foot elevation gain. It was hard work, but we were rewarded with some of the most fascinating views of El Capitan and the entire Yosemite High Country any of us had ever seen. Here are some panorama images from our trip.