Monday 20 May 2013: Moonrise, Yosemite
This is my slightly pathetic tribute to Ansel Adams, whose gallery we visited in Yosemite Village this afternoon. Like the Rowell gallery in Bishop yesterday, it was wonderful to see the actual prints from the master's original negatives. His pictures leave you shaking your head in wonder (yup, escaped unscathed again, but it was sorely tempting).
The Californian landscape is turning out to be one of superlatives, but the trip over the Tioga Pass, where the entrance point is at 9,945 feet, and down into Yosemite Valley demands recalibration of the wow factor. It is green; pine trees and lush meadows abound. It is wet; rushing rivers, bubbling creeks and serene lakes also abound. And it is - mountainous seems not strong enough a term. If you remember your mother's Lofty Peak Flour, it's like having Lofty Peak flour bags sellotaped to the car windows. You can see why people rent soft-tops; even with the sunroof fully open, we strained to see everything. This is a place for sore necks!
I was driving, and Madame kept muttering, "Amazing." And that's before we saw any waterfalls. We only visited Bridal Veil today, which is just out of this shot to the left. It defies description.
The wildlife too is fascinating. We watched a very tame and photogenic Marmot pose for dozens of tourists, including us. Madame spotted Mule Deer in the roadside forest, which led to a rapid u-turn into a turnout (layby) and me crawling through the vegetation in a reasonably successful attempt to capture them (on camera - I'm beginning to understand why people buy long lenses). Once they spotted me, they posed for a few portraits, then danced off through the forest with an elegance that made me look silly.
It would be difficult not to be moved by this magical place. That John Muir knew a thing or two.