Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life begins where your comfort level ends.

Friday -- February 16th my cousin and I woke up in Oakhurst, CA. excited for what adventures the day was going to bring. After a month of anticipation we were finally going to travel into the depths of the Yosemite National Forrest. The images we have dreamed of through photographs was getting ready to come true. And you can only hope they are as beautiful in real life as they are captured through the lens of a camera.

Yosemite is huge, and we wanted to see everything. However, there was one little gem we were anxious to see if we were going to get lucky enough to spy. Horsetail Fall, a small, seasonal waterfall on the east side of El Capitan. The waterfall is hard to spot, however, during the last two week of February, if the conditions are juuuust right when the sun sets, the light bounces off the water and gives the illusion that the waterfall is on fire. Now what on earth are the odds, that we just happen to be going during the last two weeks of February. All we can do is hope that we are lucky enough to see Mother Earths creation.

Excited we get up, dress, and head to get some breakfast at the hotel. To our surprise it was not like the normal continental breakfast you are used to, thats normally in a lobby and you have a delectable selection of cereal, coffee, juice, bagels, danishes and if you're lucky that cool waffle machine. We are greeted by a hostess and taken to a table where a server is to take our order. Pretty sweet if you ask me. I had oatmeal and ashley had eggs, bacon and potatoes. We didn't have to pay anything but left her a five dollar tip, and off we were!

It was twenty dollars to get into Yosemite but that paid for the week surprisingly. We could go one of two ways. Right which lead to Mariposa Grove of the Giant Sequoias or to the left where you had Yosemite Valley -- home of El Capatain, Half Dome, Mirror Lake and all the famous water falls. As well as Badger Pass Ski Area. We decided to go to the left where that was where all the main stuff was. Traveling into the park took a long time. Twisting mountain roads with snow accumulating on the side of the banks. Signs for falling rocks, and warnings for icy roads eased us as whipped through the mountains. The sights were absolutely beautiful. It was unfortunate really though because every time there would be a beautiful clearing of the vast lands below us there was no where to turn out. And the places where you could turn out were either A) on the opposite side of the road, or B) you couldn't see shit. 

Finally after we thought we were on a road to no where, and were continuously climbing altitude, we pass through a tunnel....

Where everything opened up right in front of our eyes.

It sure is amazing how quickly you can jump out of a car to see nature. You almost can't stop the car fast enough.

The granite rock right above my head is El Captain, and the mountain right in the middle is Half Dome.

Yosemite Valley -- Looks like a post card doesn't it?

After we were welcomed in by such a beautiful view we continued on our way to find more natural treasures. And needless to say... I was excited!

Not long down the road we were greeted by Bridalveil Fall. One of Yosemites most prominate falls, and viewed by millions of viewer each year. The fall is 617 feet tall and has falling water year round. When the wind blows just right the fall drifts off to the side giving the impression of a brides veil blowing in the wind. The Ahwahneechee Tribe believed the Bridalveil Fall was home to a vengeful spirit named Pohono which guarded the entrance to the valley, and that those leaving the valley must not look directly into the waterfall lest they would be cursed. The Ahwahneechee tribe also believed that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Fall would imporve one's chances of marriage. Maybe breathing in that mist helped me out a little bit... or maybe it just froze some more ice layers on to my cold heart... guess we'll find out.

The Ahwahneechee Tribe was residents to Yosemite Valley for Centuries. The European-American contact began after 1833. In 1851 during the Mariposa WarCalifornia State Militia troops of the Mariposa Battalion burned Ahwahnechee villages and took their food sources. After some bloodshed in 1852, the Ahwahneechee left Yosemite and headed towards eastern California.

Bridalveil Falls

Getting up to the fall was tricky, and very slippery. With the temperature and all that mist the side walk was nothing but ice. Ice and an incline tend to make things difficult. But there was no stopping us!

This log was near the fall. It was beautiful, so old and thousands of names have been carved into it over the years. I had my knife with me of coarse, because I don't go anywhere without it -- but it was in the car. Boo! 

We were in search for Horsetail falls. We had read up online that to find the fall, look for a bunch of people standing in a meadow for no reason. Umm O.K? We drove for a few minutes, and we found a meadow, and a waterfall, that we thought was Horsetail, but we realized it was Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is often referred to as a two-stage drop, but is really broken into three sections. An upper fall, a middle cascade, and a lower fall, and is measured the highest fall in North America.

The total fall from the top of the upper fall to the base is 2,425 feet ranking in as the sixth highest waterfall in the world. But with recent discovery of Gocta Cataracts in Peru, it appears on some lists as seventh.

This area was just beautiful. We spent quite some time here. It was absolutely beautiful to photograph. 

The granite formations were so powerful when capture through the camera. I could not stop.

Everything was so peaceful in this area. There was a picnic area past the bridge, which we went over to for a bit. But mainly we stayed in this area walking around on the bank of the water, joking around about not falling in because we wouldn't go in after each other. The water was so clear it was absolutely immaculate. You could not possibly find one flaw in this entire park. 

After we hung out here we went to find the gift shop where we went ape at. Between grabbing everything from Naked's, Starbucks Double Shots, to beef jerky. We couldn't forget our souvenirs though. I came out with one hell of an amazing shirt (picture at the top of this post). I think my "Hike Naked, it adds color to your cheeks" shit will be retired now. But I was super stoked to find this one. If you know me, you know there is one thing that I love more then anything else, and thats a bomb ass tshirt. I always gotta get one everywhere I go. And I always have to seek out the perfect one. But other then food, and t-shirts, we got postcards, magnets, stickers, hand warmers... a puzzle maybe? Ya know... the necessities!

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