Friday, May 30, 2008

Fogged In

As I mentioned yesterday, my Frommer’s guide said that 95% of visitors to Yosemite never leave the valley. Having finally been to the park, I realize that’s not as sad as it sounds. The valley is a big place, and it’s where the big sights are, including Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. It’s also where most of the dining and non-camping lodging options in the park are located.

Still, I don’t like the idea of acting like 95% of any group, so Pipi and I made an effort to head off the beaten path at least once. On Monday, we learned that the road to the Glacier Point lookout had just opened, so we drove up there, feeling virtuous for having gotten wind of this bit of news.

The drive was beautiful, and I don’t regret taking it. The road climbs over 3,000 feet through the woods, with spectacular views. There was a lot of snow by the side of the road, which I enjoyed seeing as well.

Once we got to the top, though, at an elevation of 7,2000 feet, we couldn’t see a thing. Glacier Point was smack in the middle of a cloud, which is its own kind of charming, but left the famous view of the valley almost entirely to the imagination. Every few minutes the wind would blow some of the thicker mist out of the way, and we could catch an eerie glimpse of mountains across the way, or get a flash of the valley floor. I really don’t regret the trip. The atmospheric fog added something to the landscape that you wouldn’t get on a brilliantly clear day. It was just one of those experiences where you have to adjust your expectations.

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