Another run at Yosemite

Instead of going back into the ever popular Yosemite Valley, I followed California Highway 120 east.   After driving through quaint little mountain communities like Groveland and Big Oak Flat, I approached the beginnings of the signs of the very large rim fire in September.

Pulling off to take a picture in one of the side road pull-outs, a U S Forest Service guy quickly pulls up in an official truck and tells me I can't even stop there to take a picture.

"I can't even take a picture??", I asked.

"No, you have to go another quarter mile to a designated area."

I didn't want to argue with him.  How long have foresters been armed with assault weapons?

That was pretty much the way it was all along the next few miles until I got officially into Yosemite National Park.

I had never been on Hwy 120 east, traveling north of the famed valley.  Admiring every pull-out, I often walked down little trails when I saw other cars parked.  Really, I wanted to see waterfalls but this time of the year, I was lucky to see water at all.

At one point I took a little hike to the stream bed for the source of the iconic Yosemite Falls. Yep, it was dry as a bone and hard to imagine it flowing in the spring.

Again, stopping often, I was always amazed at how a seed from a tree could find it's way into a crack in all that granite and make itself a home.

Passing by the eastern side of the Yosemite Valley, I saw on one of the information stands that there was a lake a couple of miles on east.

Tenaya Lake was a pretty sight coming down from the peak at Olmsted Point.

I kept inching on and found myself in the Tuolumne Meadows before figuring out it might be time to turn around   This little part of this stream was just full of little 7- 8 inch trout.  Within weeks, this place will be 6 feet in snow.

On my way back, there was a couple of vehicles parked on one of the wide spots,  so I slowed down and pulled over to see what the attraction might be.

Up on the side of the huge rock, I thought I saw a movement.  Taking out my zoom lens, I focused in on what turned out to be one adult male and two smaller females, one of which (if not both) were merely children.  Thinking to myself, this is insane, I watched quite a while.  After all, I was 20 years old before I knew there was anything taller than the Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge.

As a matter of perspective, the first shot is of the rock itself.  The people are barely visible but are in the exact center of the photo.

As I watched, I realized they were about to rappel down.

The male went first, then the two girls after him.  Judging from the size of the helmet on one, this has to be a kid in the 8 or 9 year old range.  Not sure if you can zoom in or not. Just click on the photo and it should enlarge.

Watching two kids do this made me think that hitting a ton on a motorcycle or going into a cave underwater with a shark was very mild in comparison.

Apparently it wasn't that big of a deal to some because another truck pulled up, the guy and girl got out and looked for a moment then began pulling out their own ropes and equipment.  No thanks, I'll stick to level ground, thank you.

On stopping at the gates at Yosemite, I saw a sign telling me that everything but the actual valley parks would be closing November 1, so I'm glad I got a chance to visit that part of Yosemite.

Determined to find some evidence of fall colors, Yosemite left me with this parting shot.