Photo #1/17 - Photo taken from Glaciar Point, Yosemite National Park. Me snapping a photo of Jahmar, who's snapping a photo of Lani, who's creeping perilously close to the edge. I could hear Wendy yelling in the wind, "Laniiiii, pleeeeeze don't go any farther."
That mammoth chunk
of granite on the other side of the valley is called Half Dome. The next day we hiked to the top of it.
We started at the valley floor
(4000-foot elevation, where Lani would be if she took another step or two) at
first light (6AM).
We set the alarm to get up at 4:30 (still dark out & see-your-breath-in-the-moonlight cold) and drove to the trailhead from campsite. It took all day to hike up & return. 17 miles round-trip. Thank God for Advil. Climbing to the summit (visible from this pic, 8842-ft) represents almost a mile of pure vertical.
You ascend to the summit from the other (back) side of Half Dome (can't be seen from this shot) .. crossing the valley to the right of Half Dome to get there. You hike past two world-class waterfalls getting there (Vernal and Nevada).
The last 900 feet
are up (steep) cables. There are photos of the cables posted on
bulletin boards here at Glaciar Point. But they make the climb look
almost horizontal. No so .. we soon learned. Big surprise when we arrived at the
cables the next day (see next photo).
Many people get so scared that they hike up all day (8 miles), but refuse to go up the last 1000-feet, up the cables..
Lani started college very next month. The baby leaving the nest .. moving to Santa Cruz (UC). For us, this photo symbolizes her stepping out into the big, wide, open, dangerous, magnificent world.
Check out this
photo to see the photo Jahmar took. He won 1st-place in a
local high-school photo competition (black & white). You can see lower into the valley with his
To give you a rough idea of how big that thing really is, you could stand over 4 Empire State building, stacked one on top of another, starting at the valley floor, to get to the top of Half Dome. Everything is so big is Yosemite, that it's deceptive .. like an optical illusion.
Next photo, #2/17 -> Almost there