The cover story of May 2011 issue of National Geographic: "Above Yosemite Like Never Before" introduced me to the extreme sport of "free solo" rock climbing - climbers use no ropes climbing cliffs. I was in awe to see the picture of a climber scaling a negative angled rock thousands of feet above ground, the picture of another climber on the northwest face of Half dome, again without any gears.The story itself was thrilling to read! The in depth discussion on "El Capitan", a 2916 ft tall cliff from its foot struck a deep impression on me.
I wished to see El Capitan in person, and to catch a glimpse of fearless free solo climbers on the face of Half dome. When we drove into Yosemite Valley, the El Capitan was easily recognizable.Unfortunately, August, when we visited, was too hot for rock climbing - there were few climbers on the rocks - free solo or not.
The day after we biked in the Yosemite Valley, we went to El Capitan again by shuttle, and we took a good look at it using binoculars and spotted two mountaineers climbing El Capitan on the "Nose".
The most talked about animal at Yosemite is black bear. Before checking into our tent cabin, we were warned by the park staffs again and again of not putting food or anything with sweet smell (like shampoo) in the cabin because of black bear. We did not see anything in the valley!!
The commonly seen wildlife are deers and nearly domesticated fat squirrels ; looking and listening carefully we saw acorn wood peckers.
We did see black bears near glacier point when we hiked to Sentinel Doom - we saw a mother bear (brown color) and two cubs (pitch black) walking pretty fast near the trail we were on - I did not get good pictures of them.
On the way back from reflection pond under the half dome, I spotted a bob cat and caught it on camera- it camouflaged so well in the rocks.
|A deer in the Yosemite Valley|
|Fat Squirrel was favorite subject of Nicholas|
|Acorn Woodpecker - could be heard or seen|
|A black bear in motion|
|A Bob cat|