That's A Big Damn Rock
Friday, September 04, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

The photo in the previous post is one I took several years ago, the last time I was in Yosemite National Park. "Spectacular" is an understatement for that place, it is truly magical and like no other place I have visited in this wide world. The Sierras in general are rather mind-blowingly awesome and once in the Yosemite Valley itself, you pretty much have to be dragged out kicking and screaming. So I thought I'd share a couple fun facts (and my photos of course!) about this wonderland...

El Capitan, that famous rock face that draws climbers from all over the world, is the biggest granite rock in the world. It's 4,000 foot high face is rather impressive to stand in front of; you can see its imposing breadth to the left in a view from Taft Point, with the Merced River winding at its feet.

Yosemite Falls is the 5th tallest waterfall in the world (Angel Falls in Venezuela maintains the top spot at 3,212 feet) with a total of around 2,400 feet. It's fed primarily by snowmelt and in the spring, can easily blow boulders out of place.

The valley itself was carved by uplift and glaciers over 50 million years. That's right, 50,000,000 years. The sheer granite faces, especially the distinctive, clean slice of Half Dome (right) belie the cutting force of millions of tons of ice and water and time.

Add all that to the towering 3,000 year old redwoods in Mariposa Grove, bustling black bears and golden eagles and mountain lions, glacier lakes nestled high in the thin cold air (like Tanaya Lake, below), and beauty of contrast and scale that is enough to break your heart with the majesty of it all and you end up with a place that will touch your soul. This park has been connected to my family for generations, so its story is part of my story too. And I can promise you, if you ever get a chance to emerge from a certain highway tunnel that leads into the park itself and witness the allure of this ancient valley, it will take your breath away.

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