I’ve never been to Yosemite, but it’s been etched into my adult mind in the same way that the Titanic and Dinosaurs were etched into my young mind. It’s a myth, a legend. The greatest place for traditional rock climbing in the world, and arguably the birthplace of modern climbing itself.
Feats of strength and endurace took place here; first ascents of climbs that no one thought could be climbed by human hands..
Brilliance of engineering even happened; the creation of Cams, and many other unique pieces of protection.
Yosemite is greater than life, in my mind. But I’ve never been there. Until this trip.
I started Wednesday in Utah, among the towering sandstone cliffs and desert sands. My tent was clogged with find sand, and my mind was full of big-wall climbs that I needed to try.
I drove through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and remembered the sheer scale of what was to come in Yosemite.
Then I started into Inyo National Park, the non-fee park surrounding Yosemite (as far as I can tell; I don’t have internet while I’m writing this post, so I can’t actually check). I saw mountains, dear reader. I saw real and true Mountains. Mountains that New England doesn’t have; the closest I’ve ever seen before was out in New Zealand, when I was hiking up Mt. Hutt…
These were cliffs wreathed in clouds, with thick snow caps even in the middle of June. The granite sides of the mountains were sharp and sheer; not the forested flanks of the White Mountains.
So I stopped. Often.
I took pictures. Hundreds.
I saw the man-made lakes, and the hydroelectric plants that feed power to the citizens below. I gawked at waterfalls. And then I entered Yosemite itself.
I can’t describe it, honestly. The closest thing that I can say is a note from The Lord of the Rings… a piece that was in the books, that was left out of the movies. It’s a prophecy, regarding an Elf. Legolas – Should he ever hear the call of the Seagulls, he will never be content in Middle Earth. He’ll always feel the pull to leave, and enter the land of the undying.
Seeing Yosemite is, for me, the call of the gulls. I need to climb here. I need to live and hike and explore and Experience this place.
This feeling kept growing in my chest as I drove through the park. The peaks called, and thousands of beautiful climbs beckoned to me, even after I’d checked into the campground and set up my tent…