Tuesday 28 June 2011

Day 87: Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point

Half Dome

Sequoia groves and Wawona hotels are all very pleasant, but it wasn't until I saw this that I realised how justified Yosemite's international reputation really is.  This is just part of the view from Glacier Point.  I'm feeling quite privileged to be here really.

Mike doing his thing with the tripod.

There's lots of people at Glacier Point and even quite a few on the Panorama Trail we followed out to Illilouette Falls.  That's because it's one of the major trails down to Yosemite Valley and Half Dome.  We've been picking up a few interesting stories from the rangers about the consequences of 'crowding' which are so unusual for the American wilderness.
  • Up to thirty years ago, they had a clearing where they dumped trash.  The bears came to eat it and the tourists came to photograph the bears.  They stopped all that, but the bears keep on coming, and they've taught their cubs.
  • They used to let organisations like universities pay to have a sequoia named after them, but they discovered the bark of the sequoias in question was being eroded away by people from those organisations collecting them as relics. People find it so hard to grasp the collective effects of individual action.
  • They used to show people where the sequoia saplings grew, but too many times, the sapling they had shown would disappear the next day.  So they stopped that too.
  • Lastly, where there are more people there just will be more accidents.  At Glacier Point today, I saw a fairly elderly lady fall and came rolling down a pile of boulders.  Fortunately, her grandson, who was quite a big guy, caught her in his arms, just like in the movies!!  The grandmother would not be in good shape now if he hadn't had such quick reactions.

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