Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy PFF: Yosemite


Thank you to our hostess Beth at The Best Hearts are Crunchy for hosting Postcard Friendship Friday. Today we are visiting the magnificent Yosemite National Park in California.

Giving credit where credit is due:

The back of this card says: "Works Progress Administration (WPA) circa 1939, Artist Unknown. Between 1935 and 1943 the WPA's Federal Art Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public's imagination for education, theater, health, safety, and travel. Due to their fragile nature only two thousand posters have survived. The National Park image shown here is also available in the original poster format from many National Park bookstores." Published by Ranger Doug Enterprises, Seattle, WA.

It's hard to believe that the first tourists arrived in the early 1860's to the "Incomparable Valley." Environmental degradation soon followed. According to the park website, "Parts of the landscape were exploited, spurring conservationists to appeal for protections. President Abraham Lincoln signed an 1864 bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the State of California. John Muir helped spark the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890." As long ago as Lincoln! I did not know that.

The image on our postcard this week is of one of the magnificent domes, made from glacial action and erosional action on the granite (actually granodiorite, technically) bedrock. The most famous is Half-Dome. Another is El Capitan. I believe the view on this postcard is El Capitan.

The hard way up Half-Dome is technical rock climbing up the sheer northwest rock cliff. The 'easy' way is a hike through the woods to the base of the east side (the back side so to speak) and then onto the rock itself with a total elevation gain of 4800 feet (1460 m). According to Wikipedia, the last 400 feet of nearly vertical climbing is up the rock between two steel cables used as handholds, raised on a series of metal poles. The cables are attached to the rock but the poles are not. Look at that photo of Half Dome in profile! No matter where you put the trail it's going to be tough, as you can see in the photo of people on the Cable trail (Pictures from Wikipedia).

Even with all this there can be crowds and up to 1000 people a day have hiked this trail. Therefore, permits are now required to hike this trail on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays when the cables are up (usually Memorial Day through Columbus Day). See the National Park webpage for more information.

There is so much more to say about this park - the waterfalls, the geology, the ecology, the history... but I have a load of work to do!

News: Val won the give-away of these WPA poster cards! Congratulations Val!


papel1 said...

When I saw the words Yosemite I got excited. Would you believe that in less than an hour I can be in one of the most beautiful parks in the country. The falls are beautiful this year and I can be along the Merced River at that entrance within a short drive.

Paul van Yperen said...

Another wonderful postcard of a National Park. Yosemite is a dear memory to me. I loved hiking there and met some deer and a bear. And it was unexpectedly very cold at night. Happy PFF.

Anonymous said...

Oh, can you imagine that climb? I have never been there but have always wanted to explore the grounds ... your post has piqued my interest even more! Our country is full of wondrous places place to explore! Happy Friday and a blesses and blissful 4th to you!

Snap said...

America the beautiful ... perfect for the holiday! Happy PFF!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Absolutely stunning. You'll never catch me going up those cables, but I can dream.

Joy said...

Great picture of the queue of people up the dome but I don't think I would want to be one of them.

Mary said...

When my son climbed the "easy" way up half dome, I didn't even want to think about it. I've only climbed up the Bridal Veil Falls trail, and even that is a little scary - wet, slippery and very crowded! The park is spectacularly beautiful, and worth any minute you can spend in it. How nice for papel1 to be so close!

Postcardy said...

That climb looks much too scary to me.

Dorincard said...

Your post is admirable and educational. We should make more outdoor trips... :)


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