I am now the proud owner of an annual pass for all of America’s fine national parks, as well as the ones that are not as fine. I guess that I need to do some traveling this year to get my money’s worth. I’m doing pretty well so far, though. In the past five days I went to three national parks.

My parents at Bridalveil Falls

My parents came prepared.

My parents, Ben, and I left early Saturday morning for Yosemite Valley, the diamond of national parks: incredibly striking on it’s own, but a bit of an abomination when you see what it has become owing to the popularity of it. We didn’t spend too much time in the valley, but we did watch the climbers up on El Capitan for quite a while. I made it up about a foot in my chacos, free-soloing of course.

Lisa Conquering El Cap

Lisa Conquering El Capitan

We checked out a lot of waterfalls and scenic vistas, but the highlight of the day was the view from Taft Point. The point juts out high above the valley (elevation 7500 ft). From the top, huge fissures cut through the granite. Hikers can look out at the valley sprawling below them from the side of a fissure or from behind the small guardrail at the edge of the cliff, or, if they are like me, they can army crawl their way to the very edge and lean their head over so that the view is not out, but straight down the 3500 feet to the valley below.

Taft Point

Taft Point

Yosemite is incredible. The scale is out of proportion with everyday life. Instead of pebbles, there are boulders. The trees pictured below are piddly, teensy things when compared to their sequoia cousins in another section of the park, and for as large as the trees are, they are dwarfed by the solid granite face of the canyon wall.

Yosemite Falls

A sense of scale

Trees and Yosemite Falls

Piddly, Teensy Trees