In the last week in August, 2004, my son Michael & I did a backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park, starting at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows, going over Cathedral Pass, eventually climbing Half Dome, and the next day descending to Yosemite Valley. Weather was perfect the whole time. I can't say enough about how wonderful a trip like this is for the soul . . . the Sierras are one of our most valuable national treasures, and one reason I know I can't ever completely and permanently leave the United States . . . hope these pictures inspire some of you to go experience this, too.
Can you see why I wanted to share these? Above is a view from above Cathedral Lakes, heading up to Cathedral Pass, at about 10,000 feet. I didn't have a wide-angle lens, but thanks to digital technology, could take 3 pictures & paste them together easily to make one super-wide angle . . .

"Long Meadow," south of Cathedral Pass--this slopes gently down to Sunrise High Sierra Camp, where we pitched our tent the first night.

Michael enjoying a well-deserved rest . . .I've gotta admit, he outpaced me almost the whole way. Hell, I just turned 61, who cares?

Cathedral Pass, looking back northwards to far-off Tuolumne Meadows, where we started . . .


Sunset scenes from Sunrise High Sierra Camp . . . The colors kept changing, and so did the mood, in stunning complexity


Third morning on the trail, cheerfully traversing a rare level section . . . you can see the back of Half Dome in the distance.

As we were getting close to the actual final Half-Dome push, thee were a lot of views like this of the northern end of the Valley floor, the Merced river snaking through.

By the time you've gotten here (the top of "quarter dome," the hardest part is behind you . . . but the scariest part is in the next picture: the cables that you hang onto while making the final ascent.

The ant-like creatures going up the rock are actually people holding onto those cables. The granite is a lot slipperier than it was when I last climbed it (age 21!), because of all the rubber that's rubbed off people's boots. Not a horribly exhausting climb, but just a little tricky.

Mike at the top (yes, he made it up before me, natch! I have to think hard to remember how hard it was to drag him up Yosemite Falls 3 years ago. He has gained about 5 inches and lost quite a few pounds since then!!!)

click for larger view . . .

What a great trip! (see Mike's cartwheel, below)

Click here or on this picture to get a bigger view of people on this overhanging ledge, known as "The Diving Board."

And if you think you're too old to do it, (the hike, not the cartwheel!) please note that one of the people out on "the diving board" is a 75-year-old grandmother from Reno. No jive!

Hey, come on, we're waiting! Up this way!