LOCATION: Yosemite National Park. California
This item is part of my Trek America Trip Series.
Ansel Adams made Yosemite an iconic park with his amazing pictures. I can say, without a doubt, that the park is exactly like his amazing art. Beautiful mountains with snow and gigantic pine trees surrounded the area. How could you not fall in love with a place like this?
While I was there, the waterfalls in the main area weren’t flowing. I would have enjoyed that hike, but decided not to do it since they weren’t gushing all over like they usually are. We only had 8 hours in the park and I basically wanted to see it all. I decided to do bits of various amounts of hikes so that I could see a large amount of the park. One particular hike was supposed to have great views of Half Dome from a small lake. The lake was somewhat dried up and didn’t give the great views it promised. The hike to the lake also proved difficult since we took the wrong trailhead (I really need to get better at reading trail maps). Lisa and I ended up having to run through knee high water to get out. After spending a good amount of time in the main Half Dome area of the park, we decided to venture out to the El Capitan area.
Along the main road, they had a climbing guide present. He was giving information about climbing excursions on the coveted El Capitan, as well as providing a telescope to watch climbers on the mountain. You could see belayers and climbers attempting their skill. Some had to sleep on the mountain. In order to do that, they would bolt hammocks into the rock face and sleep. While there, we had the rare opportunity to witness something horrific and incredible all at once; an emergency rescue on El. Capitan.
While climbing, one of the guys slipped and accidentally had his thumb cut off since it was tangled in his rope. The thumb fell below to the feet of the belayer. Rescue services had to get a helicopter to airlift him to the closest hospital. We saw the helicopter hover over top El Capitan, scoop up the climber, place him in an airlift bag and whisk him off until they could get him into the chopper. It was an incredible sight to see, and definitely something that doesn’t happen often. I later found out that the guy was able to get his thumb sewed back on and he is now ok. What an amazing story for me to have for Yosemite though.
After witnessing that amazing event, it was time for us to head back to the camp sight. Yosemite never disappointed though because as we were leaving, we were able to see a baby bear play in the lake and run away. I had joked that I would be around bears during my trip, I was right! Zion has always been my favorite park, but Yosemite definitely puts up a tough competition.
Here is the amazing story of the rescue mission. http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/09/climber-el-capitan-yosemite-national-park-loses-his-thumb-only-have-it-reattached8824
*Thank you to all the great people on my trip for accompanying me on this adventure. It wouldn’t have been the same without you all.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: Yes, such an amazingly beautiful place.
Trek America Travel is HIGHLY recommended. I would do this all over again a million times. www.trekamerica.com