The Great Outdoors

Here are some photos of various nature scenes to hold you over until you can get out there yourselves.

     Ah, the great outdoors...  It's the place to be.  In the majestic mountains, by the tireless ocean, under the boundless sky, countless people have been inspired to accomplish amazing things.  I must admit that I haven't been out there nearly enough for my liking.  And I know I haven't been to too many places.  But I'd like to share some of the places that I've walked anyways.
     I would have to say that Yosemite is one of my favorite places.  Admittedly, I've only been there once, but that was enough to convince me of its beauty.  I was there during the summer of 1995.  And after the above average snowfalls of the winter, the early summer runoff was much heavier than usual.  This led to spectacular waterfalls and fastflowing creeks.  I took some photos of these waters, but can't share them because I don't have a scanner...  Sorry.  Instead, I'll just stick some random shots of Yosemite until the situation changes.
     During this trip, we were able to hike to the top of Half Dome.  The hike from the start of the trail to the top is approximately 8.5 miles (eight point something, I forgot) and took us across some pretty interesting landscapes, including Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and of course Half Dome.  We had to step through some streams created by the heavy runoff (thank God for hiking boots), cross over the crest of Nevada Fall (of course there was a bridge), climb what seemed like thousands of steps of a rock staircase to get to the base of the Dome, and climb up the round side of Half Dome (again, thank God for hiking boots).  For those of you who haven't been there, the round side is at a 70 degree angle (approximately) and consists of smooth, flat rock.  There are two cables anchored by metal posts to the face, wooden planks spanning across some of the posts.  With gloves on, we worked for a while to get to the top.  It was definitely worth the effort.  The view up there is unbelievable.  We stayed up there for almost an hour just taking in the sights.  Going up to the edge of the shear cliff was such a rush, standing there four thousand some feet above the valley floor.  Just breathtaking!  The top of Half Dome is a lot bigger than I had initially though.  I would say that it spans almost a quarter mile in diameter.  The snow cap you see in these photos was there when we got up there, too.  Reluctantly, we came down knowing that it would get dark if we didn't go.  On our way down, we took the Mist Trail (it's an alternate route that's in the middle of the hike).  This trail took us down the side of Nevada Fall and then down the side of Vernal Fall.  Take a guess why they call it the Mist Trail...  We got pretty wet, but it was quite refreshing, too.  I didn't take many photos on this trail because, well take a guess... (water and cameras don't mix well).  What a great hike!  I'd love to do it again sometime.
     To be continued...

Some of my Pics

In case you're wondering, the pictures about are not mine. I downloaded them because I didn't have access to a scanner at the time. Here are a few of the pictures I've taken. Probably not as nice as the ones I downloaded...

One of three small waterfalls at Big Basin Nat'l Park near San Jose, CA. Slivers of light filter through the canopy and settle on leaves by a stream.  Big Basin.

A striking sunset in Alameda, CA.

The Trails

     Here are some trails for you outdoors people to follow.  I'll add to this list as I find them.