One of my favorite places on earth is Yosemite Valley. This place should definitely be on your list of places to see “before you die.” It was made famous in the artwork of Ansel Adams, and it is truly spectacular. The view from “Inspiration Point”, as you enter the valley, is one that you will never forget. Half-Dome sits in the background, above the valley floor, with Cathedral Falls on the right and massive El-Capitan on the left. The valley itself is a small area tucked away in the High Sierra mountains. It is as if “The Maker” carved out a valley in the granite mountains with an enormous knife. I have been fortunate in my life to have seen many beautiful places, but this is the place that I love the most. God, whatever you conceive, must have been extremely proud to have made such incredible beauty. From the valley floor, which is carpeted with Lodge pole pines, both sides of sheer granite rise straight up about 3,500 feet. I never fail to be hugely impressed as I stare in wonder at the valley walls. The waterfalls plunge off the edges and often disappear in a mist before they strike the valley floor. It is amazing. The Merced River flows swiftly down through the valley floor and it is mesmerizing to lie next to the river and gaze up at the sheer granite walls of the valley.
After leaving the valley, a traveler may wander a few miles south and behold an enormous grove of giant Sequoia trees. These ancient trees are a wonder to view by themselves. They were small saplings when the Romans ruled the Mediterranean. The limbs that have fallen off are often as large in diameter as the largest trees here in the East. I, can walk by a fallen trunk and the top is way above my head, and I am six feet tall. The only thing that saved them from the loggers, in the early 20th century, is that they tend to splinter into pieces when they fall. There are many beautiful and wondrous places to see on this Earth, but this place is a must.