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Monday, August 3, 2015

Day 50: El Capitain (7/24/15)

I woke up a bit later than I wanted to...chilly mornings in the mountain! Service and data here is so limited that I had no idea what to expect during the day as far as weather goes. On my way to Yosemite Valley (about an hour drive) I hit the same construction I did yesterday which further delayed me from my destination. I got ice and gas on my way (there are only two gas station in the park so I try to fill up when I can). I don't know if I mentioned this yet but gas and ice out here are INSANELY EXPENSIVE. I would not be surprised if tons of people out here drive hybrids. I'm talking almost $4.50 a gallon for gas and over $5 for a bag of ice I paid $3 for in Yellowstone. It might be the water shortage out here that drove up ice prices. Crazy the things I notice since I've had to buy ice almost every day on this trip.

I went down to the Yosemite Valley and decided to paint El Capitan. There is a meadow across from the mountain face that was recommended to me by the Ranger. I found a nice shady was a little close to the mountain, closer than it seems in the photos, but I went with it and made it work. I saw a video on Facebook that Google made about climbers on El Capitan (I'd call it El Cap if I was really hip and cool) and this video is awesome. There's a link at the end of this post. I don't really have any interest in this kind of mountain climbing but the video is so cool and inspiring. I think that's why I decided to paint here first.

The face of this mountain is a foreboding , steep, sheer mountain face. The flat planes made it easier to paint but I know not easier to climb. It is mind boggling that people climb this mountain. I really cannot believe it...but the kind of crazy it takes to say "hmm yeah I'll climb that...and I won't use ropes...and I'll do it in xx hours...and..." really pumps me up and gets my adventure juices flowing. Anyway...this mountain face has a rich history with climbers. I'm glad I was here at the time I was (about 2:30 to 5:00) because of the dramatic shadow right down the middle of the mountain. It was really stunning how blue the shadows and how warm the highlights were. I am just loving Yosemite, and this valley is especially grand as you are surrounded by mountains.

I don't have much to say about Bierstadt's rendition of El Capitan...but I think the valley was different then. No road, and much more water in the river. The light is really beautiful in his painting. He emphasized the warmth of the sun on the mountains, which I witnessed today. I finished my painting after the free shuttle stopped running so I had a three mile hike back to my car. It was fine but I lost the path a few times and a huge tour bus of people cheered for me as I walked along the road during one of my ~searching for the path~ phases. I saw some mule deer. They're cute and smaller than the deer in Ohio.

Final thought...please check out the links below! And let me know if they don't work because this iPad copy paste limited service stuff gets wonky. - you can "tour" El Capitan vertically on google maps. - a must watch video about three famous climbers on El Capitan. Inspiring regardless of your interest in climbing.

El Capitan
"El Capitan, Yosemite Valley" by Albert Bierstadt
"El Capitan, Yosemite" by Albert Bierstadt
El Capitan
El Capitan
How many photos of El Capitan can on have?
Never too many. Here's my studio, in the meadow across from El Cap. I was just in awe the whole day.
People climb this!! Incredible.
Mule deer on my hike back.
Light and shadow contrast in the valley.


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