The man from Mariposa, who we met in Anchor Bay, when Yosemite was just a dream and the sea was washing starfish on the shore, described the view from Tioga Road as follows:
“The way I see it, its like someone took a giant ice-cream scopp and dug out the tops of the mountains along the ridge”. This description is unrivalled for that is exactly what it SI like, a huge tub of granite=grey ice cream , dug into hungrilywith that scoop, carving out fussures and valleys, gulleys and points in the exceptional tub of granite=ripple.
The afternoon sun casts shadows across the smoothrocky walls, so smooth that a man could slide down without ripping his pants.
I always thought of beinge as a dull colour, a colour one wears when one gets old as skin and har colour fades and no one knows what suits best anymore, or beige to decorate your home when you want neutral tones, and can’t be bothred with colour. But I am wrong, for beige, buff, faun, whatever the coulor is called, I the colour of Yosemite, of Olmstead Point and beyond. And within that beige wonderland, is a myriad of colour, enhanced by the skylight-blue and dark felty-greens. Beige that turns yellow through to grey and brown, to streaky black with hints pf orange like dripping honey that punctuates the bleached moonscape surroundings. A colour like putty, the medium of the glazer’s knife, pressed tight against this window on the World.
A brass topographic model adorns the view-point, the peaks rubbed shiny by a million hands, leaving polished gold. For that it what it is, the peak of Half Dome, with its peaked visor-overhang at sunset IS polished gold.
The 3D model allows you the bird’s eye view, to imagine yourself above the wilderness, soearing high like an eagle, beady eyes looking down. How tiny we must be, standing aloft, gazing down the grey-lined valley, split and sculpted by glacial flow.
Fingers trace the Tioga Road on the sculpted brass, the wind snatches at voices, sounds carry on the wind, languages from all aroundthe world, all here at this melting pot of beauty. Tioga Road in polished brass.
“ You get a sense of distance, of perspective, just look at thos e hills, just look at it, just look at it….” An excited man exclaims, his wonder nd awe caught by others, an infection of the non-medical kind. The mountain wind, quite fierce, rips at the hair, people reach for jumpers and a scarf even though it is 28 degrees. Japanese
pose, Americans talk, Italians get in the way. A know-it-all American points out to varying people where we are on the brass topograph again and again, to unsuspecting people, proud of his heritage and in a vicarious way, claiming it is a his.
Breath short, altitude over $8,000, the air thin. Hike seems laboured, any climb an effort. Engines roar, people come and go, car doors slam. RVs pull up, El Monte, CruiseAmercia, Appollo, RoadBear RV, all having a great time on their once in alifetime holiday.
The sun shifts, the pace quiets, mid-afternoon