Yosemite from 36,000 Feet

Whenever I fly home to San Diego from Sacramento I try to sit in a window seat on the left side of the plane. When the weather is clear, and the route of the plane is just right, I have a phenomenal view of Yosemite Valley. Such was the case when I came home last Friday:

Yosemite from Plane 1

As always, please click on the image and get a larger view. For those of you that don’t recognize the two giant landmarks in Yosemite, I have pointed them out in the image below.

Yosemite from Plane 2

It takes just a few minutes to fly over this most splendid part of our state, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can miss it entirely. However, I have spent many hours looking up from the base of the valley on El Capitan, a sheer wall of thousands of feet. Climbers spend many days scaling this vertical wall.

A year ago I hiked up Half Dome. It was a fantastic hike and a great adventure which I described in the post behind this link.

I am fascinated by different perspectives we humans get to have. Being on such a massive mountain, being totally at the mercy of our gear and our training, we feel like ants in the grandiose splendor of nature. Yet, hours later, for a small amount of money, we can be on an airliner cruising over these massive mountains at 36,000 feet, making them look like tiny anthills themselves.

This is how we will feel a few hundred years hence when we have figured out how to make starships, when we leave the solar system and we look back on that pale blue dot that is the entire earth.

It’s at times like this when I feel fortunate to be alive in an age where I have both the opportunity to climb a mountain like Half Dome in the wilderness, and then fly over it as if I were a god.

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