There is something about those sheer granite walls of Yosemite Valley that draw adventure seekers from around the world. Even the park's best known early resident, John Muir, couldn't resist. He writes of body-surfing an avalanche in his book 'The Yosemite'. Had the same thing happened today, Muir would certainly be prepared with a video camera to capture the whole thing on tape!
A video camera is standard equipment today for adventure seekers. Services like YouTube have taken the art of self-promotion (a.k.a. bragging) to a whole new level. Have a peek at these three videos all hosted on YouTube:
(Note: I have heard that YouTube and its videos are blocked by the Department of Interior firewall, so, sorry Park Service visitors, there's probably nothing to see here.)
#1 - Hang Gliding in Yosemite Valley -
Yes, this is legal! I talked with the Park Service today which said the sport is mostly self-regulated, but that there are some rules. Want details? Talk with the folks at the Yosemite Hang Gliding Association. A Yosemite spokesperson told me that she didn't see hang gliders that often in the park, she estimated 2 or 3 every couple of weeks. The views are pretty amazing from the vantage point of that glider. It's really something to look down on Yosemite Falls like that. Found via the Yosemite Blog.
#2 - Slacklining 3000 Feet Above the Valley Floor -
NOTE: There is some swearing in this video, more than a few "f" words come out of this guy's mouth as he attempts this high-wire act. I'd probably say the same things if I kept falling off that rope, time and time again like he does. The challenge of this activity is pretty obvious, not really something I think I'd ever dream of attempting.
#3 - Hiking Half Dome the Day of a Fatal Accident -
This video was shot June 16, 2007, the day that Hirofumi Nohara died on the mountain. Don't worry, there is no gory footage of the accident, but the camera does capture the park rescue helicopter arriving on the scene. Quite honestly, the most amazing part of this footage is to see all of the people on that rope-ladder. It is unreal. That many people on that steep pitch all hanging onto a single rope just does not look like a situation I'd be comfortable with. The experience of the video is so far removed from my expectation of a park visit, I'm not sure I'll ever make it to Half Dome. Found via the Yosemite Blog.
What's next? I'd love to see a video of a hang glider take off from Glacier Point, pick up a hiker from the top of Half Dome, and then drop them off on a slackline next to Yosemite Falls. Someone will do it, I'm sure.