For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Fissures at Taft Point

Sometimes the best way to face your fears is through pure ignorance. Little did I know that on the 4th of July, when I traded the opportunity to watch fireworks for a day hike in Yosemite National Park, I'd come face to face with the edge of the earth. 

Hoping to escape the heat wave and find cooler hiking conditions at a higher elevation, a family member and I drove through Yosemite's south gate entrance, then headed left down Wawona Road. After wending along 17 slow, twisty miles, we reached the turnoff for Glacier Point Road 

This route, only open part of the year due to heaps of snow that blanket the mountains during the colder months, winds up and around for about 16 miles until reaching an eye-popping sightseer destination that perches high above Yosemite Valley. Providing a splendid vantage point behind safety rails, tourists can gawk at the wide, yawning valley 3,200 feet below, while Half Dome and the High Sierras stretch endlessly across the vista 

But before reaching this end-of-the-road destination at Glacier Point, we stopped 9 miles along the way to explore a hiking trail neither of us had trekked before: the seemingly easy trail that leads to The Fissures at Taft Point. I had no idea what was in store for me.  

After meandering less than a mile through tall shady pine trees, scattered with grassy meadows teeming with vibrant green ferns and florid wildflowers, we reached the end of this mostly flat pathway. Upon emerging from the sheltered forest, giant slabs of slick granite lay ominously against the sky's bright blue backdrop.  

We continued our exploration.  

First,  we noticed the fissures—horizontal narrow fractures in the granite called "joints." These famous sharp cracks separate the granite, granting trekkers a curious view of crevasses that lie hundreds of feet deep in the mile-high granite. Then we noticed something else as we edged closer to the precipice: no guard rails! 

The Fissures at Taft Point.
Much to my surprise, this point of view of the valley 3,000+ feet below was view-at-your-own-risk. One slip and it would be all over! My tremendous fear of heights kicked in and I prudently peered over the edge, keeping a safe distance.  

Taft Point was the only place that provided any means of comfort, and it took every ounce of courage to face my fears and step onto this small viewpoint high on the edge of a granite slab, where a teeny tiny guardrail allows tourists to soak in the stunning views of El Capitan and the valley while snapping a few photos. But believe me when I tell you, I held on to that rail with one hand at all times.  

I still get a bit agitated thinking about the sheer drops we encountered that day. But I suppose I'd go back. After all, it's not every day that you get to discover the ends of the earth.             

The edge of the earth.

The famous fissures.
If you look very closely, you'll see the speck of someone standing high near the edge, taking in the shocking view. Taft Point is located just a bit farther to the left, where you can stand behind a small guard rail and peer out over the "safe" threshold.

Later we continued driving to the end of Glacier Point Road and reveled in the view of Half Dome covered by mammoth thunder clouds.

At the end of the day I calmed my nerves with one of Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company's Half Dome wheat beers. Nothing wrong with that.


The Dish by PSPR said...

This looks like an amazing trip! You go to a lot of fabulous places and it is so fun to keep up with you! We enjoy learning about all these different places.

Parker Sanpei
The Dish

Elizabeth in SLO said...

Thank you for reading! I've checked out The Dish and it looks like a great site!

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