Wednesday, April 23, 2008

22nd Wedding Anniversary Celebration - A Hike to Upper Yosemite Fall

On Sunday, photographer Michael Frye and Ansel Adams Gallery vice-president Claudia Welsh celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. It was 24 years ago that they met in Yosemite National Park.

After a series of seasonal jobs for Yosemite Park & Curry Company, both secured year round employment at The Ansel Adams Gallery in the fall of 1985. On April 20, 1986, the two married in the meadow behind the Ahwahnee Hotel. The Gallery was kind enough to open the store late on that Sunday so friends and co-workers could attend the mid-morning celebration. For the wedding, they chose a spot behind the hotel were the trees framed a beautiful view of Upper Yosemite Fall to celebrate their commitment with family and friends.

Recently, Michael and Claudia realized that although they had covered many trails in the park together, they had not climbed to the top of the Yosemite Falls as a couple. So on Sunday, they decided to embark on the 7.2-mile roundtrip hike to Upper Yosemite Fall in celebration of their 22 years together.

The weather was clear and a bit on the cold side when they started the trail at 1:00PM. In the afternoon, most of the trail is in the shade, but the light on the upper falls is spectacular. It takes about 2-4 hours to make it to the top depending on your pace. Affectionately known as the "Stairmaster,” the trail is both beautiful and demanding, gaining an elevation of 2,700 feet.

One suggestion Claudia and Michael have for those hiking this trail is not to miss the spur trail to the gorge overlook. It is worth the effort but is not well marked and can be easily missed. Just as you first get to the place in the trail where you finally have a view of the upper falls, look for the spur trail on your right. It is about 50 feet to the railing and a breathless view into the gorge. You will see the tiny people on the lower falls bridge and a rainbow or two if the sun is behind you. Even if you only decide to go this far, you will have a wonderful, breath-taking memory of your time in Yosemite.

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