Dictionary definition: 1. extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear. 2. extremely good; excellent

People use this word so habitually that it becomes meaningless; however, today I am happy to use it myself. I have been to a place in accordance with both definitions.

 mirror-lake-boulderWhat has reduced my vocabulary to a single word, uttered with a breathless wonder? I will tell you. Only a few days ago I was standing on an empty beach alongside the River Merced in the heart of Yosemite Valley, surrounded by vast slabs of granite in all directions and facing one of the world’s iconic mountains – El Capitan. The nausea, the dizziness, the swollen ankles and shortness of breath may have been the result of mild altitude sickness – after all this valley floor is still 4,000 feet above sea level – or possibly the 4 mile hike you have to make to reach this spot if you are without a car.

Yosemite: It’s like you have arrived at the very centre of the earth, at the planet’s temple. It is strong, powerful and very moving. These rocks, those waterfalls – they came out of nothing and now stand two thousand metres high.

I have teetered on the edge of the Grand Canyon, I have marvelled at the balancing rocks in Marble Canyon, I have gazed in wonder at the red sandstone hoodoos of Bryce’s Amphitheatre and shaken my head at the craziness of climbers scaling the sheer side of Angel’s Landing in Zion. Although each and every one of these has filled me with surprise and astonishment at the unique formation of their landscape none have moved me quite like this place. It doesn’t have to be Zen, but it is a place where you can breathe and be inspired.


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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

12 thoughts on “AWESOME”

  1. Oh Jude…obviously I didn’t know about your blog when you wrote this otherwise I would have been straight here! El Capitan…the first time I set eyes on it I was a young mum with little boy having not long moved to California and I was absolutely stunned by its majesty and awe. Just as you describe here. Many times we took that drive along the Merced River and took in the wonders of Yosemite. You’ve just made me homesick for the wild beauty of California…but I’m glad you did! Thank you 🙂 xx

    1. I could live in California, but the OH couldn’t 😦
      Still I am glad I have had the opportunity to visit it several times, and hopefully will again one day!

    1. We did Gilly as we didn’t have a car and the shuttle bus didn’t go out this far. A pleasant walk though, and flat on the valley floor so not arduous! And no-one else around so very peaceful.

  2. What a perfect word for this incredible place Jude. What a walk that would be. I can still remember my feeling of complete awe when we woke and looked out the bus windows. Jaw dropping breath taking beauty.

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