Through the rain and wind.
A prelude to this photo can be found here.
The four of us had debated heading to the valley. It was raining hard and the weather wasn't about to break. But went we did and found our favorite valley flush.
The park road crosses the Pohono Bridge, bisects a meadow opposite the Bridalveil, not far from a bronze memorial to Powell unceremoniously posted upon a glacial erratic on the banks of the Merced, hidden by the pines and the oaks and the winding, weed-covered footpath that few tread.
Next it turns north and affords a view of El Capitan rising above the oaks—a monolith of elephantine proportion. When we made that curve, we knew the decision to brave the rain was a right move.
The high country was overrun with water and with cloud. As night descended, so did the soupy blue mix of vapor, filling the valley. Our view of El Cap was just a taste of what was to come.
Through open windows, we heard the tires hiss a one-note song as east we slid over the rain-slicked roadway, through groves of pine and oak and the grass carpeting of the Merced floodplain.
As we drew nearer our destination, the falls came into view. On our last visit, in October, the summer sun had turned the valley to a tinderbox of dried grass and had left the falls unable to so much as weep. When we saw the torrent the falls had become, I couldn't help but grin. The great artery of the high Sierra was open once again and draining into the valley of icons.
We crossed Sentinel Bridge and paused to reflect upon the swollen river and the perfectly framed facade of Half Dome. The storms were clearing the last flush of autumn from the branches, leaving the riverbanks and meadows clad in blazing hues of gold and amber.
At last the deep blues of nightfall had enveloped the valley. More soon ...