Eagle Peak, Yosemite
Yesterday I climbed Eagle Peak. If you're not familiar, Eagle Peak is the tallest of the Three Brothers formation visible in Yosemite Valley, between the famous landmarks of Upper Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. The elevation gain is over 3800' from the Valley, no wonder my calves are sore today!
One reason I wanted to get up this way was to find the location of a painting by artist Stephen Lyman, who I've long admired. I knew it had to be somewhere near Eagle Peak. Sure enough I found what may be the exact spot just off the summit of the peak. Tragically Stephen Lyman met his end while climbing in the Cathedral Spires just across the Valley. He was only 38.
This location is just above where Lyman captured his view. The two trees in this photo might be the very ones he painted.
On the summit I spent an hour soaking in the sunshine and watching birds. Two hawks came by, most likely a coopers and a red tail, and lots of stellar jays swooped around in the trees. The presence of several Clark's nutcrackers surprised me; those are high altitude birds, and I've never seen stellar jays and Clark's nutcrackers share the same air space.
And I saw a bear! He was hanging out on a steep switchback near the trail, so it was impossible to hike without getting close to him. He/she paid me no attention. A hiker I met told me he saw eight bears, EIGHT, less than a mile from this place, apparently two females with cubs. I'm glad I didn't run into them!
Upon my return, the celebratory pizza and beer were dedicated to Stephen Lyman, jays, bears, and the sad demise of my down coat.