Taft Point - Yosemite National Park
We hiked out to Taft Point after a long day in Yosemite Valley which included going up to the base of Yosemite Falls and then following the long looping valley floor trail out to Mirror Lake. I fell asleep in the car on the drive up from the valley, waking up as we were stopped in a long line of cars on the road out to Glacier Point. There were so many people in the park and the famous destination was so full that cars were getting turned away. The park ranger was relieved when we told her our goal was Taft Point instead and after a radio conversation with another ranger we were able to continue on.
I was exhausted and sore, half wishing we'd gone back to the hotel so I could sleep, but all of that disappeared as soon as we got on the trail.
It's an easy two mile round trip hike across a stream and through a wooded area that opens up to a view of Yosemite Valley. There are two points you could walk out to for wonderful views, well, there are wonderful views no matter where you go, but there's one outcropping with a seemingly flimsy shoulder high iron railing (if you're 5'4") and another without a railing farther to the west.
I'm absolutely petrified of heights and being out at Taft Point just reinforced that fear. The wind blew my hat off at one point and for a panicked moment I was positive it was going to roll off the edge and I'd end up going with it. Darrell isn't bothered by heights and he took several selfies way too close to the edge which just about gave me a heart attack and it still makes me uncomfortable thinking about it. We only took one photo together and I was convinced the whole time we were going to get blown off the cliff.
It's an incredible spot, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and despite my fear of heights I enjoyed sitting at a safe distance and enjoying the view. There was a huge wildfire burning not far away, the Detwiler fire, and the smoke was rolling into the valley and making everything hazy. Later I read about the fire cutting off power to Yosemite Valley and the damage it had done to the area. It makes me sad to think about all that beautiful country burned.
I'd like to go back on a clear day and hike out to Taft Point again, to see that spot at dawn would be incredible. But I still won't get any closer to the edge than I have to.