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Yosemite Valley - Ahwanhnee Meadow Sun Up

This was the first full day of year 57 for me (just a little over five years ago now) and I remember this morning like it was yesterday. As usual I had an early alarm, dressed and ate a cliff bar while I finished organizing my gear and waiting for the coffee to brew.

As soon as I stepped outside I was assaulted by the bitter cold. I did not expect that! I quickly loaded my gear into the back of my SUV then removed my down jacket and added another layer of fleece on top of a wicking layer and a 3/4 zip performance pullover. After replacing my down jacket I felt prepared.

I made the short drive to the edge of the meadow and was greeted by a crystal clear star filled sky. The air was perfectly still. The stars twinkled and I released a mouth full of steamy breath with each exhale. I pulled my wool beanie down over my ears, added wool gloves to my attire and activated two chemical hand warmers placing one in each pocket of my down jacket.

5 minutes later I was out in the meadow working the stars and savoring the solitude of the early morning darkness. I truly love this time of day. I feel something special stirring inside of me when I'm up and out in the wee hours of the morning.

I scouted this location the afternoon before and actually had a Game Plan for this morning. As a rule, Game Plans don't always work out, but it's nice to have one, but more importantly you have to be flexible and willing to wing it when the Game Plan goes to shit. My first goal for this morning was to photograph the starry sky above the southwestern ridge line. With that now in the bag it was time to wait for sun-up. I adjusted my camera settings just in case any critters came by, but none did (probably too cold for them to get out or their cozy comfy warm sleeping environments - who would do such a dumb thing anyway!) So I spent a lot more time standing around and sipping hot coffee than anything else.

Thank God for hand warmers because it was COLD! FRICKING BUTT COLD!! I was surprised at just how heavy the frost was on the meadow grass and relieved to see the first glowing hints of the suns concealed approach to the ridge top. I made my final camera adjustments - then waited for show time!

A glorious start to another day exploring the magic of Yosemite.

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