Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kickstarter Day 23 (6 to go): Yosemite in both pictures and fiction

6 days left on The Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter, and as I write this it's only $798 from the interior art goal: EEEEEE SO CLOSE!  I've already been talking with some artists - hopefully that does not jinx it! - and I just keep getting more excited. 

Today I'm over at SF Signal with a bunch of other authors, bloggers and SFF folk, discussing which series we think leveled up after book 1.  (I heartily second Stefan Raets's answer, BTW.  That is exactly how I feel about Iain Banks's Culture novels.  Wish I had thought of talking about the Culture books, because then I could tell the story of how Consider Phlebas is the only novel I've ever considered throwing at a wall when I finished.  Yet I am so glad my brother convinced me to give the later Culture books a try: I love Use of Weapons, Player of Games, and Excession.) 

I realized I've managed to talk a LOT about the Sierra Nevada without ever showing pictures of the range's most famous valley: Yosemite.  This is because I haven't spent much time there.  During my college years in southern California, the eastern Sierra was a closer drive, still incredibly beautiful and rugged, and far, FAR less populated, so most of my trips have involved locations south of Yosemite.  But I have visited the park a few times - as a climber, it's kind of a mandatory pilgrimage! - and admired the stunning scenery.  On my most recent visit, my husband and I didn't have our climbing gear with us (alas!), but we did hike up Half Dome, which is probably one of the most spectacular day hikes in the US (right after Mt. Whitney in the southern Sierra).  My photos don't convey Yosemite's beauty anywhere near as well as the countless shots taken by pro photographers. (I treasure my copy of John Muir's The Yosemite with pics by Galen Rowell.)  But my pics can at least give you a taste:

Yosemite Valley
Vernal Falls
Me about to tackle the cables on the final stretch up Half Dome
Looking into the valley from Half Dome's summit
Rainbow seen from the Mist Trail descending past Vernal Falls
For a matching book rec, try Lisa Ann O'Kane's Essence, which is a dystopian YA thriller featuring a cult of adrenaline junkies living in Yosemite.  Lisa once spent a summer living in the park, and her insider knowledge of the valley and love of its beauty really shine through the story.  It's a nice quick read, and extra fun if you've ever visited the park yourself. 


  1. That's some view from the top of Half Dome! Thanks for sharing!

  2. That view from Half Dome would take me to my knees. Half from awe, half from the willies.

    And how I'd love to hike through there with John Muir and Galen Rowell.

    1. I'll admit I did a little crawling (as opposed to standing & leaning) when I wanted to peer down the face and scope out all the big-wall climbers coming up!

      And seconding your hike wish. Galen Rowell's always been one of my heroes. Not in a direct way - I love beautiful photography but I have no desire to become a pro photographer - but because he was so passionate about everything he did. His joy in his work and his adventures is what I would love to emulate.

  3. Wow, in the first picture, the mountains are so sprawling . . . it looks like there's almost no room for the VALLEY in there. ;-)

    1. Yosemite is certainly a land of interesting geology! :)