Yosemite

Earlier this year, I visited Yosemite National Park during a long weekend. Clearly, this is a long overdue post…

We wanted to camp in one of the campsites in the park and had zeroed-in on the Tuolumne Meadows campgrounds. Since we hadn’t been able to reserve any online, we got there in the wee hours, and occupied one of the campsites that are handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis. We spent the morning in the Tuolumne Meadows area of the park – around Tenaya Lake and taking in the views from Olmsted Point.

Driving through Tuolumne Meadows
Driving through Tuolumne Meadows
Tenaya Lake
Tenaya Lake
Reflections on Tenaya Lake
Reflections on Tenaya Lake
More Tenaya Lake
More Tenaya Lake
In the early morning light, the lake surface shimmered in the shallows
In the early morning light, the lake surface shimmered in the shallows
The view from Olmsted Point
The view from Olmsted Point

Next up, a quick stop at the Upper & Lower Yosemite Falls near the park village.

Upper Yosemite Falls
Upper Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite Falls
A view of the valley from Vista Point
A view of the valley from Vista Point
El Capitan dwarves everything!
El Capitan dwarves everything!

Here, Yosemite National Park made clear to us the number of visitors it attracts – the line of cars & vans queued at the park entrance was 6 miles long! At noon!. Note to self – don’t plan a holiday in Yosemite during a long weekend.

After lunch and a quick nap(the day had started very early for us) we headed back to the valley late afternoon. With the sun getting ever closer to the horizon, we rushed to Glacier Point to get an overview of the park in the reds, oranges and pinks of dusk. From Glacier Point, one gets a clear view of Half Dome, the Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls and the entire valley. The sight is breathtaking!

View from Glacier Point - Half Dome to the left, Vernal Falls in the center and Nevada Falls to the right
View from Glacier Point – Half Dome to the left, Vernal Falls in the center and Nevada Falls to the right
A view of the Upper Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point
A view of the Upper Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point

After a good nights rest, we headed back to the valley in the morning with a plan to hike up to Taft Point and from there to Glacier Point(again). On the way to the start of the Taft Point trail, we got some spectacular views of the valley. The sheer size of the granite monoliths in Yosemite is awesome – it is one of the few places which makes you feel minuscule, in a good way.

Tunnel View - El Capitan to the left and Half Dome in the background
Tunnel View – El Capitan to the left and Half Dome in the background
Sheer granite cliffs, bigger than you'll ever see. Look at the vehicles at the bottom for scale
Sheer granite cliffs, bigger than you’ll ever see. Look at the vehicles for scale
A closer view of Half Dome from Glacier Point
A closer view of Half Dome from Glacier Point

Taft Point gives a full on view of El Capitan, looming over the valley, and of the Upper Yosemite Falls. The scenic vista from here is worth small trek from the shuttle drop-off point.

El Capitan
El Capitan
El Capitan watches over the valley
El Capitan watches over the valley
Upper Yosemite Falls from Taft Point
Upper Yosemite Falls from Taft Point

After half a day of hiking and taking in the views, it was time for us to head back to SFO to rest for the night.

This was the closest we got to seeing a bear
This was the closest we got to seeing a bear

The final day of the trip, our flight back home from SFO was late-night; so we visited Muir Woods and hiked a bit. The Giant Redwoods of Muir are massive – it is hard to convey their size with photos. Unlike the monoliths of Yosemite which you view from afar, the Redwoods are right next to you, so any photo you take almost never fits the trees. The phrase ‘To walk among giants’ is most apt here.

By the end of the small tour, you'd likely have sprained your neck trying to see the top of these giants
By the end of the small tour, you’d likely have sprained your neck trying to see the top of these giants

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A Redwood close-up - their tough bark helps them survive forest fires which consumes the lesser trees around them. A competitive advantage which has stood these ancient giants well
A Redwood close-up – their tough bark helps them survive forest fires which consumes the lesser trees around them. A competitive advantage which has stood these ancient giants well

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