There are no words to describe Yosemite National Park. Words like beautiful, awesome, spectacular, and breathtaking just don’t come anywhere close to doing this natural wonderland justice. I know my words can’t come close!
Fortunately, Miss Terry took over 400 digital photographs during our visit to the park yesterday, and they will give you some idea of what it feels like to be there. But even her photos, as good as they are, can only give you a tiny feel for the Yosemite experience. It’s just too much to capture.
We entered the park’s South Entrance by way of State Route 41, and wound our way for miles around the mountainsides.We climbed to over 5,000 feet, passing a lot of snow along the way.
Most of the route is good two lane road, with frequent pullouts to let faster traffic get past. We took advantage of them, because we were soaking up the views in every direction. As Jan said, you can get whiplash just trying to see everything in Yosemite!
Eventually we passed through a long tunnel, and Greg said “Be prepared to say “My God” when we come out the other end.”
And sure enough, we both did when this view greeted us! That’s El Capitan on the left, rising over 3,000 feet from the valley floor, and Bridalveil Fall, on the right.
We stopped at the crowded parking area just past the tunnel, and spent quite a while taking pictures, and just being awestruck by the beauty of the views. I have seen hundreds of pictures of Yosemite in my life, but nothing prepares you for actually being there! This is Half Dome, a giant granite dome that towers 4,737 feet over the valley.
Driving deeper into the canyon to Yosemite Valley, we stopped to investigate beautiful meadows, with rugged mountains forming a dramatic backdrop.
Everywhere we looked, there was another view, even more beautiful than the first!
Besides Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls, the two best known waterfalls in the park, the heavy snowpack created many other smaller, but still impressive, waterfalls.
We stopped at Yosemite Valley, where we got our National Parks Passport books stamped in the Visitor Center, and browsed the bookstore. Even on a chilly Thursday in May, the park was packed with people. I cannot even begin to imagine what a madhouse it must be on a summer weekend!
Here are a couple of pictures of Yosemite Falls, another landmark of Yosemite.
All of this sightseeing creates an appetite! We found a picnic table in a pretty meadow and stopped to eat Subway sandwiches we had bought on our way to the park, along with Jan’s delicious lemon bars, for lunch. Yummy! We were careful to dispose of our trash in a secured dumpster, because signs all over the park warned that bears are very active this time of year, and that if the animals begin to rely on “people food” they usually end up having to be destroyed.
We didn’t see any bears, but we did see plenty of birds, squirrels, a couple of deer, and Miss Terry took some pictures of this little guy.
At Bridalveil Fall (don’t ask me why Bridalveil is called “Fall” and Yosemite is “Falls” because I don’t know) we parked and walked up to a vista point near the base of the falls. The paved path was very wet, and there was so much spray that it was like walking in the rain. Very cold rain!
On our way back out of the park, we drove an extra two miles to the Mariposa Grove Giant Sequoias, some of the largest living things on Earth. These are huge trees! The Grizzly Giant, one of the largest trees in the Mariposa Grove, is estimated to be 1,800 years old. The tallest sequoia in the Grove is about 290 feet!
We left the park late in the afternoon, worn out from playing tourist, and our brains on sensory overload from all of the beauty we saw around every bend in the road.
This was our first visit to Yosemite National Park, but I can guarantee you that it won’t be our last!
Thought For The Day – Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.