Yosemite National Park

 Posted by at 12:12 am  Nick's Blog
May 202011

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.

Snowy hillside

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.

Tunnel View

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.

Half Dome

Driving deeper into the canyon to Yosemite Valley, we stopped to investigate beautiful meadows, with rugged mountains forming a dramatic backdrop.

Mountain Mmeadow View

Everywhere we looked, there was another view, even more beautiful than the first!

Rocky view

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.

Rocky waterfall

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.

Yosemite Falls 10

Yosemite Falls 5

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! 

Bridalvale Fall distant 3

Bridalvale Fall

Bridalvale Fall 2

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!

Giant Sequoia 2

Terry Giant sequoia

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.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  21 Responses to “Yosemite National Park”

  1. Your thought for the day is so appropriate. Thank Terry for the wonderful photos. The last time we were there was in late October and the fall colors add another wonderful aspect to the valley’s beauty.

  2. Thanks to both of you for posting your pics. We’ve never been there but it is one destination that is on our bucket list! The pictures may not do it justice, but they sure have whetted our appetite to go there!

  3. The pictures are wonderful, Nick, and we thank you sharing them. Yosemite is on our bucket list.

  4. Wow, your photographs are excellent of a fabulous area. I can’t imagine how much better seeing Yosemite ‘live’ must be. It’s on our “bucket list”

  5. I loved seeing Yosemite again. Summer 1965 Larry and I lived there all summer. He worked at a gas station and I worked at a dress shop. We lived in a platform tent and were part of the National Park Ministry Program. Larry wasn’t much for preaching so he started a coffee house for the young people working there who had nothing to do. It was a huge success. We hiked to the top of Half Dome – what a magnificent experience that was! I wonder if we’d make it today? We tried to see Yosemite the last time we were at Coarsegold but the road was still snowed in. Your pictures make we want to go back more than ever. Thank you.

  6. Wow! If you got that photo of Half Dome from Tunnel View, no wonder you sold the old camera. The shot from that distance is amazing.

    We were at Yosemite at this exact same time 2 years ago. The only snow we saw was going to Glacier Point, and on Tioga Road going to Tuolumne Meadows. Those roads had just opened when we were there 2 years ago, but it looks like they won’t open for another month this year.

    Stay safe and enjoy. Keep the photos coming.

  7. Thank you for such a positive post on the national park.

  8. So glad you two finally got there. It is truly in the top three national parks, imho. (Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon)

  9. Thanks for the fantastic pictures of Yosemite. In all the years we lived in California the first trip to the park was when I was in my fifties.Nick you are right one when you said it is hard to put the beauty of the place in words. It truly is one of the wonders of the world.

  10. The pictures were awesome. Yosemite is still on our bucket list but that’s just an example of what to expect when you finally make the trip to Alaska!!

  11. Isn’t that valley something? And this is a great year to see it, so much more snow and rain this year in CA than usual. I’m always amazed by how easy it would be to travel within a mile of the Yosemite Valley and NOT SEE IT – it is really fairly small. The view when you come through the tunnel is truly breathtaking.

    When I was 50, I climbed the backside of Half Dome with my sister and BIL and stood on the little tip that sticks up on the edge of your photo. We ended up hiking back down to the valley in the dark with one little flashlight. Odel didn’t go, and was SO happy when we made it home safely at 3 am. I was, too! There’s something I don’t feel the need to do again!

    I hope you get to return one day when the high country roads are open. The valley is spectacular, and crowded. The high country is gorgeous, too.

  12. We have not yet visited Yosemite but will now that we’re retired and “on the move.” Your pictures are awesome-THANKS for sharing.

  13. Thanks for sharing! Yosemite is absolutely one of my very favorite places!!! We even got married there in the meadow near Yosemite Falls.

    And, oh by the way, Yosemite Falls is falls and not fall because it is made up of three different waterfalls, Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. And Bridal Veil is made up of just the one. Hence the two different endings to their names.

    ALL the waterfalls there are amazing!!!!!! Thanks again!!!!

  14. We visited Yosemite regularly when we were young marrieds, and my family had camped there regularly when I was a kid. Even though we are “familiar” with the park, it is not necessarily true that “familiarity breeds contempt.” There is never enough time to spend there, because it you spend all summer, you haven’t seen spring, winter or fall. More of the glory of God’s blessings!

  15. I worked at a photo lab in San Francisco in the 70s and saw literally thousands of photos of Yosemite. I was still unprepared for the wonder of it when I first visited.
    When Jim and I were there a few years ago, we rode the bus up to Glacier Point then you can walk a trail *down* to the valley – a great way to take a hike.

  16. Nick-
    If you’re in the area for a couple days, I suggest visiting the Castle Air Museum at the former Castle AFB. Here you can see a British Vulcan bomber along with an RB-36H recon version of the “Peacemaker” bomber. I last was there in October 1995 for a Strategic Air Command reunion with my father. We too loved Yosemite, but dang it… we never could find Yosemite Sam!

  17. Make sure you take the trip to Glacier Point! If you liked “tunnel view” you will love this one! Spring is the just the best time to see Yosemite’s waterfalls — I am envious. I have been there in August and October, and never saw that much water in the falls. Enjoy one of America’s treasures!

  18. Nick,
    U a member of the National Park Traveler Club, if not check them out at this link, the club promotes passport stamps from the National Parks



  19. Wonder who stole the other half of Half Dome. The Mayans perhaps?

  20. The park is a national treasure.

  21. We lived in the Bay Area for 11 years in the mid 60s-70s and of all of the wonders of California, Yosemite was a frequent repeat performance for us. This is the very best time of year to go because the falls are full, there is still some nice snow around, the air is crisp and clear and every day is an adventure whether you sightsee or just sit in the park somewhere.

    The aromas of Yosemite are unique, too. Something about the dampness of the Sequoias mixed with minerals in the fresh running streams and a hint of camp fires makes it easily identifiable even if blind.

    I am glad you guys got a chance to catch the show .. in this lifetime. Lassen National park is also a must see. Something of a mix between Yosemite and Teton National Park in Wy.

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