What an absolutely awesome day. We were on the road by 7 am and off into the early morning rising sun to get a head start on a busy day. Parts of the journey were familiar to me, but after 23 years it was definitely a voyage of rediscovery and a new experience for Carolyn. Of course we had researched how to make the best of our day, so in addition to the sat nav we were armed with maps, iPads downloaded with details and water and fruit (just in case)! In the end, my memories, coupled with Carolyn’s unerring sense of direction, provided a fabulous day and, for me, hundreds of photographs!
The road into the park felt immediately familiar, and yet different. My last visit had been in the spring time and yet here we were with Fall well on the way. There was evidence of the Californian fires here in the park (and we learned that they also use controlled fires to manage their forestry), but the previously gushing waterfalls along the route were presenting themselves as little more than dribbles. We started by finding a road only open May to October and the car climbed steadily 7,214 ft to Glacier Point. The temperature up there was probably equivalent to a very warm summer day in the UK as we looked across at the tops of the famous El Capitan and Half Dome. People were already rock climbing on the mountain faces and, through binoculars ,you could see them hard at work and dangling off ropes. The views were truly breathtaking and this was a vista I had missed last time as we had been too early in the year for the road to be open. There may have been lots of people around but there was definitely a pervading air of peace and tranquility. I thought at the time that of all the places I have been fortunate enough to visit in the world, this particular view would have to be high up on my list of favourites.
Somewhat reluctantly, we tore ourselves away and set off down to the village (ground floor) for a different perspective, stopping briefly on the way after exiting a mountain tunnel for another spectacular vista. This gave us a view across the valley floor to the sweeping mountains. We were definitely not going to climb any mountains, but buses were advertised which would drop us off at strategic points. But first of all we had to park the car. Most of the village car parks were declared closed and looked full but, undeterred, Carolyn found a way in. I am not snitching on how she did it but gratefully accepted the parking space she also found near to where we wanted to be! How does she manage it?!
After lunch under the trees with a chipmunk adding to the entertainment, we tried a free shuttle bus around the floor of the valley. Sadly, the journey was not terribly comfortable as the bus was packed with more people being rammed in at each stop. Additionally, we were under a huge canopy of trees, which I did not remember being so tall and ‘view restricting’, so we gave up and went to the theater (sic) in the Visitors’ Centre to see a short film about the start of this National Park (the first of its kind in the USA).
We finished our personal Yosemite tour with a walk to the centre of a meadow to enjoy these towering mountains. We were not going to let the trees get in the way and the centre of the meadow provided a potentially different view in spite of various hazards seeking to put us off (small concealed ditches, stinging plants and swarming flies). I was looking for the famous and spectacular waterfalls which I had delighted in seeing previously. However, the Yosemite Falls were down to a trickle and the Bridalveil Falls were somewhat “quiet”. For us, a small price to pay for the fabulous weather, whilst knowing the rains will come soon to bring the falls back to full force.
Our drive out of the park, and back to Fresno, held a tinge of regret for me that I was leaving this wonderfully spectacular place, but with hundreds of photographs to enjoy in the meantime, here’s to the next time!
Carolyn’s Curios and Curiosities
This has been very much Kath’s day which I’ve been privileged to share! Thank you.