Thursday, November 19, 2009


Since arriving in Coarsegold we have made three trips to Yosemite National Park. The south entrance is only 26 miles away and it is less then sixty to Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. What they don't tell you is that as the crow flies the distances are about half that but the road is a twisting turning highway that climbs over 4000 feet. It took nearly two hours to get to the most distant points. That said, it is a trip that is very much worth the time and one we could make again and again. The above picture is from Tunnel View and is one of our favorite spots. The views you get of El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls are exactly as they would have looked to the first people to enter the valley hundreds of years ago. Other than the road you drive to get here there is no evidence of the changes that humans have made in the valley.
Our first trip was to Glacier Point where, at over 7000 feet, you can see from the valley into the Sierras. The valley to the left leads to Mirror Lake with the ever present Half Dome dominating the scene. A few days before our visit rain and snow fell in the mountains so Vernal and Nevada Falls on the right had more water than is normal for this time of year.
From Glacier Point we hiked two miles down through the forest to Union Point for a different view of the valley. The rocks sticking out on the right are the ones you often see in old pictures with tourists standing out over the valley 3000 feet below. This spot is now closed but there are plenty of other places where you can stand on the edge.
Looking from Union Point at the Merced River and El Capitan. This was a great time of year to be here because there were so few people. At one viewpoint there was only one other car in the parking lot.
On our next trip we went to the visitors center in the valley and did a couple of short hikes. Above is Bridalveil Falls reflected in the Merced River. The pictures, as usual, can't capture the beauty of this massive place. As the sun moves across the sky you could sit in one spot all day and watch the changing shadows cause the view to change before your eyes.
The water of Bridalveil Falls turns to mist before is reaches the creek on the valley floor.
We visited the Ansel Adams Gallery where he displayed his work in his in-laws' studio and enjoyed looking at his many famous black and white photos. We thought of buying an original but realized we did not have a place to hang it in the motorhome. The price tags that range from $15 to $32 thousand might have had more to do with our decision. We were inspired enough to use the magic of Picasa and make a couple Adams-like pics. Obviously, this is as close as we will ever get to the real thing.
This is Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America, looking across the valley from Union Point. On our third trip we hiked the 2700 feet, 3.6 miles, to the top of the falls. We started out bundled up in several layers of clothing with the temperature reading in the mid-30's. We were not on the trail a half an hour before we were shedding our clothes like someone who had a losing hand in strip poker. We warmed up quite quickly with the exertion of the climb and the rising temperature and by the time we reached the top we were in our shirt sleeves. The trail follows the lower line of trees along the cliff face left of the lower falls and then climbs through the trees to the top. The views were just spectacular.
A little bit of nature we saw along the way.
On the top we got into a little snow and now I know why I don't want to take Nanc where there is snow. The seat we had for lunch had a fantastic view.
The picture on the left is Yosemite Creek just before it plunges over the wall. The bottom pic is the ledge where you can look down on the falls and the valley. On the right the water goes over the edge.
This is looking from the top of the falls at the Sierras and Glacier Point where we were on our first visit. Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road, which travels to the east side of the park, were closed for the winter because of snowfall on our last visit.
One last look at Yosemite Valley as seen by Ansel Adams. Again, quite an awesome place!!


MarkandRenita said...

Wow, 2700 vertical feet in a day, now thats impressive, well done!

mvmaithai said...

Hello Jim and Nanc,

Congratulations on winning the Nov contest at Roadtrip Journal! Your pictures were awesome! I was also a participant (on Chattanooga, TN, third place)

I too love Yosemite but haven't been in almost twenty years! If you haven't been to Banff in Canada yet, you would love the spectacular scenery and the abundance of wildlife there.

Enjoy, and happy holidays,