After twelve years living in California, I finally visited Yosemite National Park.
It is not that I didn’t want to go but, for many reasons, the time was never ideal.
For those of you that are not familiar with Yosemite, this is one of the most famous National Parks in the United States (and in the world). It is up there in the rankings with Yellowstone and The Grand Canyon.
The natural landscape in the park is formed by granite domes, waterfalls, rivers, meadows, lakes and other formations with names I cannot correctly spell (or pronounce). Believe me, there is a reason why almost 4 million souls shown up at the park every year.
Thousands of pages can be written about the many marvels of Yosemite. In this post, I would like to describe my first views of the park. Other informative posts about the area are coming at a later date.
I entered the park thru the not too popular Southern Entrance. Being a newbie with respect towards the park, I followed the GPS instructions.
The major attraction in the southern portion (a grove of Giant Sequoias) was closed due to restorations efforts. There was no other option than to drive to the Valley (the most popular part of the park).
I cannot complain. The drive was beautiful. There is something soothing about driving slowly thru tall trees lining winding roads.
Before arriving to the junction to the Valley, I noticed the road leading to Glacier Point. This is a high viewpoint that affords panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley and other features in the park.
I couldn’t resist and took the road. It was time to see the famous Valley for the first time. And, I was going to see it from above.
Things got a bit complicated since part of the road was closed to vehicles. There were signs advising people to slow down since two bears were killed earlier that day. Not sure if the road closure was related to that.
The car was left in a lot and we had to stand in a very long line to wait for the shuttle.
Again, I cannot complain. There was a moment when that shuttle took a curve and the famous Yosemite Valley appeared in front of my eyes.
The shuttle driver slowed down and said: “Welcome to Yosemite folks.” Everybody started to applaud and cheer. It was so exciting.
Then, I got out of that shuttle, walked a bit and stopped in front of this view.
I think nothing can prepare you for something so beautiful. It doesn’t matter how many photos or videos you have seen about a place.
Half Dome is stunning. It is not easy to stop taking photos of him.
Since he is the icon of the park, I think he deserves a couple of close ups in this post.
Hundreds of brave souls hike everyday six strenuous miles (one way) to reach the top of this formation. I used my camera to try to spot the people walking over the granite. Bingo! I captured them!
To the right of Half Dome, many more rock formations are visible. Do you see the two waterfalls?
What about now?
Nevada Fall is the top fall (the hike to up there is about 4 miles).
The lower fall is called Vernal Fall (1.6 miles to the top). These falls’ flow was moderate since I visited in summer.
Many more formations were seen to the right of the falls.
Different kinds of pines were everywhere.
The U-shaped Tenaya Canyon could be seen to the left of Half Dome.
I was able to take a good look at these formations but not sure how they are called.
There is a very cute cabin with geological exhibits.
I continued walking along the rim and continued enjoying excellent views of Half Dome and other rocks.
Then, I saw a sign pointing to Glacier Point. Hold on. I thought I was already at Glacier Point.
Well, I was wrong because from Glacier Point, the Yosemite Valley is seen. When I finally reached the correct point, this is what I saw.
Yup, the green area down there is the famous Valley.
It is impressive to see how the Merced River meanders around it.
The Royal Arches are seen from there.
And, it is possible to see the Tenaya Canyon “hanging” above the Yosemite Valley.
At the left extreme of the view, the Upper Yosemite Falls were visible. Their flow was very low but its altitude can be appreciated (it is said they are the tallest falls in the United States).
At closer inspection, I was able to capture the base of the Upper Falls (then the water continues to form the Lower Falls).
The excitement didn’t fade away after two hours at the point. My husband and I talked about all we saw during the entire evening. I am sure we will continue to remember our first view of Yosemite for a long time.
What place you have waited a long time to visit?
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