Half Dome from the Valley FloorView All Sizes
JOURNAL : May 16, 2009
|Series||Exploring Yosemite Valley|
Everywhere you go in Yosemite Valley people run around with eyes bulging out, pointing cameras and craning heads upward. You and me and everyone else.
Some view this magnificent masterpiece as a divine creation. Others ponder chaotic geological forces carving and shifting the land over eons. Either way, Yosemite inspires an awe rarely so universal in effect.
Upper Yosemite FallsView All Sizes
What is extraordinary in this valley is a matter of scale. Similar shapes and rock faces can occur in a tide pool. A trickle of water from a tidal surge is a tiny waterfall. Yosemite is a compact archetype of superlative quality. El Capitan and Half Dome awe with their imposing façades. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. All around us nature soars and dominates and we casually stroll through in a dreamlike state, finally free of rolls of film with limited exposures.
Big Creek near Route 41View All Sizes
Of course, photos simply do not capture the experience any better than a video of hang gliding from Glacier Point capturing the feeling of flying over all of this on a bright morning.
Hopefully this collage will tide one over until one actually arrives at the scene and experiences Yosemite for oneself... or to help recall that dreamlike state and the inspiring environs.
Where Roosevelt and Muir Met in 1903View All Sizes
Yosemite Valley and Bridalveil FallView All Sizes
Yosemite Valley in the MorningView All Sizes
Mom, Jay & Alyssa
We arrived early Sunday morning amidst the growing traffic of motorhomes and busses and met up with my mom and Jay for a hike up to bask in the refreshing spray of Lower Yosemite Falls.
Lower Yosemite FallsView All Sizes
May is a good time to visit but it means campground choices are somewhat limited. Tioga Pass is still closed and other sites do not open until mid-June.
We opted to stay at Hodgdon Meadow and spend a day up at less-frequented Hetch Hetchy Valley. On the way back down we snaked up to Glacier Point to take in a bird's-eye view of the valley. That was a Tuesday and the park was noticeably less crowded.
Leaving YosemiteView All Sizes
Mom and Jay have visited during the winter and highly recommend it. A soft blanket of snow and a zillion less tourists make all the difference.
El Capitan towers over the Merced RiverView All Sizes
Scorched tree trunk near Merced RiverView All Sizes
The Merced is a persistent feature as it snakes through Yosemite. From Glacier Point you can see it plunging over Vernal and Nevada Falls in Little Yosemite Valley before entering the main Valley. All the waterfalls, streams and creeks feed into the Merced, which eventually chugs down into the Central Valley on its 145-mile journey.
Dominating one end of the Valley is El Capitan. Standing like the prow of a ship 3,000 feet high, this massive chunk of glacier-carved granite is a rock climber's wet dream. In fact, during one of our visits we noticed someone camped out about halfway up! Yes, some ballsy climber had setup what appeared to be a small platform for sleeping and was presumably dozing peacefully over a quarter mile above the valley floor.
Carved Granite above the MeadowsView All Sizes
Afternoon Sun on Bridalveil FallsView All Sizes
My Camper Van & MotorcycleView All Sizes
Yosemite is a great place for a motorcycling — riding miles of winding roads through fragrant pine forests, or sidling up next to a refreshing river, or tooling up into the mountains in search of adventure. Nothing compares to that feeling of freedom.
Use any photo on your
website or blog. Just
link back to this page.
Print photos on your
printer by downloading high-resolution originals.
Click on any photo for more information.
High-quality printing and framing is also
available for many photos. Click here!
But as much as I love motorcycles, I hate the noise. Nothing ruins a peaceful day like the thick buzzing of an engine cutting through the land. It's not so bad when you're on the bike making the noise, but to hear it? Ugh. As electric motorcycles gain ground, hopefully we'll see more of these silent cycles, and hear less of their engines.
Nonetheless, I ended up riding all over Yosemite on my bike. First, through the main valley, then up to Hodgdon Meadow and then to Hetch Hetchy Valley. Finally, up Glacier Point Road to its scenic destination. A helluva lotta fun.
On the Valley Floor
Yosemite Creek below Lower Yosemite FallsView All Sizes
About this day
May 16, 2009
Get new travel info, adventures and photography in your inbox!