Yosemite . . . Incredible, diverse, beautiful
We were a little perplexed about how to navigate Yosemite from stories we’ve heard about how many people visit each year and knowing we would be there on the busiest weekend of the year (4thof July weekend). Yosemite is a relatively small park with all this diversity and scenery in a small area called Yosemite Valley. Most visitors only tour the 6 square miles that is Yosemite Valley. There are times when it is so busy that access to the valley is closed to all but buses. So we decided to take a bus tour. Doug learned he’s not a bus tour person! :)
We’re used to more actively exploring, removing ourselves from the masses by hiking, and having more control over photography and lighting. In spite of this, we did see all of the highlights of Yosemite in the all day bus tour. We heard history and stories from the bus driver tour guide who did a great job. We learned about and saw much more than we would have had we struck out on our own.
We started out visiting the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. These are the largest living things in the world. The Redwoods we saw in Redwood National Park were the tallest, but these were the largest, and amazing they were! Next was Glacier Point, which overlooks the entire valley and was our favorite spot. From here you can see all 4 world-class waterfalls (Bridal Veil, Yosemite, Vernal, and Nevada Falls), and Half Dome--and it is a site to behold! From there we went down into the valley and visited all the waterfalls and sites from ground level.
El Capitan is a giant granite mountain and a rock-climbing mecca for the fearless (or insane) rock climbers. Yosemite Falls is the largest waterfall in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. It is hard to imagine that this much beauty can be in one small area unless you see it!
We enjoyed Yosemite in a different way than the rest of the parks we’ve visited, and we would like to return at a less busy time in order to fully appreciate it as the awesome place that it is.