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Trip 12, Park 4: Yosemite National Park

It is easy to understand why Yosemite, our final park for this trip, is among the most visited national parks in the US. It has world famous rock formations, cliffs, meadows, and waterfalls. October was a great time to visit Yosemite, as crowds were down, making it easy to navigate the park, and Tioga and Glacier Point Roads were still open (they are closed once snow covers the roads). In addition, the weather was mornings and warm afternoons, perfect for exploring the park.

We entered the park through the south entrance and stopped at the welcome plaza to hike to the Mariposa Grove, one of several sequoia groves in Yosemite. Since the road was under repair, we hiked the 2-mile Washburn Trail to get to the grove area, then hiked the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail. This trail allowed us to see several well-known trees, including the tunnel tree, so big that a tunnel was carved through the trunk that cars used to be allowed to drive through! Our next stop was Glacier Point, which provided amazing views of Half Dome as well as the Yosemite Valley below. Entering the valley is memorable, and a stop at the Tunnel View area is a must. The drive into the valley is impressive, with the towering granite walls of El Capitan and beautiful Bridal Veil Falls as some of the first features seen. We highly recommend walking through the valley in the evening and early morning, as the sunlight strikes the rocks differently, creating beautiful vistas. In addition, as darkness descends, the presence of climbers on El Capitan becomes more obvious, as their lights are easy to see (as shown by the white spot visible in the lower right photo above).

We stayed in the Yosemite Valley Lodge, which was conveniently located near Yosemite Fall, allowing an early morning hike to the lower falls area. We were fortunate that water was still running through Yosemite Fall, as it is fed strictly by snow melt from the mountains. We also enjoyed a morning hike to Mirror Lake; there were very few hikers early in the morning, giving us the sense we had the park almost to ourselves. The early morning light hitting the top of the granite cliffs as the sun rose was striking. One of the activities we enjoyed and recommend is taking a tram tour of the Yosemite Valley. Ours was narrated by a park ranger who provided great information about the history of the park while showing us all the major features of the valley. Well worth it! We also spent several hours traveling Tioga Road across the high country and hiking in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Driving the road is very scenic, particularly around Tenaya Lake.

In the evenings, we enjoyed a pint or two at the Mountain Room Lounge at Yosemite Valley Lodge. They had a good number of local craft beers on tap, to include a Double Nut Brown porter from Mammoth Brewing Co. and a General Sherman IPA from the Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co., both very tasty!

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Tim Hall
Tim Hall
17 nov 2023

Cool pics

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