America Roadtrip Part 2: Yosemite National Park, a set on Flickr.
This may have been the part of the trip I was most been looking forward to and it lived up to my expectations.
In common with much of the holiday, we found April to be a great month to visit as we had nice weather but it wasn’t too crowded, which I can imagine is a problem in the summer months. Furthermore, many of the waterfalls dry up in the summer months, but in spring they run strongly from snowmelt, making them more impressive.
Having arrived from San Francisco, we were staying in a large apartment in the National Park, complete with barbeque, pool table and hot tub, all of which saw use.
I hadn’t appreciated until shortly before our arrival in California, but the location of our accommodation meant that arriving in Yosemite Valley involved driving past Tunnel View, the stunning viewpoint into the valley. From the viewpoint you can see a carpet of pine trees with El Capitan, the largest granite monolith in the world, on the left. In the distance is Half Dome and on the right is Bridalveil Falls.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Wild deer were roaming freely throughout the park. We spent the day on several short walks. The first was to Lower Yosemite Falls, before heading into a meadow alongside the Merced River. At one point in the meadow I just laughed from the sheer beauty of the terrain on all sides – high rocky cliffs, waterfalls, trees and the grassy meadows. It was incredible.
After that we had some lunch and caught the shuttle bus to the Mirror Lake trailhead. Mirror Lake is actually a pond in a river where the water is so still it provides a clear reflection of the mountains behind it. The National Park Service used to dredge the lake but they stopped that practice some years ago, so eventually it will fill up and become a meadow. It’s a bit of a shame really.
The final walk was a quick one on the way out, to Bridalveil Falls. The spray got my t-shirt damp, but it was worth it to see the falls and the rainbow they produced.
I would have loved to have gone back the next day but I was overruled by the group. Instead we went to Bass Lake, which was attractive in its own right but not a patch on the stunning grandeur of Yosemite. It was absolutely one of my favourite places I’ve ever been and I’d go back in a heartbeat.