Friday, April 15, 2016

A Day In Yosemite

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

In Fresno we are two hours from Yosemite Valley and it is perhaps one of the easiest trips for us in terms of concentrated beauty. This month 20 years ago, Sharon and I were married at the base of Bridalveil Falls and since our past winter brought an average snowfall, Yosemite Valley is literally bursting forth with life as water seems to be cascading from every high altitude crevice in the surrounding granite walls.

We decided to make a day of it by hitting all the iconic locations beginning with the view from the tunnel. The sky was overcast and the photographs were rather flat and ordinary at first. Some of the photographs were taken again as we headed back out of the valley in sunlight. From there the next stop was Bridal Veil Falls. There was a man taking photographs right in the area we stood when we were married so he took a photograph of us in the same spot. The wind and spray made it seem like a driving rainstorm under the falls so we decided to come back on the way home.

We then took the shuttle bus from Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) to the trailhead at Happy Isles. This trailhead leads to several locations in Yosemite and is the beginning of the famous 211-mile John Muir Trail for those hiking the JMT north to south. The trail ends on top of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States (It is really 10.5 miles additional miles since you have to hike down to a parking area at Whitney Portal).

Most folks only hike about .8 miles up the trail to where a bridge crosses the Merced River, taking the Mist Trail where it departs from the JMT. It is a steep climb of 600’ just to the foot of Vernal Falls from the trailhead. As you climb you can see Illilouette Falls on your far right descending to meet the Merced River. As the trail climbs to the top of the falls, the steps become wet from the heavy spray and the climb can be dangerous on the slippery stone steps. This day we went to a place we call “photography rock” off to the left of the trail just past where the Mist Trail and JMT part. It is a bit of a scramble but the large flat rock provides an excellent photographic opportunity.

After that we took the shuttle to Lower Yosemite Falls and hiked a loop trail to the lower falls. This is a popular destination even on a spring weekday. The trail to the falls is across the road from the Yosemite Lodge and there is limited parking available if you drive there.

We took the shuttle back to Half Dome Village and drove back to Bridalveil Falls for photographs in sunlight on our way home. We also stopped at the tunnel view and did the same. We always stop at the Wawona store on our way home for snacks. In another hour and a half we were back home in Fresno.

 Bridalveil Falls
 Bridalveil Creek

 Yosemite Falls

 Half Dome

 Illilouette Falls
 Vernal Falls From The Bridge

 Yosemite Falls
 Lower Yosemite Falls

   Bridalveil Falls In The Sun
Merced River Below Vernal Falls
There is a YouTube Video of this with additional graphics here:

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