We could only afford the $200/night yurt for one night, so we checked out in the morning and drove out to the “end” of the valley near the Upper Pines campground. The goal was to hike one or both of Vernal and Nevada falls, an area of the park we had not explored at all on the last visit.
The day almost got derailed when I dragged the car across a rather large but inconspicuous rock in the parking lot. I didn’t see any oil leaks, but it is possible that the life of the oil pan was reduced slightly by the mishap.
Vernal falls is the first falls heading up the Merced river out of Yosemite Valley. It’s steep, but paved up to a bridge where you can view the falls, so it gets a lot of foot traffic. The trail to the falls itself was a bit more rugged, but there were still a lot of people, particularly as things slowed down right around the falls. The slower moving also meant it was going to be nearly impossible to get through without getting pretty wet from the falls. We both had raincoat options with us, and it was a relatively warm day so it wasn’t really an issue. Continue reading
We knew that Yosemite was going to be busy even though it was early in the season, every information website we found told us so. But, they have first-come camping at Camp 4 that we thought we’d get in line for when they opened as we had done at the Grand Canyon. So, we got up early, dumped the tent in the car and headed up to Yosemite.
We pulled in just before 9:00 when they opened only to discover that the line had apparently started some time before. We got in line anyway. The story from the others in line was that there were 69 spots and numbers had been given out up to 65. Counting, we were somewhere in the low 70’s in line. It appeared they were assigning spots as people checked out for the day, so we would have had to wait until 11:00 or so just to see if we could get a spot. This forced the big splurge of the trip in booking one of the Yurts in Half Dome Village for the night at almost $200 / night.
There is no way the Yurts or staying in the village was worth $200, and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. The biggest benefit was access to the showers (also accessible for $5 regardless of campsite), which was admittedly nice since we had camped the two nights prior. The benefits to having established a place to stay was that we weren’t going to have to drive an hour or more out of the park to find somewhere to sleep that night and we were free to actually make use of the day rather than stand in line to play the odds on getting a camp site. Continue reading
Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park, looking away from the lake. Oh, and a dead tree in the foreground. It would have been cool to hike around the lake and get a shot of the peak with the lake in the background. It would also have been cool to realize that “Cathedral Lakes” is plural and that there were two lakes, though I think the other is far less grand.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 18-135mm lens @ 18mm, 1/80 sec, f/16, ISO 100
Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park – not quite as beautiful as Crater Lake or as the Cathedral Lakes we were en route to, but still worth a stop along the way.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 10mm, 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO 400
* I updated this picture after it originally posted because the original had a horrible yellow cast to it that made me sad.
Sunset in Yosemite National Park – similar to one I posted long ago, but the a wider angle showing the trees. That said, I’m not completely fond of the look that the foreground trees took on in this HDR rendition, but the HDR was a must really to get the trees to show up at all.
Pictures taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 15mm, many shutters, f/8, ISO 200
Here’s a second shot of Half Dome taken at Sunset on our first day in Yosemite taken from Glacier Point. I believe there was a hike that we could have done ending at the point, but we had been doing other things throughout the day, so we just drove up there. As pointed out on the National Park site, this is a very popular viewpoint and the parking lot was full for sunset viewing.
I have this picture taken with both a wider and narrower field of view, but I think this one is the best framing. Just enough of the surrounding landscape to show how Half Dome towers over Yosemite Valley, but not enough that it’s relegated to being part of the backdrop.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 18-135mm lens @ 32mm, f/8.0, 1/20 sec shutter, ISO 100
I’ve posted one similar to this before, but it was not this one, so I’m not breaking my rules. Of course, in some cases that means I could post what appeared to be the same picture for a month straight without truly repeating.
This is a shot of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, taken from the Lower Yosemite Falls trail (I think). It started out with a strong bluish haze over everything since it was taken at quite a distance and later in the day. Took a lot of doing to adjust it to the point where it was something really worth viewing.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 18-135mm lens @ 42mm, f/16, 1/15 sec shutter, ISO 100
We stayed in Yosemite for a second night (probably because I’m cheap and the camping didn’t cost much). Day two, after packing up, we went to find the Cathedral Lakes. It was about a 45 minute drive to get there, all inside the park, which is of course, huge. We stopped off at a side-lake on the way, though I can’t remember the name any longer. And, just now, upon looking up the link, I realize that we completely failed to hike the extra .5 miles to Upper Cathedral Lake… seems like the plural in the hike name would have been a hint. Oh well, we’ll have to go back.
Between the drive and the hike, this took most of the day. We got back to the visitor center area just before sunset, shot a few pictures and stopped in the store for souvenirs before heading out.
So, San Francisco Day 3, happened quite a way out of San Francisco in Yosemite Valley. We drove out to the North, across some other large bridges which are not nearly as famous as the Golden Gate. We drove the three or four hours out to Yosemite National Park – getting there sometime after they had more or less closed down for the day. We had reserved a camp site, so we just proceeded there to setup camp for the night.
The view of Half Dome from the valley overlook point.