Today we are up bright and early. We are going to visit Yosemite National Park. If you like massive slabs and mountains of granite, then you would love Yosemite. We were expecting a grander entrance sign for such a grand park, but instead we were welcomed into the park by this sign.
The river that runs along beside the entrance road is full of massive boulders.
After the Park Ranger checked our annual pass, we drove through the famous Rock Arch. Unfortunately there is no place to pull over and take a photo, so these are taken through the front window and have some glare.
Our first stop was a pull off that had a marker explaining that this was the spot that John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt sat and talked about making Yosemite a National Park.
A short distance beyond this pullout was another pull out and we got our first look at El Capitan. A 3000 foot tall vertical slab of granite.
This granite is 100 million years old.
From this vantage point we also got our first look at Bridalveil Falls. Not as spectacular in early August as this would be in early June with the snow melting and providing a lot more water going over the falls. There is a good volume of water coming over as we watch.
We spotted 4 mule deer grazing in a field and stopped to take their photos.
More photos of Yosemite Falls as we get closer to them. A few brave souls actually hike and climb to the top… that is not in our plans, we are happy standing on the ground looking up.
As we drove further into the park, we got our first views of another park icon.. The Half Dome. This is another gigantic hunk of granite. It rises 4737 ft from the valley floor. From this angle you don’t quite see the full shape of the half dome, but from other viewing points you do and you will see those photos later in this blog or in tomorrows blog. We will be re-visiting Yosemite tomorrow to visit other areas of the park that we missed today.
We drove through a series of tunnels and stopped at an overlook that shows the whole Yosemite Valley below.
Everywhere you look there are huge sheets of granite, all polished smooth by the glaciers that once were in this park. The glaciers polished the granite and carved out the valleys.
Next stop is Olmsted Point… we got out to walk on the granite and have our photos taken beside large glacial erratics. This was a fun spot to get out and stretch our legs and see some spectacular scenery.
I waited for Karen to climb to the top so that I could get a photo of her appearing to be standing on the top of the world.
Standing beside a large glacial erratic.
We got to see the back side of Half Dome from Olmsted Point.
We drove along some more until we could see Lake Tenaya in the distance and some more giant sheets of polished granite beside us.
We got out along the shore of Tenya Lake to stretch our legs some more.
I then spotted a climber who was about half way up the side of this giant granite surface.. the first shot is zoomed right out, you can barely see the climber, then I zoomed in a bit and then a bit more.
We drove through the Tuolumne Meadows and stopped at the visitor center.
At Tioga Pass, the highest point of the road inside the park, we turned around and headed back to the Rock Arch Entrance where we had first entered the park. We drove along the same road, but saw everything at a different angle.
We will return to Yosemite National Park tomorrow. To see all of the photos we took today, you can see them on my FLICKR site.. but be warned, we took about 300 photos today.
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