Yosemite National Park, Part 1

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature
I was ever permitted to enter.”

John Muir on seeing Yosemite

 May 16-20, 2015 — Many people have asked us which national park is our favorite of all of the parks we’ve visited.  Up until this point, I’d have to think about the answer and it usually changed depending on my mood.  My answer has changed now that I have been to Yosemite National Park.

The third in the triumvirate of national parks here in Sierra Nevada, this is the largest and most spectacular – unknowingly we saved the best for last!

Stunning Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park – that’s El Capitan on the left, Cathedral Spires on the right, and Half Dome off in the distance in the center
Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America

Friends from Chicago, Bill and Lisa, joined us here at this park, too, and we spent four more days together exploring this historic symbol of the conservation movement happening in our country in the late 19th century.  Legendary conservationist John Muir was chief among the leaders of the times who fought to create Yosemite National Park, our country’s second national park, in 1890.

Our mouths dropped again and again when we came upon new vistas — driving through Tunnel View and seeing the ‘classic’ Yosemite view, as pictured above… walking up to Glacier Point and seeing El Capitan, the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Nevada and Vernal Falls and so much more in a giant other-worldly panoramic before us… standing atop Sentinel Dome and turning 360 degrees to take in the views in every direction… hiking through an enchanted forest (with some snow falling!) up to Taft Point and seeing a different perspective of the iconic views — we were astounded by the magnitude and beauty and splendor of it all.

Friends from Chicago, Bill and Lisa, joined us here at this park, too, and we spent four more days together exploring this historic symbol of the conservation movement happening in our country in the late 19th century.  Legendary conservationist John Muir was chief among the leaders of the times who fought to create Yosemite National Park, our country’s second national park, in 1890.

Our mouths dropped again and again when we came upon new vistas — driving through Tunnel View and seeing the ‘classic’ Yosemite view, as pictured above… walking up to Glacier Point and seeing El Capitan, the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Nevada and Vernal Falls and so much more in a giant other-worldly panoramic before us… standing atop Sentinel Dome and turning 360 degrees to take in the views in every direction… hiking through an enchanted forest (with some snow falling!) up to Taft Point and seeing a different perspective of the iconic views — we were astounded by the magnitude and beauty and splendor of it all.

Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall as seen from Glacier Point; Half Dome on the left
Half Dome on the left, Nevada (upper) and Vernal (lower) Falls in the center, the High Sierra in the back

We hiked nearly 25 miles during this visit, and for the most part were able to get away from the crowds who stay around and visit the mile-wide, 7-mile-long valley through which the Merced River flows.  Most visitors hike only the most popular trails just off the valley floor, but for our journey, we have barely scratched the surface of all we’d like to see here.  While we certainly won’t be able to hike the 800-some miles of hiking trails that exist in the park, including the 210-mile long John Muir Trail which leads through Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks and follows the same footpath of the Pacific Coast Trail for 160 of those miles, we are coming back in less than a week to take in some more of these breathtaking trails and views.

We snapped a lot of photos, click here to view our first photo album of Yosemite; we will create a second album once we’ve seen more of the park.

In 1912, John Muir in The Yosemite wrote “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  This and many of Muir’s other writings resonated with us nearly six years ago as we dreamed about this journey to visit all of our nation’s national parks.  As we are now just days away from being Out There for a whole year and have visited 26 of the 59 national parks, we feel great joy and an abiding wonder to be in this place called Yosemite.

1 thought on “Yosemite National Park, Part 1”

  1. Wow Laura, you certainly described it better than I could have and I whole heatedly agree. Jealous we don't get more time there but enjoyed every minute of the time we had. The pictures are awesome. Could you send me the one of the 4 do us sitting on the tunnel wall, the rainbow over the tunnel view and the one of you and I at Mist Trail? 

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