Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Big Rocks and Big Trees

We had pleasantly warm temperatures today for our visit to Yosemite National Park. Our first stop was the Half Dome Overlook. Next we went to see Bridal Veil Falls.  The falls' source must be dryer than normal. The water coming over the edge was barely enough to make it to the bottom. Most of the waterfall was caught up in the wind and blown into a mist. It was still an impressive sight though.

Misty Bridal Veil
We continued through the valley and stopped to gaze in awe at the majestic size of El Capitan. We looked for climbers but couldn't see any. However, a park guide later assured me that there were plenty of them up there.  They're just so tiny compared to the huge rock face. We also got a good look from the valley floor at the upper Yosemite Falls which were running quite strong compared to the Bridal Veil falls.
Valley Floor & Upper Yosemite Falls
We had lunch at the Yosemite Village Grill, then walked the 1 mile trail loop to see the lower Yosemite Falls. The lower falls descend into an out of view basin that is surrounded by a large field of huge boulders. There were many people climbing on the rocks to get closer to the falls, and Kyle was itching to join them. There were no "Stay Off the Rocks" signs so we presumed it was acceptable  and allowed him to do so.  He seemed to really enjoy his adventure and came back safely with lots of pictures.
Kyle on the Rocks
Our last stop in Yosemite was Tunnel View which offers a panoramic look at El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls, and the tree covered valley floor all at once. It is a popular spot to stop and take a family picture.
Tunnel View Panorama
From there we drove to the Mariposa Grove to see the Giant Sequoia trees. It was getting late and we debated whether to stop to see the trees, but we're glad we did. The redwoods at Muir Woods were impressive for their amazing height, but the sequoias are huge in both height and girth. It's difficult to believe that a living plant can get that big. The most impressive tree we saw was named Grizzly Giant with a 34 foot diameter at the base.
Grizzly Giant
It was getting dark as we left the Mariposa Grove and we had to go a couple of hours yet to get to our hotel for the night. We stopped on the way for dinner at an Applebee's, and got checked in to our room quite late. Fortunately, Wednesday is planned to be simply a driving day so there's no hurry to get up and moving in the morning. Next stop, San Diego.

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