Yosemite - Granite Grandeur!

Felt the need to create a journal exclusively to the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite National Park. Living in Merced CA four years, we had the opportunity for two trips to this landmark icon.


Yosemite - Granite Grandeur!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jmineo on February 9, 2001

Exquisite photo ops! Take lots of film and plan on unannounced visitors, everything from deer to raccoons, and hopefully no hungry bears. El Capitan is a must, as are Glacier Point and Mile High Vista (for views), Half Dome, Tenaya Lake, and Mammoth Pools.${QuickSuggestions} Do not plan on just a day trip. This park requires at least one overnight of camping, to explore hiking trails, take pictures and get the feel of nature's beauty. Camping is the way to go, either by way of renting a motor home, hauling a trailer, or cramming your trunk with campsite equipment. CAUTION: No place is sacred from theft! One of our friends had his tools stolen out of his Chevyn Suburban while he was out taking a hike in the park.${BestWay} I think the best method is driving your car or grabbing a rental car and loading up with camp equipment and food. There are KOA camping sites located all throughout the park as well as other sanctioned sites. If you can live without running water or electrical hookup there are plenty of "ad hoc" sites for the "roughing it" types (not me).

Glacier Point

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jmineo on February 9, 2001

As you'd imagine, driving up to Glacier Point is quite windy, and could be tough if your loaded down in an economy class car. Glacier View is probably the best panoramic view you can expect to get while at Yosemite. Our first glimpse of Half Dome took our breath away. It's one thing to read about it and see someone else's pictures or postcards. It's another thing to experience this magnificent view for yourself.

This was the first time either of us had visited the park, but we know it won't be our last. From Glacier Point we could see Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Nevada and Vernal Falls, the Granite Arches and the far reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was truly awesome. At the risk of sounding too philosophical; this vista took my mind off of the rat race and really put living in a whole new perspective for me.
Glacier Point Trail Hike
Southside Drive
Yosemite National Park, California, 95389
+1 209 372 0200

Mammoth Pools

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jmineo on February 9, 2001

Mammoth Pools is an excellent example of what happens to granite over the years. Over the years he reservoir levels created a stairs effect at the edge of the lakes. From the Mile High Vista, we could see the Mammoth Pools down in the valley. We noticed then the lakes seemed to have a white rim around them. When we drove all the way down to the edge of the lakes, what had appeared as a small rock rim actually turned out to be 150-200 feet of stepped rock wall. We found out later that the government actually drops the level of Mammoth Pools during fall to make way for the anticipated ice and snow melt. This is the ideal time to see the circling granite rings around the pools. The reservoir is stocked with brown trout too, and for you fishing types, two-pound trout are commonly caught there.
Mammoth Pools
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California

Tanaya Lake

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by jmineo on February 9, 2001

One of our favorite drives took us over the Tioga Pass Road to the east entrance to Yosemite. Along the way, we paused to reflect at beautiful Tenaya Lake. The water was so clear and still, you could easily see the stones on the bottom of the lake. We hiked around most of the lake and felt the peacefulness of this spot seep into our souls. All along the roads, massive granite cliffs and faces surrounded us. Plenty of opportunities for photo shoots! Also an excellent area to picnic off the side of the road.
Tenaya Lake
Mirror Lake
Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Valley

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jmineo on February 9, 2001

While exploring Yosemite, you'll invariably be traveling in and around the valley, where you'll see some of the most striking views of granite formations as they offer towering views from the side of the road. Stop often to take pictures, or else you'll be straining to see the tops while you're driving. We noticed quite a few cars swerving within their lane to capture key glimpses. While exploring the Yosemite Valley, we of course had to pause to admire El Capitan, another famous icon of the park.
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California

Self-Actualization at Yosemite - In a Few Words

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jmineo on February 27, 2001

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes words are worth many pictures. For those of you never having experienced the grandeur of Yosemite, close your eyes and imagine the sunshine. It is strong for the day after our first wakeup. It feels warm on your skin and in your face. The rock surfaces around us were all warmed up to make it comfortable to sit or lay down to stretch your muscles. Laying on the rock looking straight up into the sky, you'll see that unique light blue color of the sky with a few fast moving soft clouds travelling by. While staring into the sky and your imagination starts seeing things in the clouds, you'll be surrounded by the sound of the fast moving water and the waterfall. If you lower your eyes, you'll see a scary looking, steep Halfdome in the north. Then you'll let your eyes glide westwards and from a sun-reflecting polished looking giant of a rock, you'll see the scenery change to a deep green forest covered chain of hills and if you turn your head even further westward you look down into the canyon that was carved by the water falling down the Nevada Falls. The dark green changes to a green that is lightened up by some yellow spots and some fresh green colors from leave trees. The picture of the valley is framed by the blue sky on the top, and the water falling in front of you on the bottom. The foreground is of course also framed by the smooth rocks forming the bed of the stream. But there doesn't seem to be a frame to the left or right in this picture. It is like a panorama view and it softly fades out an either side. Those not afraid of heights can crawl to the edge and look straight down the fall. But that's a different picture all together. Your imagination should be big enough to put this photo together without my help, just think of fearsome heights and spraying water.

The Camping Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jmineo on February 27, 2001

Our camping experience included everything from making a camp fire, making a perfect charcoal fire in the grill, preparing a dinner meal, no let me correct that, it wasn't a meal, a feast would be a better description. It turned out to be six courses of wonderful tastes, a celebration for our taste buds, a gourmet's delight. Amazing how much of a difference my wife made on this trip - almost turned out to be a gastronomic experience shadowing the grandeur of Yosemite itself. It is that special woman's touch they add. The whole banquette lasted from 7pm till 11pm. Some of the many highlights were grilled fish paste patties, ribs, potatoes that we perfectly browned in the fire, tofu-like bean-based squares grilled with veggies, soup, fruit, wine, and at the very end, according to tradition, marshmallows.

We were pretty stuffed as you can imagine but we needed all that food to have energy to burn off to keep us warm. The temperatures dropped quite a bit from the day time highs and the later it got, the closer we moved to the camp fire which gave off plenty of heat. After finishing off all that food we got some other hungry visitors. Two raccoons stopped by to help themselves to some eggs and while doing so ripped the trash bag spreading the contents. This was a sneaky and surprising attack. Before I knew what was going on they had devoured four eggs and being used to humans simple noises like "gschh gschh" wouldn't scare them away, they wouldn't even move or blink with their eyes. One had to get as close as a yard before they considered moving. We found out that these raccoons supposedly also enjoyed the dog food of our camp site neighbors.

Before hitting the sack we toasted our toes and feet at the camp fire. Once midnight came around it was time to go to bed and simply slipped into our sleeping bags.

Harrowing Hike Up Halfdome

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by jmineo on February 27, 2001

We were up the next morning by 8 am for our momentous hike up Halfdome. After a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs we locked our camping gear in the trunk and drove to the base as close as we could get. From the base, the trail goes along a stream which widens and moves less quickly. It's a flat walk and more peaceful and relaxing than any other piece of the trail. It's mostly in the shade and the air is filled with the typical pine forest smell which also happens to be one of my favorite outdoor smells. But just as other good things end, the flat nice piece of trail eventually leaves the stream behind and starts going uphill towards the ultimate goal. I was hoping but not expecting that the my wife would want to attempt to go to the very top of Halfdome despite the fact that we were planning to leave that night. So, I was happy that she felt so good and was ready to complete the adventure by mastering the mother of all domes. And steeper and steeper it got.

After not too much time we left the tree line behind and were out in the open with the peak towering above us. Your legs get a fairly good workout, and I knew we'd be paying for it the next day. We first had to climb half a mile of a strong incline into which steps have been carved. Step by step we got closer to the top. Once on top of the stair part, the view is terrific. Only one more piece left, the final half mile to the top which is along ropes and also the steepest part of the whole trail. To me that is a terrific view too, to others it might not be terrif-ic but terrif-ying. We were raring to continue though, just 15 more minutes and we would get rewarded for our efforts.

I was blazing the trail. My wife took a slower pace and I stopped often to let her keep pace. I kept asking her if she wanted to stop and head back down, but of course she wanted to see the views from the top. So in only minutes we were on top of Halfdome; it felt like being on top of the world. A good satisfactory feeling flowed throughout your body warming you from the inside out. We were out of breath for two reasons, the rapid climb but equally because the beauty around us was breathtaking.

All sorts a positive feelings came up inside me. A wild mix of emotions. They included also proudness since I was proud that my wife made it to the top. With only two other people on the top, we had the fantastic scenery all to ourselves. The sun dipped everything into full colors, the sierras in the background were snow covered and the view reached tens and tens of miles. A good spot to take a deep breath and give a heart-felt "aahhh". Also a nice spot for a little snack and more pictures. Laying down at the edge you can look down a vertical wall which falls for hundreds of yards into Yosemite Valley. The reward for the five hour journey (including all breaks) was an emotional high, appreciation of a thrilling scenery, and memories that we'll hopefully cherish for some time to come. Plenty of ROI (return on investment) if you ask me.

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