Every time I return from a trip, I add to my growing list of ‘must return to …’ destinations. Yosemite — and the Valley itself — are one of those places. There’s never enough time to see, do, and experience a destination on a limited number of vacation days it seems …
Add in that it was a July visit, and even if we had allowed more time, the crowds would have made it difficult to truly enjoy all that was on our list …
“Down through the middle of the Valley flows the crystal Merced, River of Mercy, peacefully quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.” – John Muir
Yosemite Valley has so many sights and activities packed into this small area of the park. We started at the park visitor center — snagging our National Parks Passport stamps — before moving on to the Yosemite Museum.
While I wish I could have taken more photos inside — the number of people made it hard to do so. We paused to listen an artisan explain the process of knapping arrowheads and spear points as he demonstrated how to do so.
“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” – Ansel Adams
After the museum, we walked through the Ansel Adams Gallery, finding lots of inspiration among the prints of his photographs for sale. Mom and Dad weren’t feeling too energetic that particular day, so they found a shady spot after the gallery while the bro and I set out to view the natural sights as well as a few manmade.
The bro and I trekked to the Ahwahnee Hotel (unfortunately now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel ) as a longtime friend of mine had been a foreman on a construction project there years earlier and his stories had me wanting to see the hotel in person.
After walking through some of the public spaces and visiting a chocolate shop in the hotel, we headed for the other major manmade spot in the Valley I wanted to see in person — the Yosemite Chapel. Rather than walk the long distance, we attempted to figure out the shuttle system. Let’s just say we ended up with one nice driver and one cranky driver who snapped at us when we asked a question at boarding, then nearly hit two cars who had the right of way.
After leaving the chapel area, the bro and I decided to walk back rather than risk another cranky driver or being witnesses to a wreck …
Yosemite Falls greeted us as we neared the parking area … a welcome sight as my right foot was killing me at the time (it was part of the issues I was having that led to surgery a few months later).
Yosemite is on Davis’ and I’s must-visit/must return to list — especially as he’s never been there. Hopefully, we’ll be able to return in a few years and time our visit so that health issues, crowds, and closures (I’m looking at you Mariposa Grove!) won’t stop us from seeing and doing all we’d like to experience while in the park
Want to visit Yosemite NP? Here’s info on Yosemite Valley via the NPS.
I’m planning to blog the rest of the trip out of order (I’m usually a ‘stickler’ of sorts when it comes to sharing travels in chronological order), but with so many places now in the queue to share, I’ll rotate between the remainder of the 2015 Roadtrip and more recent travels in the months to come …