Yosemite, the long post

Where did we leave off on Monday?  Aah yes, the drive to Yosemite.  Along the way we bought the most expensive bag of Doritos I've ever seen ($6.99) to use the only bathroom we came across; if that's not highway robbery I don't know what is!

After begging, pleading, heavily encouraging Mia the Kia up the mountains and through Tioga Pass, we stopped at Tuolumne Meadows (prairie dogs abound), and the Frederick Law Olmstead trail on the way to Yosemite Valley.

Tioga Pass, giving the car a moment to collect herself
Tuolumne Meadows 
Atop the Frederick Law Olmstead Trail
We played true tourists hiking to Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls, posing with Half Dome, El Capitan, everything we could cram into an afternoon.  You might ask, what could sweeten that first afternoon?  Spotting our first bear! We silently oohed and aahed at a large brown bear from the road.

Lower Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Valley (Bridalveil Falls in over in the right)
Half Dome
See the Bear there in the middle? (to the left of those trees)
On the way to our B&B we stopped at Tunnel View to catch one of the best (and most photographed) views in the park.  The view gave me goosebumps!  We stopped further up the road to catch the sunset and then I very cautiously slower than molasses-ly drove the winding, hilly roads to the B&B.  I was getting passed left and right, but I didn't want to be the 18th idiot driver to kill a bear this summer.  Just when I thought we were almost there a coyote darted in front of the car causing me to slam on the breaks.  All parties were fine, I assure you.

Tunnel View at Dusk

Tuesday we hiked the Mist/John Muir trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls.  I had read that it was a "strenuous 6-8 hour hike" but assumed myself in better shape (even after a lazy summer) than the average visitor and I'd cruise right up it.  Boy was I wrong; it truly was strenuous, steep, gasping for air hard at points.  Fortunately, the views along the way were phenomenal, so it was totally worth it. But man was it tough!  The first picture from yesterday's post is after we got back down...6.5 hours later.

Vernal Falls creating "the mist" of the Mist Trail

Base of Nevada Falls - I was so done here.

Nevada Falls from the other side 
Wednesday morning my heiney hurt (TMI?), and Jamie's calves were tight so we walked through the Mariposa Sequoia Grove to start and then hiked Sentinel Dome to Glacier Point for a 360 degree view of the park. We spent an easy afternoon rafting the Merced River on the Valley floor.  Of course we left our camera in the dry car missing not only some spectacular views but the itty-bitty bear cub eating berries by the river's edge.  Go figure.

My tall husband with a much taller tree

Atop Sentinel Dome, you can see Nevada Falls in the right middle.
Nevada Falls (top) and Vernal Falls (bottom) that we hiked Tuesday! 
If you have visited Yosemite you know how amazing it is.  As a first timer I was beyond impressed.  As an eco-geek it was so inspiring to be in such an inspirational place for so many great environmentalists.  I can't wait to go back and hike the rest of it!  (If you made it this far, wow, good for you! )


Michelle said...

I went to Yosemite in July.... beautiful area! We stayed at the Awahnee lodge. We also hiked up to Vernal falls and HOLY CRAP! It was the hardest hike ever!! But well worth it, like you said. Plus, the mist from the falls felt good after a long hike :) Enjoy the rest of your trip!! XOX

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