Our second trip into Yosemite was all about the iconic images of the park – El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and Bridal Veil Falls – all visible in the picture above.
We got a slightly earlier start on Saturday, and went straight to the Valley.
Our first view was of the tall, imposing El Capitan. Saturday was the first day that it was open to rock climbers, but we couldn’t see anybody up there.
There were a ton of people stopped along the road in this area, but we found a place to pull up to the curb and take a few pictures.
We continued along the valley floor, passing by several picnic areas along the river. We stopped to admire the view of the river and Upper Yosemite Falls.
By the time we reached the Village, it was already getting crowded, but we found a place to park in Day Use parking, and made our way to the Visitor Center.
We walked through the displays,
and then continued to the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail.
As we approached the trail, we could see the Upper Yosemite Falls, but they disappeared as we moved into the woods surrounding the Lower Yosemite Falls.
There were lots of people at the Lower Falls, and we were amazed by the number of kids, even really small kids, climbing on the rocks in the raging water. All they had to do was slip, and they would have been washed along the rocks. We stopped for a couple pictures, and then continued along the trail.
We were all getting pretty hungry by then, so we hopped on a shuttle bus and rode back to the parking lot to have our picnic lunch.
After lunch, we had one more hike we wanted to do before leaving the valley – Mirror Lake. You can’t drive to the Mirror Lake Trailhead, so we hopped back on the shuttle bus and rode to the far end of the valley. The shuttle route took us through a couple of the campgrounds, and they looked really full! There was just one area with RV’s, and another large area of tents, and then two loops of rental tents on platforms that looked like they were from the 60s or 70s. There were lots of people staying in them, though!!
The map at the trailhead showed a bridge over the creek at Mirror Lake, so we assumed that we would be able to cross over it if we didn’t want to go all the way around. We decided that the trail through the woods looked more interesting than following the road, so that’s the way we went.
It was a very pretty trail, and although there we quite a few rocks to climb on, it wasn’t too difficult. With the woods around us, and the creek next to us, there were quite a few mosquitos, though, so you couldn’t stop too much.
There were also horses using this trail, and even if we hadn’t seen them, we would have known by the amount of “evidence” they left behind!
The views from the trail were beautiful, and got even better when we reached Mirror Lake.
By the time we reached the lake, we had had enough of the mosquitos and dodging horse droppings, so we decided that we would take the road trail back. The problem was . . . there was no bridge to get across the creek! It wasn’t a very wide creek, and there were rocks and logs going across, but the water was rushing pretty fast, so I wouldn’t let the boys try it!
There was an area of the lake that didn’t look too deep, so we watched a couple of young guys from Indiana cross it (the water only went up to their knees, but they were pretty tall!), and then we headed into the water too.
It was COLD!!!! WE didn’t have to walk that far, but our legs were numb by the time we got across! It was crystal-clear, clean water, though!
We made it to the other side, where we sat and got our circulation going again and put our shoes back on.
The view from this side of the lake was beautiful, too!
Mirror Lake was such a pretty little lake, surrounding by these towering rock walls – it was beautiful and peaceful here . . . and not overrun by crowds like the village!
We enjoyed the peace and quiet for a few minutes, and then started back on the road . . . we still wanted to drive up Glacier Point road, so we needed to get back to the car.
The walk back on the road was pretty easy; we just had to watch out for bikes racing down the hill behind us!
As we walked, we came across this bear trap.
There was nothing in it, but it looks like they are baiting it at night. A woman on the shuttle who was staying in one of the campgrounds had told us that they had 6 bears in the campground the night before!
We rode the shuttle bus back to the parking lot, and headed out of the valley to Glacier Point Road. The Bridal Veil Falls overlook was REALLY crowded when we drove by, so we decided we could stop on our way back.
As we drove along Glacier Point Road, we rose in elevation, and started to see patches of snow in the woods. The view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is beautiful!
We drove all the way to the end, until we reached Glacier Point.
We walked along the path that followed the rim,
and reached the overlook.
To the right, we could see Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls . . .
and to the left was Upper Yosemite Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls.
Directly in front of us, we had a great view of Half Dome,
and all of Yosemite Valley.
There was a trail that we had thought about hiking on, but it was late and we were all pretty tired by the time we left Glacier Point, so we just made our way back to the Valley.
We stopped at the Bridal Veil Falls overlook, which was much less crowded by then, but didn’t even walk up to the falls when we realized that we could get a pretty good picture right from the parking lot . . . I guess we were all pretty tired!!
Apparently the swaying of the car around those twists and turns was enough to rock Nicolas to sleep – he never could stay awake in the car!
So, that was our visit to Yosemite . . . I thought it was beautiful, but it wasn’t really at the top of anybody’s list of favorite places. Tom thought it was too crowded, Bryce was disappointed that we didn’t see any animals, and we all thought it was just too long a drive from the campground. If we had a smaller RV we could have stayed closer, maybe even in the park, but not with the monster we have!
Spring is definitely a good time to visit, though. The waterfalls were all flowing, and the lakes were beautiful, and it was fun to still see snow in places around the park. Later in the summer, when the water is all dried up, I don’t think it would be as nice.
Of course, just a few days after we were there, I saw on facebook that they got over 8 inches of fresh snow and both Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road were closed again! I guess our timing was pretty good!!