Yosemite National Park
Back in 2005, we had the opportunity to spend just over a month in the Sacramento area of Northern California. The work we were doing out there was 3 days on, 3 days off. In each of the the 3 days off we tried to see as much of the area as we could. One place that was on top of our list was Yosemite. I don't think there are any words I could write about Yosemite that haven't been written or photos that haven't be taken but nothing will ever prepare you for the first glimpse you get of the valley as you drive in. Neither Muir nor Adams could ever have prepared us for the natural beauty of Yosemite.
We started our drive in from the north along rte 120 just north of Modesto. As the Sierras start to rise, first with small rolling hills between fields, then mountain foothills, we're amazed that this is the same land that will soon rise into some of the most iconic scenery that we have ever been blessed enough to lay our eyes on. We paid our entrance fee and slowly made our way across cliff side roads following the signs for Yosemite Valley. Just before we got the turn off for Big Oak Flat Rd. we were lucky enough to catch a bear crossing the road in front of us. This just added to the excitement. A few more miles winded down the cliffs before us and then, there it was, stretched out in front of us. Yosemite's rocky cliff faces and tumbling waterfalls welcoming us into a world that could only be described as prehistoric. The only thing we prepped for was a picnic in the valley. Which we decided to eat by the side of the road along the Merced River. We, or course, did the usual things, like poking into gift shops filled with every Ansel Adams image possible but it was went we got back out on the road and over toward Yosemite Falls that you remember just where you are. With Half Dome behind us we ventured around the loop road and stopped off to see lower Yosemite Falls.
To be honest, Yosemite at that time of year is packed.... I mean , REALLY packed. That being said, none of that seemed to matter. When you are standing in a meadow in the middle of the valley and you look up, you don't see anyone else, you forget about the sounds of the cars and RV's, and it just becomes about you and nature. The towering face of El Capitan both warning you of the danger of the wilderness but at the same time welcoming you to his house. It was a short trip to Yosemite, but it's one that has left a lasting impression on us both. We can't wait to take Logan there, and maybe this time we'll just spend a few hours with no cameras, no guidebooks, no maps; and just look up.