Yosemite National Park ( www.nps.gov/yose ) lies in central California on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. This sign I photographed in June, 2018, at the entrance, is a much more "modern" looking sign that the one that my husband and I saw, when we visited the park back in 1998. I would later discover that this was the first of dozens of new signs (and new names!) for places I saw twenty years ago!
Fortunately, the name, and magnificent view, of the "cut-in-half-sphere-shaped-mountain" in the center of this photo has not changed, and it is still called "Half Dome"!
However, one thing about Half Dome that has changed since twenty years ago, is that you now need to register and get a permit to climb its spherical ascent side. Apparently, so many people were ascending to the top of it (no technical climbing equipment is required, rather one holds onto a metal railing that leads to the top), that overcrowding became an issue.
At the observation patio near the entrance to the park, there is a model of Half Dome, that allows visitors to see the topography of the surrounding mountains and valley.
Yosemite is famous for its spectacular waterfalls, and the best viewing of these is before they run dry during the late summer months.
My son (who rock climbs regularly at Yosemite) gave me some recommendations on hikes that would be suitable for my cousin, Debbie (shown in this photo), and I. One he recommended as a "Must See" was the jaunt to Bridalveil Fall. Since we were there in June, the sign was accurate in that it was steep, but we did not encounter any icy conditions!
The entire ascent to the Bridalveil Fall viewing area is alongside this cascading rush of water, crashing against boulder after boulder.
Debbie is seen in this photo, with the spraying mist of Bridalveil Fall behind her. We did not go much farther than this point, because the rocks were big and slippery, and we had many more places we wanted to check out in the park!
After the falls, we drove down to Yosemite Village, and the biggest challenge we faced was finding a parking place! Once that hurdle was overcome, we set out on foot to explore what the village had to offer. We visited a gift shop, a restaurant, a re-created Ahwahneechee Indian village. We also saw an Indian Cultural Exhibit that depicted the history of the Miwok and Paiute.
Being a "photography nut", I was eager to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery ( www.anseladams.com ). When I was there twenty years ago, the gallery had offered a free "photography walk", and I was eager to find out if they still did so. The answer was "Yes", but it was all booked up for that day, so Debbie and I signed up for the first one offered the next morning.
When we arrived at the gallery the next day before it opened, we chatted with other guests who were also going to be on the walk. Soon our leader appeared, and we followed her like "ducks in a row" across the meadow and the Merced River, to a location that would give us a beautiful view of Yosemite's Upper Falls. Our leader is the girl in this photo that everyone is looking at.
She had a copy of one of Ansel Adams photography books, and took us to a few of the same locations where Adams captured the magnificence of Yosemite Valley.
This photo shows the meadow in the foreground, and the Upper Falls in the background. Folks are asked not to walk on the meadow, as it is in a restoration phrase; likewise, pets are not allowed in the meadow or on the trails.
One of the ladies in our photography "class" tried out the skills she had just been taught, by taking this photo of Debbie and me together on the boardwalk, with the Upper Falls in the background. I think she did a great job!
After the photography class, Debbie and I made our way over to the famous hotel she had been wanting to see, after hearing great things about it from family members who had stayed there. Debbie and I called it The Ahwahnee Hotel, but we found out that it has a new name, due to the fact that a new concession service has taken over the management of the park. It is now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, and true to its name, it is MAJESTIC!. Debbie looks like a little midget beside its MASSIVE fireplace! You can find out more about lodging available within the park at www.travelyosemite.com .
After a thorough visit of the public areas of the legendary hotel, we drove over to the newly opened Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. We felt very fortunate on the timing, because this section of Yosemite had been closed for renovations until just a few days before we were there.
One of the new exhibits is this "slice" from one of the trees at the Mariposa grove, and I am using it as the visual aid I to help me learn my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse from 2 Corinthians 4:16. It says, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." These giant trees sometimes will have an outer appearance of charred bark, but somehow---miraculously---they will recover and manage to eek out another growth ring. They are being inwardly renewed!
One new component of the Mariposa Grove is this shuttle bus that takes one to the trails within the Mariposa Grove. Twenty years ago, when I visited with my husband, we were able to drive our car to the parking lot where the trails begin.
The Mariposa Grove is where you can see those famous trees with tunnels through them!
Out of curiosity, Debbie and I stopped at this historic hotel near the giant sequoias. It used to be called Wawona Hotel. It is now known as "Big Trees Lodge". Admittedly, that is an easier name to remember, and does relate to its location near the famous big trees. Not surprisingly, it was completely booked up!
After the Mariposa Grove, Debbie and I made our way eastward through the park, through the Tuolumne Meadows. There are two rivers that flow through the park---The Tuolumne River and The Merced River---and we had managed to visit both of them in one day!
To me, the highlight of the eastern side of the park was visiting the unforgettable Olmsted Point.
Olmsted Point is an easily accessible rock outcropping, with huge cracks and boulders left by glacial action of centuries ago. I could have stayed there for hours taking photos, but darkness was approaching, and we had many more miles to go!
This is a photo of my beautiful Cousin Debbie, and it was such a blessing, to get to spend time with her at Yosemite National Park. That is because June, 2018, marked the one year anniversary of her liver transplant! She had been on the Liver Transplant List for almost twenty years, and she is a wonderful example of perseverance and hope!! We had a great reason to be celebrating this milestone in her life! Getting to make this visit to Yosemite National Park with her, was an answer to many prayers, and gave me MILES OF SMILES! Tricia