With our backpacks stocked full of water, gatorade, power bars, granola bars, crackers, beef jerky, gum, bandaids, hand sanitizer, extra socks, tweezers, bug spray, suntan lotion, and sweatshirts - and of course, after a quick stop at Starbucks to get coffees and sandwiches for lunch - we were headed to Yosemite National Park by 7:15 AM this morning. Go us, for getting up so early on our vacation!
We entered the park by the South Entrance and drove the 35 miles north toward Yosemite Valley. Our first site was Tunnel View, and it was just as breathtaking as we'd hoped. We could see El Capitan, The Half Dome, and the Cathedral Rocks as clearly as they were marked on the map by the lookout point.
We kept driving a few more miles toward the heart of Yosemite Valley... we parked the car, walked about 10 minutes to the Visitor Center and picked up some maps and information, then set out for our hike. There are free shuttle buses that will take you to the trailhead for any of the many paths you can hike, but we defied the shuttles - we walked! We didn't travel all this way to be packed like sardines on shuttle buses. We have NYC subways for that.
Our two destinations for the day were Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. When we stopped at the sign which gave the mileage, we smiled and thought, "Only 1.5 miles to Vernal and 3.4 to Nevada? We walk that much every day in New York. Let's go!" Little did we know the many stairs and winding inclines that it would take to get us to the tops of those falls... we hiked the Mist Trail on the way up and the John Muir Trail on the way down.
Words can't really express the overwhelming beauty and vastness of the abundant nature we saw during those many hours. These pictures do a better job of it.
Once we left the park - and after filling up with another tank of gas and getting some more food/drink supplies at Rite Aid - we were really looking forward to eating at Todd's BBQ. But when we got there - exhausted and starving - they were "closed for the moment" because they were running out of food. Guess they must be popular! We cursed them for disappointing us, but plan to go back as soon as we can to get some sure-to-be-delicious hushpuppies. We settled instead for some French Dip subs at Country Kitchen. I was so exhausted from our 8 hour, 10-12 mile excursion today that I'm sure I ate my dinner, took a shower, and somehow got into bed... but I don't remember doing any of it!