Yosemite National Park, California
May 22 - 26, 2018
Adele, Shirley and Bob

For almost all of the photos, you can click on the photo to get the original, full, high resolution version and then zoom in to see more detail. Photos were taken by both Shirley and Bob. Some were taken from the moving car, so you might see the occasional window reflection.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Base of Bridal Veil Falls

Vernal Falls

Animal Videos:
Pileated woodpeckers in Yosemite, May 24, 2018 - 00051
Coyote in Yosemite Valley - May 25, 2018 - 00063

Day 1: May 22 (Tuesday), Santa Rosa to Yosemite Valley, California:

Yosemite Falls from behind our cabin

We drove to Yosemite Valley from Santa Rosa, basically following routes 101 to 580 to 205 to 120 to Yosemite, arriving around 3:30. Driving in we got views of both Half Dome in the far distance and El Capitan.

Checked into our cabin with bath, got settled, then ate at the Pavillion cafeteria, where there were lots of people. The Pavilion is a pleasant cafeteria where we ate many meals. Our cabin is in Half Dome Village, formerly called Curry Village. There are views of both Yosemite Falls in the far distance and Glacier Point, directly overhead. We also visited the gift/grocery store near the Pavilion.

Day 2: May 23 (Wednesday), Tour Yosemite Valley:

Yosemite Falls - 00043
Water cascades, Yosemite Village, May 23, 2018 - 00047
Bridal Veil Falls and Merced River, Yosemite - May 23, 2018 - 00048
Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite - May 23, 2018 - 00049

Ate breakfast at the Pavilion, where Bob remembered in the past getting a bit of oatmeal in a bowl, then shoveling the golden raisins on it. Did the same this morning and every subsequent morning.

We took the free shuttle over to Yosemite Falls and walked the path over to Lower Yosemite Falls after having gotten a good look at both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls from the shuttle stop.

As we walked back from Lower Yosemite Falls we saw a guy with a camera taking a close-up shot of a log. We came up to see what he was shooting and saw that the log was swarming with ants.

Further along the walk, we watched two California jays picking up nesting material, then we saw a jay posing on a fence post, hence gathering many photographers around. After others had left, the remaining family paid the jay for his posing with a bit of food.

At the Village store we bought several books, including one Bob bought, Almost Somewhere, written by Suzanne Roberts, about her hike along the John Muir Trail from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite when she was in her early twenties. Shirley bought Yosemite Meditations for Women by Claudia Welsh with photos by Michael Frye.

Then we ate lunch at the grill where we also got to see a couple of squirrels busily eating scraps of dropped food.

Took the shuttle back to the cabin, took a look at the water cascading down a nearby rock wall, read our books, and napped. Both Shirley and Adele liked the Yosemite Meditations book. In fact, so much so, that later Bob snuck off and got another copy at Shirley's urging for Adele.

After our naps we again left our cabin, taking a couple of photos, then drove around Yosemite Valley to visit meadows, the Merced River, Bridal Veil Falls, and El Capitan.

At the Falls we did get wet from the splashing water, but also got to see a double rainbow not too many feet away. And what an adventure: as we stood on the wet rocks, Bob's hat blew off and down some wet, slippery rocks. Bob safely climbed down and retrieved the hat. We then left the base of the falls and walked back through the woods and along the stream to the car.

After leaving Bridal Veil Falls we drove to a spot where we got a good view of El Capitan. Adele thought she saw climbers on El Capitan, but was not sure and could not find them again. Bob then took a photo of El Capitan and, just in case, took several photos zoomed in to the general area where Adele thought she might have seen climbers. Upon getting home and reviewing the close-up shots, Bob suddenly saw two climbers most of the way up El Capitan. The following photos show El Capitan and the climbers, with red arrows pointing to their location. The first photo was taken 5 minutes before the other zoomed in shots, so the climbers should have been in it, but the resolution was not high enough to detect them.

We returned to the cabin, then walked to the Pavilion and ate dinner. Along the way we saw a cute bit of outdoor art. At the Pavilion, Adele had an encounter with a bear. Back at the cabin, Adele shared chocolate she had brought. Then we read books and went to bed. What a day!

Day 3: May 24 (Thursday), Hike to Vernal Falls Bridge, visit Yosemite Village:

Pileated woodpeckers in Yosemite, May 24, 2018 - 00051
Vernal Falls, Yosemite- May 24, 2018 - 00053

After breakfast at the Pavilion we took the shuttle to Happy Isle, where we began the 2 mile round-trip hike to the bridge at the bottom of Vernal Falls and back, which includes a total 300' climb in elevation. For some reason I thought this was a mostly level pathway. There were lots of people of all ages on the trail, including many toddlers being carried. During the hike we actually got views of three waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls.

And we saw wildlife on the way!

At the bridge, Vernal Falls was in full flow with the river roaring by. Quite spectacular. The restrooms however were not in operation. Do not know why this would come to mind, but we sure made it back to Happy Isles where there were restrooms a lot quicker than we had hiked up.

During the Vernal Falls hike we noted the sign reading "No Dogs" and saying there was a $5,000 fine with up to 6 months in jail. We did not see dogs on the trail. Bob talked briefly with a woman wearing a Virginia Tech shirt, since Bob had started college at Virginia Tech. The woman said her daughter went to Virginia Tech, while her son was attending Texas A&M. We also saw two red headed pileated woodpeckers (see video above).

We got back to the bus stop

We boarded the shuttle, which was quite packed, and went to Yosemite Village, where we bought lunch at Denigen Loft, but ate outside. Bob also talked with a Wilderness ranger about his upcoming trip in September to Yosemite and Whitney and got some good advice about wilderness permits, while Adele and Shirley went to the grocery store and information booth before returning to our cabin.

In the evening we ate dinner at the Pavilion and looked at the photographs taken around 1900, which included one of the "Firefall" where a bonfire at the top of Glacier Point was pushed over the edge for an amazing sight. The photos included black cars from that time period.

Day 4: May 25 (Friday), Tioga Pass road trip:

Yosemite Creek - May 25, 2018 - 00054
Coyote in Yosemite Valley - May 25, 2018 - 00063

We woke up to a foggy, cloudy morning with occasional drizzle. After breakfast, Bob got up on the stage outside of the Pavilion to lecture the audience (Adele) about our container of orange juice. This also amused a family wandering by.

We had planned on visiting Glacier Point and Tuolumne Meadows, but with the limited view decided to go only to Tuolumne Meadows. A good choice, because it turned out at Tuolumne it was not raining, there was occasional sunshine and it was quite pleasant. The drive up there had pretty sights, some with fog or rain, some without. Along the way on Tioga Road we saw snow on the ground. Tioga Road had been opened for the first time since winter on Monday, May 21, just four days earlier. We stopped at Yosemite Creek, which in fact we all thought was much more like a rushing river. This is the source for Yosemite Falls. We also stopped at Tenaya Lake, which was completely covered by fog.

However, the fog cleared away as we approached Tuolumne Meadows.

Just at the beginning of Tuolumne Meadows there is a path which leads up to relatively gently rising granite that we had hoped to walk. However, the path was muddy enough that we decided not to do so.

Instead we went to the parking lot near the base of Lambert Dome where we ate our picnic lunch - in the car. As we ate we could see Cathedral Peak in far background.

Because we had not done the earlier hike, we now had time to walk back to the Tuolumne Meadows campground (now closed), where Adele and Bob had visited with Jennifer and Bill (see Yosemite: Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, Yosemite Valley, and Glacier Point) 5 years earlier. We crossed the bridge over the Tuolumne River before entering the campground, then walked near the river, bringing back memories.

We returned to the car and started back, stopping one last time to look again at Lambert Dome. We now saw 3 people at the very top of the dome, which is a very steep, granite rock.

Although Tuolumne had been relatively clear, driving back down to the valley continued to have fog and places where the roads were wet.

Upon our return to Yosemite Valley, as we drove along the meadows, cars were stopped and people were looking at a very calm, unconcerned coyote walking along not too far from the road. In fact, the coyote decided to cross the heavily trafficked road and all the cars stopped.

While in the valley we of course got more wonderful views of Bridal Veil Falls.

On this our last night in Yosemite, we did not eat at the Pavilion. Instead, Adele treated us to a wonderful salmon dinner at the Mountain Room Restaurant near Yosemite Lodge. The food and ambiance were perfect, including walls of photos by Michael Frye (who illustrated the Yosemite Meditations book), along with some completely glass walls looking out.

After the dinner we were each way too stuffed to order dessert, so we ordered a single piece of chocolate cake with 3 forks, specifying to the waiter we did not need 3 plates. He brought us a single piece of cake. A huge piece. More than enough for 3 people. Yet, we were able to finish. Delicious.

Then back to the cabin for some reading and rest.

Day 5: May 26 (Saturday), Not Glacier Point, then home to Santa Rosa:

We woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Perfect for driving up to Glacier Point before we headed home. After packing the car, taking final pictures of the interior and exterior of our cabin, of Yosemite Falls, and Shirley next to the huge tree outside our cabin, we went to the Pavilion for breakfast.

The fireplace was going and the guy putting new logs on it asked that people not take his picture while he was doing so. If you click on the fireplace photo below and then zoom in you can see the photograph of the firefall taken around 1900. It was now Memorial Day weekend and the cafeteria was packed with the longest line waiting to order that we had seen. We finally got our food and through the checkout line. As we left, we could not resist taking a photos in context of an important warning. Then we got in our car to drive out.

As we were on the road leaving the parking lot approaching an intersection, the car in front of us suddenly stopped and the driver and passengers piled out, excited as could be, cameras going, pointing and talking. They had seen a deer! We guessed they were from some big city, maybe Tokyo, and had never before seen a deer in the wild. We in turn, had never before seen tourists stop in the middle of the road like that with so much excitement, so we took their picture. The driver was a bit embarrassed and pulled the car over enough so the rest of us could get by. It was a fun exit from Half Dome Village.

Now we were on our way to Glacier Point.

We thought.

Turns out there were a LOT of people driving up to Glacier Point. So many that while we were still a few miles away, we were directed to a detour and there was a sign saying 30 to 90 minute wait. The detour led to a parking lot - fortunately with many porta-potties and three lines of cars. A fourth line was kept open for those deciding to exit.

We got in the line next to the exit path. Good thing. After waiting about a half hour, during which about two cars in our long line managed to head up the road to Glacier Point, we pulled over into the exit lane and headed home. Traffic was not bad and there were more nice views.

Of course we stopped for Subway sandwiches in Oakdale, where we also filled the car. Although we did not get to Glacier Point, the trip was simply fabulous and, in fact, the drive home was beautiful too, although not Yosemite. Rather than return the way we had come, this time we followed route 12 which was much more scenic than the large freeways we had taken to get to Yosemite originally.

Contact/Website Author:
Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
February, 2016

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