Yosemite!

The definition of the word “Yosemite” should be: ‘wonder, awe and amazement’. Picture yourself in Yosemite Valley, feet widespread, hands reaching to the sky as you view El Capitan: a huge granite mountain rising straight up from the valley floor – could the word be a universal word of praise for the unparalleled beauty rising upward 3,600′ right in front of you? Yosemiteeee! So huge, that picking out the 10-12 climbers we eventually counted was impossible with the naked eye. But no, the word is the name of the Native Americans that lived in what is now Yosemite Valley.

elcapitan

hsekee

My friends Laurie and Kevin joined me for a four-day exploration of Yosemite National Park. Route 120 had reopened from the Rim Fire the day before I visited the park, allowing me entry from the East side of the park. My friends came from the West side and we met in Yosemite Valley at Housekeeping Camp. Such fun, we had some pretty awesome gourmet meals thanks to Laurie’s expertise! I cooked one night, she cooked 3 nights!

On our first day’s exploration, we went to Glacier Point and the Mariposa Sequoia Grove. The view from Glacier Point included Half Dome in the distance and Cathedral Point.

valley

halfdome

Half Dome was formed during the glacier age about a million years ago. The ice smoothed the top of the domes (there are many mountains with smooth domed tops), giving them striations just like the Devil’s Postpile area.

halfdomewtrees

Half Dome with the remains of burnt trees in the foreground. Yosemite is one of the parks that has begun to allow fires to burn through the park. Many pines (and the Sequoias) don’t release their seeds until heat from fires make it happen. The sequoia seeds will only root if they fall on cleared ground (as in ash from a fire). They won’t even sprout if there are leaves, underbrush and pine needles!

During the drive to Glacier, I was in the midst of remembering a family trip through Yosemite when I was five years old – that I hadn’t recollected until I drove into the park the day before. I had gotten a feeling of deja vu while taking a photo of a lake when I drove into the park. Then, as I was reading the details of the Mariposa Grove, I realized that I remembered being in the park with our 1953 green Chevy coupe parked near the giant sequoia tunnel tree. My parents had not been story tellers, and I don’t think I ever heard them say that we went through Yosemite to get from Donner Pass to Hollywood. One of those things you wish you’d asked them before they passed away. Found the slides from the trip though! – will post a pic once I get them converted to digital.

The Sequoia grove is one of those things you have to see to believe, as there is no way the camera can capture how big these trees are – even with a spiffy wide-angle lens! We hiked to the top of the trail where a nice little museum detailed facts about the sequoias. It brings it home how old they really are when you start counting backwards to see what was happening 2500 years ago in history. (Confucius around 2500 and a few hundred years later the birth of Christ and the tree was a sapling).

museum

Mariposa Grove Museum (at the top of a goodly sized hill).

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An editorial note here: When you see printed words in blue – that’s a link to something else to see. I realized that not everyone knew that after visiting my friends Bren and Larry last night who are horse people and I knew they’d like the Mule Days video of the mules first rolling around without their packs, then later pulling the borax wagons and how they have to jump the trace to keep the wagons from falling over. But they hadn’t realized that they could click the blue words and get to something else. ALSO, don’t be afraid to sign up to ‘follow’ my blog. They won’t email you with anything else except my blog – it works most of the time to notify you of my newest blog posts.

115 Comments

  1. Beautiful pictures! I grew up an hour from Yosemite and went there thru my youth. Being in the groves of Big Trees helped from my nascent spirituality and my love of Nature which has survived in my love of gardening. Yosemite will always be my favorite National Park.
    peace,
    Steve

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  2. I love this post! I grew up a two hour drive from Yosemite and spent a lot of time there hiking and backpacking all over. Your post gave been a mean case of nostalgia 🙂 And your photos are so beautiful and well-taken. I’ve only taken one photography class, but I’m so impress by the composition. Thanks for posting this !

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  3. I’ve been here once back in 2003 and I miss it so much. I have some memories of the place but not as much as I would like. I definitely need to return here one day.

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    1. It is beautiful, I agree that national parks shouldn’t be part of a political fight. When I was there, there were so many foreign visitors there for a trip of a lifetime, a shame to hide the beauty.

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  4. I too enjoyed the Yosemite pics! California is a long drive, even from Denver and my Utah parks next state over, but in May 2014 I’ve reservations in Curry Village-for the hikes and windshield viewing of all the sights, including those trees! And no at 64 I won’t be atop Half Dome. I will grind up to Glacier Point for the workout; I won’t fall there!

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  5. Wowee! Those trees are big! The biggest I ever seen was on Vancouver Island, Canada. The place is called Catherdral Grove! They are around the same size too I believe.
    I enjoyed the information on Yosemite because it is on my list of places to go next year, as well as Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

    Happy travelling!

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  6. Love your post, love your photos, LOVE Yosemite! Have been there myself a number of times growing up, and I keep going back. Its seriously one of my favorite places in the world. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  7. Thanks for the memories. My family vacationed in Yosemite every summer at Housekeeping Camp while I was a young boy in the 50s and 60s. I worked there in the summer when in college. After escaping the draft for The Vietnam War, I went there to live and work year round at the Wawona Hotel. I met my wife and got married there in 1975. We eventually settled in the Northwest to raise our family, but our hearts remain in the gorgeous Sierra Mountains of Yosemite. Thanks again for refreshing those memories. 🙂

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  8. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Great that you are, so that I found this beautiful post. My husband ,son and I spent some time in the US in 2009 and part of that trip was time in Yosemite. I was immediately taken back to our fantastic time there looking through your lovely photos. As a family from Western Australia which is a very flat ,dry part of the world it was an immense pleasure to be able to walk through meadows of long grass, dwarfed by the majestic mountains, and massive trees. Thanks for the memories.

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  9. First, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Your photographs are beautiful, and bring back wonderful memories or my own. It’s ironic that the public can’t see what you saw right now because of the government shutdown. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations again.

    Bruce

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  10. Stunning pictures. I would love to visit Yosemite National Park at some point. It has always been in the back of my mind. Just beautiful.

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  11. AMAZING pictures! Yosemite is on my bucket list to visit along with a bunch of other national parks in the West. I absolutely love the jagged peaks of the Rockies. They’re so different, wilder somehow, than the Appalachian peaks. Did you see any interesting wildlife out there?

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  12. Love your photos and your story. Brings me back to the semiweekly swims I used to take at the pool at Yosemite Lodge while glancing over to see Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls when I was a tour guide.

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  13. Oh, and thanks for the pics of Mariposa Grove. The road was snowed in the day we were there. You got all of that big tree except a couple of needles at the top in the photo!
    It’s great to have that memory of a family trip jump out at you when you saw the park again . I look forward to the photos.

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    1. Those trees, as you know, do not photograph well. It is my hope that the park will still be open and I can spend another couple days there to get those photos I missed!

      Yes, I had thought until I drove in that day, that I had never been to Yosemite before!

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  14. Posted already! You are one busy, busy girl! So glad we got to connect. Thanks for that. I’ll keep following along. You keep paving the way!

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