Neighborhood Travels

Home to Yosemite

Ranger Sharon Miyako calls Yosemite National Park her heart-home and I can certainly relate to that.  From the moment I first catch sight of the Merced River tumbling down the valley I feel serene.  Yes, I know it’s running fast and high but it still says “safe” to me.  Perhaps it’s some vestigial need to settle near fresh water.  Or perhaps it just recalls my childhood of living near lakes and streams.  Whatever the reason, the sight of that river fills me with joy.

Merced River flowing by the road to Yosemite
Merced River running alongside the road into Yosemite

This most recent trip to Yosemite wasn’t about great photography, although the park is very photogenic, but rather simply about enjoying the sights and doing the tourist things with a friend.  One of the first things we did was take a walk up to Yosemite Falls.  We weren’t disappointed.  The falls were going at full tilt and looked magnificent filling the area with spray.  It gave me a chance to try out my new waterproof camera, an Olympus TG-4, and it worked wonderfully. The mist seen in the shot below soaked everything and everyone!

Lower Yosemite Fall
Spray rising from Lower Yosemite Fall

We also took the Valley Tram Tour, a two hour open air ride around the valley floor. Ranger Sharon was our guide as she pointed out the granite cliffs and the various waterfalls.  She also related some terrific stories about her and one particular black bear.

Ranger leading a tram tour in Yosemite
Ranger Sharon Miyako tells us the story of a pesky black bear!

We saw climbers on El Capitan while on the tram ride. It can take three to five days to climb to the top.  Later in the evening we returned to see them bedding down for the night.  I like to watch for their headlamps scattered about the face of the cliff.

On our second day in the park we drove up to Glacier Point.  It was a treat to see snow on the ground.  We’re from southern California.  We don’t get snow.   The view from the point was stunning.  This was a good winter for California.  The Sierra Nevada Mountains finally have some snow.

View of Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite
View of Vernal and Nevada Falls from Glacier Point lookout.

We had lunch at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel.  Did I get that right?  I’m still struggling with the new names.  To me this place is still the Ahwahnee.  I would love to stay here in the winter. Do I have the courage to drive up?

As I said earlier this trip wasn’t about getting up before dawn to stake out the perfect spot to get “the sunrise shot.”  It was just two friends coming home to Yosemite.  Ranger Sharon would understand.

Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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