Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yosemite National Park

After leaving Kings Canyon National Park, we drove about 4 hours to Oakhurst, CA. A stop at the grocery store there prepared us for 3 nights in a condo just outside Yosemite National Park. We got settled in just before dark and relaxed the rest of the evening. I wrote in my journal and listened to a CD on my kindle by Audrey Assad. The album is "The House You're Building." I love her music. Poor David has had to listen to it over and over, but he's being a good sport. He even says that he likes Audrey Assad as a singer. I first heard her voice at a silent retreat at the Montserrat retreat center in Lake Dallas, TX. Her song, "Love Is Slow" from her album "Heart" was played at the retreat at the end of one of the conferences. I bought both her albums after the retreat.

Back to our road trip . . . On the morning of July 13, we got up and eased into the day. We were on the road into the park by around 9:00 am. We had a 10:00 tour of the valley floor in an open air car. It was a beautiful day, so we really enjoyed the fresh air.

Our ranger was Eric. True to his name, his heritage is probably the same as mine or close. He was Scandinavian for sure. His red beard was sprinkled with gray. He was a great guide through Yosemite Valley. For two hours he kept us on our toes, asking and answering questions, and making jokes.

Once in a while we got off the tram to take pictures. Eric called us back the tram with music from Rawhide.

It was great fun. Not only was Eric funny, he was quite knowledgeable!

I took great advantage of every opportunity to take photographs even handing my camera to a nice lady who took our picture at the tunnel overlook which gives a great view up the valley.  I took over 300 pictures that day! But that's not so many. I took over 400 the day before! LOL Of course, some of the pics went into the computer waste basket but there are still plenty of good ones left.

After the Yosemite Valley tour, we ate a bit of lunch. then we boarded an air conditioned bus that took us up to Glacier Point. It took an hour to get to the top. I was so tired, I fell asleep while Karen, our bus driver, talked about the park. I tried so hard to stay awake, but these physically demanding days are taking their toll. I'm just not as young as I used to be.

But back to Glacier Point, . . . It was another super photo op. I pulled out my telephoto lens and snapped a few pictures. The falls to the right in the picture above is better seen in the photo taken with this lens.

Glacier Point is 3,200 feet above the valley floor.

From there, you can see for miles. Across the valley is Half Dome, a landmark that cannot be missed. It looks as if someone sheered off half of it. There is a trail that leads to the top of Half Dome. You could not see them from Glacier Point with the naked eye. But I took a picture with my telephoto lens and blew it up even more for you to see the people up there.

There are two people off to the left, behind what looks like a sign. I bet the sign would say that it is hazardous to step beyond that point. But everywhere we've been, people are doing crazy things that are very risky. It happened at the Grand Canyon too.

People like to take risks for some reason. A number of people die from risk taking in the park every year. A couple of months ago a teenage boy went over Vernal Falls after he went too close to the river. There is even a book in the book store in Yosemite that is periodically updated. It listed every fatal accident in the park. How sad to be one of those because you like to gamble with your life!

But back to Glacier Point again . . . we spent a good while there taking pictures and just soaking in the breathtaking scenery. You could see the visitor parking lot where you pick up the tram to various destinations. The parking lot is the small grayish spot in the upper left corner of the picture about the same distance from both edges of the photo.

With my telephoto lens, I was able to get a closer look and after blowing it up, you can actually pick out my Chevy Equinox.  Its the 9th car from the top facing west in the row that begins with a small white SUV.

I bought this car in January and it has been great for our July road trip! Lots of space for all our stuff and great mileage too!

The next day, we did some shopping and hiked to some of the falls.

This is Yosemite falls. It was a short hike and we even climbed across some of the rocks to get a better view.

On the way back to the tram we spotted a volunteer who was tracking a bear that was trying to cross the road. I hung around with my telephoto lens and captured the bear as it was getting ready to do just that.

As the bear raced across the road, it was almost hit by a car, but thankfully, the car stopped in time. What a tale to tell by the driver and passengers in that vehicle!

One last short walk to Bridal Veil falls to take the last photos of Yosemite and we were on our way back to the condo for a good night's rest. The next day, we would leave for the Napa Valley.

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