Yosemite Valley


We woke up bright and early to begin our first day at Yosemite.  A tour guide would be taking us to Yosemite Valley with four other passengers--an older couple and a mother with her son.  Our guide told us that Yosemite Valley is the most popular part of the park with nearly 4 million visitors each year.  Luckily, our early June travels combined with having a tour guide that's familiar with the park, helped us explore the valley without the large crowds or long lines of cars.  In fact, many times, he took us to less explored places, which made us feel as if we had the park all to ourselves.

I'm not sure where to begin except to show pictures.  The Grand Canyon was AMAZING because of  the enormity of the canyon itself with its layers of rock "revealing millions of years of geological history" (Grand Canyon National Park Service Website).  Yosemite was different because of its variety--there were mountains, falls, valleys, rivers, snow-melt lakes, and giant sequoias.  Each site was different and BEAUTIFUL.  We never knew what was next, but they saved, perhaps, the most majestic for last--the giant sequoias or redwoods.

The "Tunnel View" of Yosemite Valley.

Bridalveil Falls

El Capitan - One of the most famous granite rocks in Yosemite (approx. 114 milllion years old).
Many rock climbers come to El Capitan.  From our view, the climbers were little black dots you
could only see with binoculars.

Yosemite Valley Chapel--the oldest building in Yosemite National Park--is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places and is still a popular destination for weekly worship services and weddings.

Yosemite Falls

Hanging out by the Sentinel Meadow, Sentinel Bridge, Yosemite Falls, and the Merced River.

The Merced River

A place for lunch...

Half Dome (about 87 million years old)

The Merced River is so clean and clear (and cold)!

The Ahwahnee Hotel, now called the Majestic Hotel, is on the floor of Yosemite Valley.  It opened in 1927
 and was constructed from steel, stone, concrete, wood, and glass.  It's hosted presidents, kings & queens,
and other nobility in its day. Now it's still a place for the elite, going for $800 per night.     

The "lounge" area inside the hotel.

The dining room...

My favorite part--Giant Sequoias

Lewie walking inside a giant sequoia that fell.

Tree Hugger!

These trees have been around for thousands of years.  (The oldest one known is 3,500 years old.)
There is definitely something magical about these ancient forests.  I want to live here!
Our tour lasted about nine hours.  Lew and Little Lewie went back to the cabin to put on their bathing suites.  I went back to nap.  It was an extraordinary day, and there would still be much more to see!


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