Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fern Spring

Fern Spring is a small pull off in Yosemite Valley that we spotted driving back to our condo one night. E and I know Yosemite Valley fairly well, but never knew about this hidden secluded spot.
We stopped one night after a long day in the valley and this water loving boy was entranced. We wanted to come back to Yosemite before James grew out of his water obsession. Ever since he was a tiny baby, moving water has been his thing. A waterfall, a river, even a drip. He loves water.
Fern Spring was a sacred spot for Native American spot with drinkable cold water. We filled up our water bottle again and again.

 The water flows fairly fast and the fern ringed pool is just stunning.
 E and I couldn't stop taking photos. We wished for a tripod to get perfect blur on the water.
 We ended up stopping more than once and being entranced each and every time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Yosemite Valley

We spent some lovely days in Yosemite Valley when we were in Yosemite last week. But first some perspective, Yosemite National Park is huge, over 1,000 square miles. But most of Yosemite's 3.8 million (!!!) visitors only visit the seven square miles in the valley.
While all of Yosemite is stunning, Yosemite Valley is a bit like the Garden of Eden. A huge deep green river winds it way through the center of the valley, and waterfalls on both sides of the valley (over six falls) tumble to join the Merced river at the bottom. Granite cliffs reach skyward and the famous Half Dome, El Capitan, and countless more granite cliffs circle the small valley.
Because 3.8 million people visit the valley every year, the most popular trails are crowded (think Old Faithful in Yellowstone). But only steps off some of the busiest trails in the park, we found many small hidden gems. This river the kids played in for over an hour, and we were the only ones there, and literally were within one minute of the busiest trail in the park.
Yosemite Falls is very special (we were married in a meadow that faced this waterfall), and what you see behind James is only a small portion of the falls! This lower fall is only a 320 foot drop (still HUGE) while the upper falls is over a 1400 foot drop (about the size of a 140 story building)! Enormous! 
James, who is the waterfall expert, spotted this tiny frog first thing. Can you spot him? He's perfectly camouflaged.
Our secret river spot was our favorite though. Although the huge waterfall has its appeal, the crowds don't.
Another morning we headed into the valley early and stopped at this lovely historic church that we almost tied the knot in. Instead we decided for an outdoor ceremony, but isn't it stunning?
The morning light always captivates me.
Bridalveil Fall is another gigantic waterfall that plummets to the valley floor below. These photos really don't show you scale, because they are HUGE. (This one is about as tall as a sixty story building, which is three times larger than anything we have in Salt Lake City.)
I got the kids some new clothes for this trip, and this shirt (that read: Yosemite is always sunrises, a glitter of green, and golden wonder) felt especially apt.
As did the "America, Explore the National Parks".
Man we loved that river.
Near the old church we found a hallow log. Both kids had their new stuffed animals and played and played. The light was so beautiful E and I couldn't stop taking photos.

 So much of the wildlife is tame. Lots of guests taking this guy's photo.
Upper Yosemite Falls from cross the valley. We are always trying to get photos without a million people, because trust me, this park is packed.
More posts to come!
This photo isn't mine, but a Yosemite Valley post felt incomplete without showing the scale of Half Dome (source). 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Yosemite High Country

Due to the fact that we drove to Yosemite and entered on the east side of the park, we were able to experience high country both the day we arrived and the day we left. Yosemite is so large, that visiting this area is very much worth it, but it's hours from Yosemite Valley. But due to how far away it is (and closer to the Nevada side vs. the busier California side) it is much less busy and equally stunning.
We asked a ranger at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitors' Center where would be a good place to take the kids and play in the water. She suggested we follow Lyell River upstream where the river flows over a granite shelf.
It was an amazing suggestion, because that was just it, the crystal clear water flowed fast in places, and slow in others over a huge solid piece of granite. Small swimming holes were formed beside the main current. The water was so clear it didn't look real, and cold!
 The river is in the shadow of Lembert Dome, another huge piece of solid granite.
Some areas the water was fast and swift, and other areas it skimmed over the granite in a lazy pace. Everywhere little waterfalls formed and this waterfall loving boy never ever wanted to leave.
So many spots to explore!
In areas where the water was slow, little pot holes would fill with water and warm up in the sun. The kids called these their hot tubs.

Look at the color of that water! Emerald! E and I kept commenting that it didn't even look real, everything looked too perfect.
 Lots of logs to balance on.
 And rivers to ford. Such a good beginning, and end, to our vacation.

Salt Flats!

On the long long long drive to Yosemite (we split it between two days) we stopped briefly at the Salt Flats west of Salt Lake City. This is where some of the salt from the Great Salt Lake is deposited, and it looks like an endless white desert. The salt flats are bright blinding white and interesting for approximately ten minutes. 😉

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Yosemite for our TEN YEAR anniversary!

Wow, I've really fallen off the blogging wagon, haven't I?! We've been SO BUSY this summer, lakes and rivers and hikes and swimming lessons. The gym and the garden. By evening I just want to relax and read, so alas, my blog has been pushed to the back burner. The far far back burner.

But we went to Yosemite last week with the kids and had an incredible time. I want to blog more of the days because vacation blogging is something I do often read and look back on. 

Until then, here are a couple of my favorite photos. Ahh, Yosemite, you are good to us.

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