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). 

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