It didn’t really register to me that it was spring until we got to Bakersfield and saw various bulbs and even roses blooming. Add the orange blossoms and I felt like we discovered a slice of paradise after being plagued by snow, hail and high deserts devoid of blossoms.
We accidentally took the long route to get to Yosemite though it turned out to be quite beautiful with farmlands with blooming flowers and green fields. As we gained elevation there was the welcome site of pine trees, mostly Ponderosa pines. When you are from the Pacific Northwest, making the transition back to the “green belt” is a welcoming event. I was in need of some serious tree bathing.
The rock here is like a seafoam colored granite with some sparkly bits that was quite beautiful. The roads were hairpin with little or no gaurdrails, though the views made up for it. The alpine lupines were blooming and there were occasional fields of wildflowers sprayed across the meadows.
After a while, we lost signal thinking it would pick up again as we approached the park. Civilization was starting to emerge so it was quite surprising when we got to the Lake Yosemite RV Park, while quite popular, was devoid of any signal. We were fortunately blessed with lovely weather and a spot on the river, though the park was quite crowded and somewhat noisy and you had to pay for wifi.
We had several deer sightings and almost ran into Bambi on our way out of the RV Park. All around Yosemite the deer tend to wander onto the roads.
Upon entering Yosemite we had expected more of a “slow reveal” of the wonders of the park. Instead we came face-to-face with El Capitan – trying to reconcile what we were looking at…then the realization came. The sheer scale of it emerging from the valley floor is incomparable to anything else we have witnessed. Then came Horsetail Falls and all of its thundering glory. The surrounding cliffs are like a supporting cast save for Half Dome that demands its own audience.
As we were pretty early, and even then the park was getting busy, we snagged a parking spot at one of the campground trailheads. Thankfully BigB is only 24 feet, anything bigger would have had a hard time. Some of the roads into the trail heads has serious pot holes, not something you would expect in a major park such as this. We trekked a couple of miles to Mirror Lake and were blessed with a gorgeous view down the valley with the monoliths reflecting in the water. We stopped for a snack and to contemplate the scenery.
The day was getting warmer than we had anticipated and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was hard to imagine it had snowed about a week before and the weather can be touch and go in April. We wandered around the now packed visitor center, wondering what it must be like in the height of summer. We are so fortunate to be doing this now as the National Parks are starting to require reservations and shuttle service to manage the increasing crowds.
We left the park via “Tunnel View,” even though the parking was limited we managed to squeeze BigB into a couple of spaces – we were only going to be there for a little while.
The name does not even begin to describe the sheer scale of what you are witnessing – this particular view is the one made famous by Ansel Adams; his renditions are magical though you need to see it in person – there are no substitutes for the real thing (sorry Ansel but I’m sure you understand). You don’t embrace this view, it embraces you as if to say “thank you for preserving me – this is how I give back to those who will protect me for generations to come.”
The immensity of this gesture subdues you into a heavenly state of awe.