Yosemite National Park
August 24 - 29,
I have had a
trip to Yosemite National Park in California on my
bucket list for
several years. When reading a recent Road Scholar
discovered this dream trip. Carol had not been to
either, so we studied the brochure and decided to
travel west to
visit Yosemite. It also turned out to be a good chance
to visit our
Grandchildren and families in
Washington and Minnesota!
On August 21st,
we flew to San Francisco for our first stop
with the Logan
and Pierson families who live in Mountain View.
on Friday morning, Carol's daughter Jen had an
health problem and had to be taken to her local hospital
by her mother.
It turned out that she had a pacemaker implanted
in her chest on
Saturday. She began her recovery on Sunday
when she came
home from the hospital. She was in good spirits
and needed to
rest until she was healed. Carol bowed out of
the balance of
our trip to be with Jen and family.
afternoon, Carol drove John to the Hilton SFO
Hotel. There was a briefing meeting at 5:30 PM where
about our Yosemite adventure. We were a group of
Scholars going to Yosemite by bus the
next morning at
east into California' s very large central valley
agriculture is a huge business. The scenery along our
as we drove along.
We had a quick
rest stop at this farm stand. They had a
selection of Souvenirs, sweets and
products for sale.
mile of almond trees were seen on the way to Yosemite.
could be seen as we drove along. Irrigation systems were
the rows of young trees. We were told that
this one require great amounts of water.
In addition to
Almond orchards, there were many pistachio orchards. There
is a great
deal of controversy between orchard owners and farmers who
need water for
other types of farming. There were many signs posted that
read "No Water
- No Jobs" along the road as we drove along.
As we neared
Yosemite we began to climb into the foot hills of
Sierra region where Yosemite is located.
was beginning to change as we neared the park.
As we traveled
along we went through a small village that was
during the recent forest fire that raged near the park.
The grey area
in the center of this photo is one of the sections
where the fire
This was an
area where the forest fire burned up to the edge of the road.
We arrived in
the park with a stop for lunch at the famous Wawona Hotel.
The Wawona Hotel is one of the
California and a classic
resort design. The
hotel was built in 1876 to serve
tourists visiting the nearby
As tourism increased through 1916, the hotel
additional rooms and facilities. In addition, it cut more forest
as well as paths along the south
fork of the
Most of the hotel's
104 guestrooms open onto one of the
Wawona Hotel's deep
around the first and second floors; they have open
views of the
gardened and natural landscapes. The hotel includes six historically
buildings, built between 1876 and 1916. The rooms are furnished
period pieces, and vintage elements. The hotel has no
televisions in the guestrooms.
we had an opportunity to explore the hotel and its
interesting stop was the Hill's Studio near the
hotel 's main building.
(1829—1908), a renowned
landscape painter of the
Hudson River School,
stayed at the Wawona
the end of his life. He used the hotel pavilion as
studio and completed numerous works of the region.
This is listed
separately on the National Register of Historic Places.
We headed for
our next stop Mariposa Grove.
Mariposa Grove is a
southern most part of
Yosemite National Park.
It is the largest grove
in the park with several hundred
examples of the trees.
Two of its
trees are among the 30 largest Giant Sequoias
in the world,
some as old as 2400 years.
trees are very tall and have straight trunks that seen to reach for
have large trunks at ground level. Their bark is very soft and
I am standing
in front of a Sequoia tree root that was blown over many years ago.
It is hard to
imagine the size of the trunks. Originally, it was very
harvest these big trees because none of the lumbering
available were big enough.
sequoia trees grew together and had survived a
Most of the forest fires that occur in the park
are caused by
Our next stop
of was at Tunnel View scenic overlook affording
views of Yosemite Valley.
spans the eastern portions of
counties. The park, which is
managed by the
National Park Service,
covers an area
of 747,956 acres and reaches across the western slopes
mountain chain. Over 3.7 million people visit Yosemite
each year, most spend their time in
the seven square miles of
World Heritage Site
in 1984, Yosemite is internationally
recognized for its spectacular
Almost 95% of the park is
Yosemite was central to the development of the
Park idea. First,
and others lobbied to
Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President
in 1864. Later,
successful movement to establish a larger national park
not just the valley, but surrounding mountains
and forests as
well - paving the way for the
National Park system.
We entered the
National Park by way of Tunnel View stop. An almost
Falls as seen from Tunnel View. The summer months
at the park
are very dry with little rain fall. The result is that most of the
are dry or just trickle.
El Capitan is
in the background.
The mighty El
Capitan from Tunnel View.
A closer look
at El Capitan as we drive to the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls,
where we will
stay during our visit to the park.
scenery as we drive to the lodge.
arrived at the lodge. Our accommodations are very nice,
and we settle
in before dinner at the Lodge's Food Court. This bus
is one of
several that serve Yosemite Valley area. It was a
great way to
travel to the various scenic spots in the valley.
Sunshine on El
Capitan's granite walls greeted us as we went to
the Mountain Room. The scenery in the park is breathtaking
no matter the
time of day.
Driving by El
Capitan in the morning sunlight
Our stop of
the morning tour was at Olmsted Point, located in a
off of the Tioga Road which offers a view into
This view looks southwest into the valley,
giving, in particular, a view of the
northern side of
and a view of
to the east. The site is named after famed landscape
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.
Above is the famous Half Dome.
granite boulder rested near our outlook.
The view from
Olmsted Point toward Tenaya Lake.
scenery over looking Tenaya Lake.
Tenaya Lake is named
who met the
near the shores of the lake. Tenaya protested that
the lake already had a
name: Pie-we-ack, or "Lake of the Shining Rocks".
was created by the Tenaya Glacier, which flowed out of
Tuolumne Ice Sheet
and down to
This same glacier created
Scenery as seen from the lake.
along Tenaya's shoreline.
scaling a dome slope near Tenaya Lake.
Meadows with Tuolumne Creek in the background.
Meadows is a gentle,
section of the
in the eastern section of
Yosemite National Park.
elevation is 8,619 feet (2,627 m).
Lembert Dome is a
Yosemite National Park.
The dome soars 800 feet (240 m)
and can be hiked starting at the
in the heart of Tuolumne Meadows.
formations followed us as we drove back to Yosemite Lodge.
The remains of
a forest fire seen as we drive along Tioga Road. Tree
the blackening caused by the fire's flames.
The Yosemite Valley
Chapel was built in the
California in 1879. It
is the oldest standing structure in
chapel was designed by San Francisco
architect Charles Geddes in the
Carpenter Gothic style.
It was built
son-in-law, Samuel Thompson of San Francisco, for the California
School Association, at a cost of three or four thousand dollars.
As we rode
along through the National Park we saw many trees with lichen on
like this one. Their yellow, green colors was easy to spot.
peaks along our ride back to the Yosemite lodge.
After our tour
to Tuolumne Meadows we had several hours to
area around Yosemite Village. At the Valley Visitors Center,
I enjoyed the
Center's various exhibits about the Park.
This photo of
me enjoying a photo opt with John Muir.
Center had a neat model of Yosemite Park where visitors
the many natural wonders of the Park. I also visited the
Gallery where I view many of his Yosemite photos.
evening, we had a program about John Muir, noted
presented by Frank Helling. He told of John Muir's struggle to
National Park at Yosemite. It was a most enlightening and
program about this famous advocate for our national parks.
John Muir was a
early advocate of
in the United States.
His letters, essays,
and books telling of his adventures in nature,
especially in the
mountains of California, have
been read by millions.
His activism helped to preserve the
Sequoia National Park
and other wilderness
which he founded, is a prominent American
He petitioned the
Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite
National Parks. He is today referred to as the "Father of the
The above photo is of U.S. President
and nature preservationist
founder of the
Yosemite National Park.
In the background:
lower Yosemite Falls. In 1903, Roosevelt visited Muir
Guided into the Yosemite wilderness by naturalist
the president went on a three-day wilderness trip that
the Mariposa Grove, and included Sentinel Dome,
Point, and Yosemite Valley among other points of interest in
National Park. Muir seized the opportunity "to do some
in talking freely around the campfire," and the President,
John Muir, is quoted as saying "Of course of all the
people in the
world, he was the one with whom it was
while thus to see the Yosemite."
breakfast on Wednesday morning, we ventured to El
Meadow to check out the climbers who were scaling this famous peak.
Our tour Tour
Naturalist, David Lukas had his telescope set up so
we could view
the climbers attending to scale El Capitan this morning.
there were only two climbers attempting this climb.
just starting out so the were low on the side of El Capitan.
David was a
very professional naturalist and had a world of knowledge
Yosemite Park and its many natural feature.
He was a
great asset to our Road Scholar Program.
Bridalveil Falls was our next stop of the morning.
falls in the park are dry most of the summer.
Just a wisp
of water could be seen coming over the falls.
ventured along the falls trail we got a better view
of the water
coming over the falls.
Bridalveil Falls observation point we got a view of the waterfall.
shows the spot where the Yosemite waterfall would be
down if water was available. It is located in the right of
center of the
photo and shows the dark area where the cliff is
in a fan shape.
morning of hiking and view the natural wonders of Yosemite
we had a
delightful lunch at the historical Ahwahnee Hotel.
1927, The Ahwahnee is one of America's most distinctive
Registered National Landmarks.
The magnificent Ahwahnee is
in magnificence and charm. The hotel was designated a
Historic Landmark on June 2, 1987. The Ahwahnee
Accommodations include 123 guest rooms (99 in the main building
cottage rooms) and 4 parlor rooms. These rooms are the
top-of-the-line in-park Accommodations. Each room is accented with
American designs and is ideal for those guests who desire
service. The meal was very good and the traditional
boysenberry pie was outstanding.
has been serving Boysenberry Pie in Yosemite National
over 50 years! Boysenberries – a cross between raspberry
blackberry – make a delicious summer dessert pie especially
with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Our lunch at
the Ahwahnee Hotel ended with our group learning
the hotel and then were guided by David Lukas on a short nature
last full day in the park was started with a 4 hour bus ride to
Along the way
we passed the three brothers peaks.
We had a good
morning view of El Capitan.
Rock was lit up by the morning sun.
Gift Shop. It was 3,200 feet above the valley floor.
view in morning light.
Glacier Point rocks where tourist would pose for
closed as a safety hazard. Teddy Roosevelt
and John Muir
posed on this rock perch for their famous photo.
Ahwahnee Hotel from Glacier Point.
Half Dome is
a very busy climbing venue, you can see climbers on the top from
in the distance from Glacier point.
with just a trickle of water.
from Glacier Point.
glimpse up Yosemite Valley.
One last view
of Half Dome from Tunnel View.
It Is Friday
morning and our all too short a stay at Yosemite
is over. We boarded our bus with our capable
drive Ken at
the wheel, heading for Merced and then San Francisco.
Above is a
photo of one of the parks dry waterfalls
seen as we
drive out of the park.
the Merced River.
is not as exciting as Yosemite!
this adventure started.
wonderful experience! One more item off the bucket list.