Mighty Yosemite

Mirror Lake View Half Dome Vertical Pano
Crossed another item off my bucket list: Go to Yosemite.

Specifically, go to Yosemite Valley, the central place of it all. (too many years ago, I backpacked on a trip that went somewhere inside the boundaries of the national park. But that was far, far away from Yosemite Valley itself.)

I went there the weekend before Memorial Day. The timing of our trip meant we got there just before the place gets crowded and crazy. (And makes this post at least a month old. Ah well. I’m trying, peeps. I’m trying to blog again here at 2020 Hindsight.)

May, I was told, is the best time to go to Yosemite. It’s spring, when the temperatures are temperate, and the snow-thaws make for big, swollen waterfalls.

[Click any photo to enlarge – the “patchworky” photos are multiple photos stitched together. See note at bottom for more.]

Those are two views of Bridalveil Falls.

Did I say temperate?

We stayed in Camp Curry’s tent cabins. No insulation, no heating. It was cold at night!!

I had no idea about the timing of dogwood blooms; I’m just glad that I was there when they were in bloom.

But this late spring (it snowed two days before we arrived) meant that the Dogwoods were still in blossom when we were there.

Walks and hikes. There was lots of that to do.

First, to warm up, easy walks to Lower Yosemite Falls…..

Lower Yosemite Falls bridge panorama

Here’s a view of both the Upper Yosemite Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls cascades.

Yosemite Fall Tall Pano

The other easy, warmup hike was to Mirror Lake.

We tried to take a trail around past Mirror Lake, but were stopped at a rockslide. (That’s HalfDome at the upper left of the image):

Rockslide above Mirror Lake (and below Halfdome)

Then, warmed up and acclimated by mild hikes, it was time for some real hikes.

Up the Upper Yosemite Falls trail.

Yosemite Fall Hike Relief Map

1000 foot elevation gain in one mile means switchbacks. Lots and lots of switchbacks.

Merced River from Upper Yosemite Falls trail

The view from Columbia Rock

Panorama view from Columbia Rock on Upper Yosemite Large

A little ways past Columbia Rock, there’s a great view of Upper Yosemite Falls.

(Oh yeah. Must mention. We turned around before the next big ascent to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls. Pacing ourselves. Conserving energy for the descent. Because we Are Older Than We Used To Be and this was Day Two of a several-day trip.)

Upper Yosemite Fall Panorama

The next day we went on a ranger-led stroll on the valley floor.

Cook's Meadow, Yosemite Valley Floor

Ranger Walk heading toward The Sentinel

Superintendent Bridge

Later, we biked around Yosemite Valley.

The final day of hiking called for two waterfalls, a 2000 foot elevation gain, and nearly 7 miles. First, Vernal Falls, then Nevada Falls.

Heading up Mist Trail toward Vernal Falls. (quiz time: why is this called “Mist Trailâ€??)

Mist Trail to Vernal Falls

Stairsteps that go up, up, up, up, up until hikers reach the edge of the waterfall. (Much better to go up this misty trail. We were advised to go down a different route, and are glad we did.)

After a bit of a break there, we pressed on to Nevada Falls. Here’s a panorama view of Nevada Falls from our downward trek, taking Muir Trail.

Nevada Falls Panorama from Muir Trail

The last day, on our way out of Yosemite Valley, I stood under Bridalveil Falls. Got soaked.

Under the mists of Bridalveil Falls

(Pixel technical note: Several photos were made into panoramas by using Photoshop’s wonderful Photomerge command)

7 responses to “Mighty Yosemite”

  1. Patrizzi

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    PeeEss. Did you get to see Smokey Bear?

  2. Lori A. Webster

    Gorgeous photos, Susan! Yosemite National Park is seriously one of the most beautiful places on earth and one of my personal favorites. So glad you went and got to experience the magnificence of the falls and scenery. My family used to stay at Camp Curry, so am very familiar with it….I’ve stayed in those very same tents.

  3. Susan A. Kitchens


    Heard bears (near our tent cabin at night, whoa!).

    Watched a film about fire, where Smokey Bear was mentioned. Since fire management has changed, the motto has changed from “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” to “Only YOU can prevent wildfires” — motto changed because now Forestry/Fire/NPS peeps do controlled burns, so the motto hasta gotta distinguish between the controlled and uncontrolled fires.

  4. Cafe Pasadena

    Wunderful pictorial! The narrator did a good job too.
    Is blogging more often on your bucket list? 😉

  5. Susan A. Kitchens

    Hee, Cafe!! Yes, it is.

    I have been keeping up some blog-dom over on the Family Oral History Using Digital Tools site (http://familyoralhistory.us/), and, in fact, will have a Yosemite-related post to do there, as well.

    Am just getting my feet wet again here. Have another Yosemite-related post to do here, too. Then expect your typical cheese sandwich “my boring life” self-absorbed kinda drivel, too. Or, better yet, don’t expect anything at all! 😀

  6. Andrea

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos, Susan! I have lots of good memories from when André and I visited Yosemite in 1999 (twelve years ago, yikes!). We also stayed in Camp Curry and were ill prepared for the cold nights.

    By the way, this was our first visit to an area with a bear population, and we were advised not to leave any food or toiletries in the car because bears know how to get at them. (Do they still show a little film of a bear folding down the upper portion of a car door to get inside at the reception of Camp Curry?) We were very surprised to learn on later trips that everywhere else people are advised to leave food in the car. Apparently, Yosemite is the only place in Western North America where bears have learnt how to open cars!

  7. des

    Great photos!
    Next visit–Hetch Hetchy!