I read that Yosemite is a zoo in the summer.
It was, but it was a zoo we needed to see. I mean, we were so close that it would be a sin to not go for a day, at least.
As soon as we entered the park we pulled off of the road with the rest of the millions of tourists for our big Valley photo op. It was lovely, far above all of the bobbing heads and not a car in sight, and one of the most natural shots of the day.
(Yosemite Valley polaroid, day 172)
From that point forward, we joined the herd and began our search for parking. I later learned from my doctor that if we'd just left our car there, we could have walked all over the valley away from the crowds. Wish I'd known I could do that.
(Bridal Veil Falls, polaroid)
We walked by Bridal Veil Falls and did get soaked :)
(Bridal Veil up close)
After finding a place to park (it took hours to get into the park and another to find parking), eating, and spending too much on those Yosemite hoodies and argyle mugs(?), we actually started looking for a real trail.
But we learned that in the crowd it is too hard to get a shuttle to the more remote trails and have enough daylight to hike them. One guy told us we had to camp there and ride the shuttle at daybreak to the trailheads. Oh well. We did see the Lower Yosemite Falls and walked the Mirror Lake Trail, but these were very short and much of it was paved. Most of our day was spent in our car or the shuttles, then it was time to go.
We knew it would be like this, rushed and less wild, but we only had one day. I kept thinking about what one ranger had told us: that when naturalist Carl Sharsmith was asked what he'd do if he had only one day to see Yosemite, he said, "Madam, I'd sit by the Merced River and cry."
(The Mercer River)
I think what I enjoyed most about Yosemite was in my head. I may have been surrounded by big groups of people but enclosed in the car, I could imagine John Muir's team exploring it without sidewalks and roads. I read that he called Yosemite "God's big show."
And in the Ansel Adams Shop (?) I could see how things looked just a generation ago.
I could picture the climbers that frequently come to scale El Capitan, some without harnesses, as I drove past their packed campground.
(El Capitan and the exit line )
(Lower Yosemite Falls)
I took advantage of every little niche we found that was either quiet or loud with roaring water.
And we had fun talking to each other and getting advice and entertainment on the shuttles.
Then there was the Cory Feldman lookalike vogue-ing along the side of the road. I think it's really sad that I remember Cory Feldman.
(My husband by Mirror Lake)
(my boy watching him)
(Mirror Lake, Polaroid)
Yes there were rattlesnakes here too, despite my husband's pishaw-ing me that it was too high in elevation.
(The Merced, polaroid)