This might just be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The granite mountains against the blue of the sky and the green of the trees is awe-inspiring. We’ve come at a good time too. It’s early Spring here – the deciduous trees are just beginning to come into bud and the meadows are yet to fill with flowers, but there is very little traffic and you can find quiet places to sit without being crowded by other people.
We’re staying at The Ahwahnee hotel which is reputedly the best hotel in the park. It certainly has the best views – you can stand in the grounds at the back of the hotel and see 2 waterfalls (one of them Yosemite Falls which is the tallest waterfall in the USA and the fifth tallest in the world), are surrounded by mountains and can take a 5 minute walk to a beautiful pebble beach alongside a melt-water river. The hotel was built in the 1920s and has a feel of very comfortable, but slightly faded, grandeur. It is a tourist pull, so I can imagine that in the height of Summer it might not be such a pleasant place to be – too crowded by far but then you would be guaranteed beautiful weather and can swim in some of the pools higher up the mountains.
We’ve been lucky – we’re experiencing mid-Summer weather in April. Temperatures have been 27c and there has not been a cloud in the sky. Luckily most of our time is spent in the shade of the forest or else we’d all have bad sun burn! I didn’t pack Summer clothes either, so we’re all surviving on 1 pair of shorts each (washed frequently, and in the case of my lovely husband and the girls, in the very cold rivers when they paddle!)
Our first morning here I was ill, so spent the time tucked up in bed whilst the girls and my lovely husband went off to explore. They climbed over boulders, paddled in the river and named an island Rocky Island. I could hear them running around outside the hotel in the sunshine and was very pleased to feel better in the afternoon so I could join them.
The girls love claiming and naming things, perhaps they’ll be explorers when they grow up. There is an island in the Thames that we’ve stopped at for a picnic breakfast when canoeing there and that island has been named Lifejacket Island.
I was taken to Rocky Island in the afternoon and we had an happy hour playing and paddling. My lovely husband decided that he was going to swim in the river. I certainly wasn’t up for that – the water was so cold that longer than 5 seconds paddling made your legs ache. He did manage to lower his whole body in but there was much shouting. The Little One decided to get naked – she never needs much encouragement – and jump in too. I have some great film of them both playing in the freezing water.
We headed off to Yosemite Falls. You can hike all the way to the very top but that wasn’t an option this time round as there was no way the girls would make it without carrying them and 8 hours of carrying a nearly 3 stone child each might have caused the end of our holiday! So, we followed the other tourists to the bottom of the lower falls. It is astonishing. It is very loud and the amount of spray it creates really upset the Big One who feels the cold easily. We stood and watched and had the obligatory photograph taken sitting on a fallen tree in front of it. If you look closely you an see the Big One is very unhappy about being there!
Back at the hotel the girls and lovely husband took a swim in the bath-like circular swimming pool. It was a pleasure just to sit with my feet in the warm water, admiring the view.