We tried to drive up to Glacier Point on Friday morning. Nobody was sure whether it would be open so we decided to take the chance. There didn’t seem to be much snow about but it was still closed for the Winter. It turned out that it opened that afternoon but the drive up was beautiful and it also gave the girls their first experience of hole in the ground toilets. What joy for a 5 year old with a very sensitive nose…
We decided to visit Bridalveil Falls on our way to find a lunch spot. We’d had a brief visit whilst the girls were asleep on the way into Yosemite but today we walked to the bottom of the falls. Today the sun was behind the falls so it was difficult to see the top – if you want to visit, go in the afternoon! That way you’ll get to see the waterfall rainbow too. The Big One got grumpy as it was quite wet in the spray and cold out of the sun (to put her coldness into perspective, it got to 27c about an hour later… Perhaps she’s getting too used to Houston weather!)
On from the waterfall, we went looking for a nice beach to have a picnic on. The first beach we choose looked perfect but as we were parking we saw this:
A young bear was ambling through the bushes in the car park. Two bears in two days – amazing. We stayed in the car and watched as he wandered through the car park and across to some trees at the edge of the river. We spotted the Mummy bear too, not far behind him. The girls thought the baby bear was very sweet but weren’t so keen on seeing the mother. Sensible girls, as mother bears are pretty dangerous if they think their babies are in danger. We drove round the car park three times very slowly to get another sighting of the bears but they move pretty quickly when they want to.
We eventually had a picnic lunch by the river, watching the water and finding good sticks for my lovely husband to whittle. The Big One made a new friend and built a shelter out of sticks and branches with him and I spent all my time looking for bears, but it seems you never get to see one when you’re looking…
Mirror Lake was our next destination, a hot mile walk. Or it should have been. We took the wrong path and ended up walking the wrong side of the river which in past times would have taken us to the lake but due to a couple of recent rock falls (one of which caused a tremor similar to a 2.4 Richter earthquake) the path is now permanently blocked. It wouldn’t have been so bad had we not carried the children for most of the mile walk and had to turn round and yomp back to the start carrying them! The promise of a beach was enough to get them to walk up the much easier (and shorter) correct path to the lake, which turns out not to be a lake at all just a widening of the river. On calm days the Mirror Lake is supposed to reflect the stunning surroundings, including some of Yosemite’s best known sites. Today the water was very ripply so no stunning pictures for us, just time for some more sandcastles and paddling in the very cold meltwater river! My lovely husband got his swimming shorts on and jumped in – he wasn’t the only one but nobody stayed in for very long.
We headed back to the hotel for a swim before dinner. I spent my time watching a blue wood pecker building a nest under a sun umbrella by the pool. Luckily the birds are protected so the hotel staff are not allowed to move the nest. Good job too as it took a lot of work from 2 birds and they were still building the next morning when we had a swim before leaving the hotel.
For our last morning in Yosemite, we headed back to Rocky Island as it had been the girls favourite place so far. There was only one problem: Rocky Island had disappeared in the night!
On the way to Rocky Island, Yosemite Falls had seemed much fiercer and it seems that the river had risen overnight due to the warmth of the sun melting the snow further up the mountains. There was much disbelief as the two girls stood there holding hands and the Big One declared it The Worst Day of My Life. Don’t despair, this phrase has been used a great deal in the last couple of weeks – if only I could work out where it had come from I’d quite happily strangle the person!
We still spent a happy half hour there before heading out to Glacier Point for a walk in the snow and to see the staggering drop down into the Yosemite Valley below. I can’t really describe it and the photos just cannot convey the sheer magnitude of the mountains or the beauty. You’ll just have to visit for yourself.
The picture above show Bridalveil Falls – it shows how high up we were as the falls looked tiny from where we stood.
The whole of Yosemite has blown us away with its extraordinary beauty and we feel really privileged to have seen it, particularly at a time of year when there aren’t too many other people around.
Our final stop in Yosemite, before heading for Sequoia National Park, was Mariposa Grove to give us a taste of the massive sequoia trees we were about to see. We walked through the California Tunnel Tree and stood next to the Grizzly Giant which reminded us of the Faraway Tree (see previous post). The Little One slept through half of the grove, quite contented to doze whilst being carried by me. Fine for her, but not so great for me in Summer-like temperatures! No pictures of these trees as there will be some in the next post – including the largest tree in the world…