We returned to Nicely's restaurant up the street from our hotel for breakfast, they opened at 7am so we were on the doorstep at 7.05 am ( didn't want to appear too eager!) in order to get breakfast and on the road as early as possible. The service was great and by 7.25 am we had the car loaded and were on our way.
Yosemite - here we come! I've been waiting for this day for so long!
Within minutes of setting off we were on Tioga Pass, the main pass that leads to the Park and through it. The Pass twisted and turned it's way up the mountain climbing higher and higher, with each turn the scenery just kept getting better and better. There were lots of places to pull over and take a good look at the view, the camera was on overtime!
As we got higher we came across a lake that was almost completely frozen over and all around snow and ice. A very pretty site and surprisingly not that cold as we got out to take a photo. Today the cold wind that had plagued us was gone making the low temperature much
The road had been very quiet to begin with but one stopping place further on had quite a crowd so of course we stopped too and soon realized why. Over in the distance was a clear view of Half Dome rising up at the head of the valley the whole vista was just awesome ( oops I'm sounding American now!)
After 16 miles of twists and turns we were at the highest point of the pass, just short of 10,000 feet. This was also the entrance to the National Park. From here the road carried on twisting but began to head downwards gradually but still with the most amazing views. Another stop had a great view of Half Dome again but this time closer.
Eventually we arrived in Yosemite village itself and parked the car. From here there's a free shuttle bus that takes you on a loop around the area, you can jump on and off at any of the 22 stops. We first went to Yosemite Low Falls, looking up you could see it cascading over the rock at the top, dropping into a bowl before a second fall cascaded to
the ground. There's a steep zig zag path that takes you to the top of the falls itself but it takes several hours to get up there. We decided to go up as far as we could in the time we had and were not disappointed. We got as far as Columbia Rock which is renowned for it's views of Half Dome. This time of course we were much closer than before, after a quick lunch stop we carried on up for another 30 minutes and took a smaller path off and came across the most magnificent view of the falls, in actual fact from here you could see that there we three falls one below the other not just two as it appears from the bottom. We decided to go back down from here as there was so much else to do yet.
Once back down in the valley we began to look for the shuttle bus to take us to mirror lake, as we looked we noticed a creature crossing the road ahead, I thought to myself ' what's that huge dog doing wandering around unleashed then Stan announced it was a Mountain Lion. We stalked it
for a while and managed to get a photo before it disappeared. On speaking to someone staying there who had seen it also, it turned out to be a bob cat not a mountain lion. Oh well it was still exciting!
After all the excitement we found the bus to take us to Mirror Lake but after a 20 minute bus ride discovered there was still over a mile to walk uphill to get to the lake. Oh well we had our walking shoes on so off we went. The temperature in the valley was a pleasant 73 degrees and still calm so that was a bonus.
By the time we arrived back at the car it was fast approaching 5pm, we'd planned to leave the park by 6pm and get to Merced to look for a motel but we still needed to go to Glacier Point, this is reputed to be where you get the classic view of Half Dome. It didn't look too far on the map so off we went.
The views live up to the reputation, magical!
By the time we were leaving the Park it was almost 8pm and we still
had 80 miles to drive to Merced where we planned to look for a Motel. We stopped off on the way to eat dinner and ended up getting to Merced at 11pm, luckily there were still Motel rooms available, we chose one as far away from the freeway as possible and got a lovely quiet night's sleep. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ !
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