First trip to Yosemite National Park! - September 2015

It sounds strange to say we ended up going to Yosemite National Park for the first time "on a whim" or that we "drove through on our way home" but both statements are accurate. Our plan was to go to Mono Lake and the planning stopped there so after sunset and then sunrise at the lake we decided what to do next over breakfast. Yosemite seemed like a good idea so we went for it.

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We entered the park from the Tioga Pass Entrance near Lee Vining. What a dramatic landscape! I have to admit I didn't get many photos of this breathtaking area because I was busy driving and watching out for the people who were running on the road. It happened to be the Graniteman challenge which includes a 12.4 mile run up the pass!

The first place we got out to walk around was Tuolumne Meadows. The recent, and in some cases still burning, wild fires made the sky hazy.

We continued our drive west into the park, passing some areas burned from wild fires years ago.

As we descended into the Yosemite valley the haze thickened and made it difficult to get a good view of Half Dome, but the sheer granite cliffs were just as impressive. Makes you feel very small. Photos don't even begin to capture the feeling (especially considering all the smoke!).

Once in the Valley we parked near Sentinel Meadow and walked around some more, spending quite a bit of time with a couple of mule deer. There were a lot of deer in this area.

It was amazing, if not a bit troubling, that this one was so comfortable with T getting so close to him.

The smoke gave the air a magical quality.

After driving to the end of the road and having some food at the impressive Ahwahnee hotel we headed back out to the main road.

For one last hurrah we decided to stop at Bridalveil Falls which, from below, could only be recognized by a small amount of mist way up high on the cliff.

The boulders over which the falls usually flow were dry so we decided to climb up and see if we could find more of the falls.

It was really fun!

And then it was time to leave the park through the south entrance towards Fresno and head back to LA.

Yosemite, you amaze me. It was an honor. I hope we meet again on a day that's a little more clear.

You can see more of my photos in the Flickr album.