Monday, October 23, 2017

2017 - California Day 10 (Yosemite National Park)

Monday, September 18, 2017. Today, we spend another day in Yosemite National Park before heading out tomorrow morning to Monterey Bay, our home base for a night before heading to our final destination, San Francisco.

Yosemite National Park - BridalVeil Falls
We will be spending our time this morning at Glacier Point, which is the place to go if you want to see above the Yosemite Valley. We made it to our first point, Bridalveil Fall at 9:20am and it was a bit disappointing. Actually, driving in, we noticed that it was very hazy and it wasn't as clear as the previous day was. The fall itself did not really have that much water, in fact, it had so little that it would get blown away by the wind. The walk from the parking lot to the fall is less than 5 minutes. You can actually see it from the road, so you have a good idea if you want to go see it.

Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point

Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
While driving up to Glacier Point, we actually noticed a lot of smoke as we were going up. Initially we thought it was just the morning hazy, but there are actual forest fires while we were here! By forest fire, I mean, little areas of active smoke that you can see on the ground and then randomly, we would see small flames. We even saw a firefighter on the road! I guess the issue is more serious than expected. When we got to the visitor center yesterday, they actually told us that Glacier Point was only re-opened on Friday! We lucked out again.

Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
Made it to Glacier Point's parking lot at 11am. Yes, it took about an hour to get up here from Bridalveil Fall. The views from here are quite amazing. Make sure to check the weather beforehand, I'd hate to have to drive all this way and it was cloudy.

Yosemite National Park - Yosemite Falls, can you see the rainbow?
You can see most, if not all the major peaks and you can also see Yosemite Falls itself from here.

Yosemite National Park - Sentinel Dome (almost there)
We started to head to Sentinel Dome at 11:30am, a 1.5 mile hike from Glacier Point. Be prepared for an elevation gain, there is a lot of uphill as you get closer to Sentinel Dome itself but it is worth it.

Yosemite National Park - Atop Sentinel Dome (that's El Capitan)
Atop Sentinel Dome, you are provided with 360 degree views of the surrounding area. It was very nice here, we stopped for our packed lunches (oh, for the days that I don't have lunch spots, we pre-packed sandwiches with bread, peanut butter, and honey that we got from the grocery store). We made it to the top by 12:25pm, so roughly an hour hike.

Yosemite National Park - Glacier Point
Started to head back down at 1pm and made it back to the Glacier Point parking lot at 1:30pm. Where we had a snack and enjoyed the views one last time before heading back down to the valley.

Yosemite National Park - Tunnel View
Actually stopped at Tunnel View for some pictures and enjoy the view. The parking lot looks big, but there are a lot of people here! And you can quickly see why. It is also a noted spot to watch sunsets or sunrises if you are interested.

Yosemite Valley Grill
Dinner was a bite to eat the the Valley Grill, which had burgers for the most part at roughly $10 a burger. The food is okay, there really isn't much choice here though. Note, if you want WiFi, there is free WiFi at the Yosemite Valley Food Court. It is also near a shuttle stop and has the washrooms as well.

Yosemite National Park - Stoneman Meadows
We ended up trying to wait for sunset at Stoneman Meadows as per the suggestion of the ranger in the visitor center, but unfortunately, it was cloudy this evening and we didn't get to see much. We did however have more deer visitors! Honestly, I've never seen so much wildlife up close in the wild like this before.

Yosemite National Park - Stoneman Meadows
Headed back to the hotel to try the hot tub which was not hot enough and was full of chlorine. The swimming pool itself wasn't any better unfortunately. We called it a night after that, tomorrow, we head to Monterey Bay for the day.