This map shows various points of interest in Yosemite National Park in California and includes some photos from our family vacation there in September 2005.
Crane Flat Gas Station
Our first stop inside Yosemite National Park. Gas was $3.65/gallon! We also bought a bottle of wine and a corkscrew so that we could create our own cocktail hour somewhere later that day.
Our first views into the valley
As we came out of a tunnel, we could see the valley stretching off to the right. It's really an amazing view!
Our first view of El Capitan
Upon entering the valley, this was our first view of the great "El Capitan."
Our home in Yosemite -- the Curry Village tent cabins. They were definitely rustic!
View of Half Dome
At the end of the Curry Village driveway was a perfect view of Half Dome.
El Capitan from the Valley Floor
Our first afternoon in the park, we spent a good amount of time admiring El Capitan from the valley floor. We met some rock climbers who were going to be climing the granite face starting the next morning. Apparently, during the peak season (September through October), there are always a number of climbing groups on the cliff at any point in time. The climb usually takes 3-5 days -- which means that they sleep in their hammock-like swings thousands of feet up off the ground! (See the little black spot in the middle of the fourth photo? Those are climbers!)
Our first night there, we found a quiet spot along the river (more like a creek) and enjoyed the bottle of wine we had bought at the gas station earlier. It wasn't the best vintage, but the setting was close to perfect. My mom even went wading in the water!
Climbing "El Cap"
I wish I could claim that we actually climbed the tallest granite monolith in the world (affectionately called as "El Cap" to those who know it well), but we had to content ourselves with a little hike up to the base of the actual cliff and a couple photos of our faux climb. We did run into the climbers we had met the day before, and we got to see them off for their big adventure.
The Ahwahnee is one of the most beautiful old lodges in the country. The architecture and decor give it a true "old world" feeling.
Ansel Adams Gallery
Yosemite National Park and Ansel Adams go hand in hand. This gallery features many of his original photographs taken in the park over a period of about 50 years.
On our last morning in Yosemite, we hiked in to Mirror Lake, which was barely a pool of water at this time of year. We had beautiful views of Half Dome, though. And we saw about a half a dozen deer grazing on bushes on the other side of the creek from the trail. The deer eventually made their way over to our side of the creek and started eating within about 3 feet of where we were standing. There was even a little fawn among them that was really cute! It was amazing how comfortable they were that close to us!
Yosemite Village Store
This store has general supplies -- from food to camping gear to souvenirs. It's in the heart of Yosemite Village in the valley.
Yosemite Lodge is one of the many places to stay inside the park. It boasts a couple different dining options, and this is where we ate our first night in the valley. There is also an outdoor theater here, and we were able to watch a slide presentation on some of the earliest climbs of El Capitan.
Tioga Road, which is only open in the warm summer weather, has beautiful views that stretch out for miles. It's fascinating to see hillsides that were ravaged by recent forest fires contrasted by thick pine woods in other areas.
Tenaya Lake is a beautiful Alpine lake surrounded by pine trees and granite. The water's a bit cold for swimming, but it's a perfect spot for a hike or picnic.
Tuolumne Meadows are expansive and beautiful fields with the High Sierras as their backdrop. This is an excellent area for hiking, star-gazing, and camping. It is easily accessible as a day trip from Yosemite Valley, which we did on our second day in the park. It's definitely cold up along the Tioga Pass, though -- even on Labor Day weekend, the temperature was getting down into the 20's at night!
Tioga Pass and Tioga Lake
Tioga Pass is the high point (9,945 ft.) along Tioga Road. On one side of the pass is Yosemite National Park, and on the other side is the Inyo National Forest and Mono Lake. Tioga Lake is another Alpine lake nestled in among the pines and the granite.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
This reservoir, within the course of the Tuolumne River, provides San Francisco with its tap water. It is only accessible through the Hetch Hetchy Entrance on the west side of the park. There is no boating on the reservoir, but it's a wonderful spot for camping and hiking.