Words and pictures do not do this park justice. I walked around in constant awe of our surroundings. This place is simply spectacular and I’m already planning on convincing the family to move here at some point in our lives. For now, we will settle on coming here annually.
For starters, I cannot stop talking about the Lodge. I don’t want the crowds to take over so I’ll share the name, but only if you ask me. But if I must give it a rating, it’s pretty much a 10! The lodge turns a year old in June, so it still has that new smell to it. Of course we upgraded to a jr. suite, but the size of these rooms are just wonderful! There’s plenty of room to stretch out either in the living area, the bedroom, or just out on the balcony. There are rockers and chairs and tables out there so that you can sit in the morning and sip coffee, or pull out a deck of cards from the stash of board games they provide in each room, and play the night away. They also have a game room, a library, a restaurant, a tavern, and a pool complete with a fire pit for nightly s’mores. Which we will definitely have tonight!
They provide tons of tours to choose from. We selected the Wonders of Yosemite Hike and Tour option. Dani was our guide, and she was wonderful.
Our first stop was Tuolumne Grove to see the Giant Sequoias. Although slightly shorter in height than the Redwoods, they’re considered the largest living organism due to the sheer size of their trunks. When we looked above at the top of the trees, the branches looked like whole trees themselves! As we trekked down to see the grove of trees Dani pointed out the difference in leaves of the white fir from other trees. She mentioned that people will boil the leaves down into a tree. They’re extremely high in vitamin c and smell like oranges. We had to taste a few and they tasted like oranges too!
The first sequoia we came across is known as Big Red. Big Red is around 2,300 years old and about 230 feet tall.
We came across another tree that apparently had been burned and we could see where the bark grew around it to protect it. I had imagined it to be a bit hard, but the bark was quite spongy. From there we came across the tunnel tree. It had been hit by lightening years ago, but when people came into the area and were building a road through, they chiseled their way through the tree so that stagecoaches could drive through it! We came across some “graffiti” marks inside the tree that dated back to the 1800’s. There was one engraving on the tree labeled YSP. That stands for Yosemite State Park. It became a National Park in 1890. That gives you an idea how long ago that was engraved into the bark.
We stopped for lunch at Foresta near the privately owned cabins that were grandfathered in when it became a National Park. Dani showed us some rock formations that had little pocket holes. This was used by the Miwoks to grind acorns into acorn flour which was their main staple of food. On our way out we saw the Foresta Pioneer Cemetery.
From there we went to Cascade Falls before heading to the Tunnel View. There we could see Silver Springs Falls, Bridal Veil Fall, Sentinel Dome, Three Brothers, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and El Capitan. The views from there were SPECTACULAR. Definitely bucket list worthy and I can now check them off!
Dani then took us to the bottom of Bridal Veil Fall where she and I ran to the end and got misted all over! Well worth the run to see the falls that close! No pictures at that distance though as I was afraid to get the camera wet.
We then went to see Yosemite Falls. These are the 5th largest falls in the world and the largest one in North America. They fall a distance of about 2 miles!
At Yosemite Falls you come across the Chapel which has been standing since 1877. From there you cross these beautiful meadows to reach the falls. It was too early for it to be blooming, but we can just imagine what it looks like when it it’s in full bloom.
On our way out of the falls, we got our last taste test. Dani found some Miner’s Lettuce and let us taste it. Tasted just like spinach. It was great!
Right before we headed back to our lodge, we stopped at the base of El Capitan and saw several climbers! I tried to take a few pictures, but I don’t know if you can see them when you zoom in. You’ll have to trust me that they were there. One of our riders had binoculars that he shared with the group and we all got to see the climbers. They were so tiny! Like termites!
Truly a magical day. We cannot wait to come back!