Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yosemite National Park, Part II

The next morning we woke up, showered and packed up, then stopped at the Bug Rustic Resort to have some breakfast. We were all hungry and the eggs and bacon were pretty good! The weird part was that they served coffee in tempered glasses (the same ones that they use to serve beer in the evenings), which was really hot on your hands.

We headed into Yosemite and found parking. We did hit a line getting in, but eventually they waved those who had already paid into another line and that helped out a lot. We got onto a bus, rode to a major area, then switched buses to ride to where we'd do our hike. Our plan was to do the Vernal Falls trail, which was absolutely swamped when we started. It started thinning out after 5 or 10 minutes though, and it wasn't bad after that. We didn't go all the way to the top but we came pretty close (you get soaking wet at the top which is why we opted not to). 
not the waterfall we hiked to the top of, but a pretty one nonetheless
another pretty waterfall
Dennis at the bridge that crosses mid-way up the Vernal Falls hike

After that we rode the bus through some more of the park until we got to the main area. We went through the visitor's center and the gift shops before heading back to the car. On our way out we stopped by El Capitan, which is famous for the climbers who take on the 3,300 ft high challenge! I wasn't able to spot any climbers with the naked eye until Jonathan showed me exactly where they were. Everyone standing around staring was helping everyone else see the climbers. There were only two that we saw, though there could have been others... they were practically specks! If you look at the photo to the right as if it's the Statue of Liberty, you can make out the climbers perched on her shoulder.

While I was initially fearful of bears, the only wildlife we really encountered up-close were squirrels. At one point on our hike I asked a park ranger how many bears resided within Yosemite. She said there were about 33 in the Valley, and around 200 in the entire park. 33 in the Valley (about 7 square miles) seems like a good amount, but 200 overall seems puny... the park is over 750,000 acres!

And, as a final note, if you're reading this post and were at Yosemite the same time we were, consider looking at this poster. A man went missing near Upper Yosemite Falls and has yet to be found.

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