Words cannot describe what I’ve seen today. It was the most beautiful and amazing thing I’ve ever seen! I haven’t even seen pictures of it before, or maybe like one a very long time ago so guess if I put on my “wow-face” when I saw the Yosemite Valley!!
But first we saw something else. The Giant Sequoia, the world’s biggest living things. They weren’t as tall as the Coast Redwoods we saw yesterday but they were way wider. The biggest one had a diameter about 15 feet (4,5m)! And one of them you could walk through, it was dead though, but still very cool. It was supposed to be an easy hike, 1.6 mi. But the high elevation (we were almost 6500ft (2000m) above sea level which made it a little harder to breath. The place was called Tuolumne Grove and was placed below the parking lot. And that meant a pretty rough uphill hike on the way back. My calves didn’t like that, but I made it!
The next stop was the tunnel view from where you could see the whole valley (the most beautiful part of the valley). El Capitan is the big granite wall on the left side of the valley and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers. Yes, I’m not kidding, crazy people climb up that 3000ft (900m) wall! Normally It takes about 3-4 days to climb and when they sleep they hang in cocoons from the wall. The speed record is in 2h 33min which is just ridiculous! Half Dome is the most familiar rock formation in Yosemite Valley and is the only thing I kinda recognize from pictures I might have seen a long time ago. It is also made of granite and is 1,700ft (1400m). To the right there is a small but tall water fall called the Bridalveil Fall. Now in the summer the water flow isn’t so heavy because of the dry climate in California this time of year. It is almost 200m high and was really beautiful. The wind sometime turned the flow backwards and up.
After that we stopped at tiny Vista Points and had a bigger lunch break at the Yosemite Lodge (a hotel on the valley floor) by the Yosemite Falls. We saw it up close and it was also breathtakingly beautiful! It is the highest waterfall in North America, more than 700m. We were one of the last to see the water flow, because in the middle of July (normally middle of August) the water stops flowing. Lucky us! We could’ve taken a swim in the water right at the end of the waterfall but we totally forgot about bathing suits. So we just stepped in the water to cool of our feet. The water was really cold but felt so good against our warm feet. They weren’t very swollen though which was good. It was very warm today actually, don’t know the temperature but it might have been close to 90F at its warmest point. All the trees were really big down there in the valley so it was no problem walking around in the shade.
After our lunch break we got back to San Francisco and we landed at our hostel at 8:30pm. I was tired but I couldn’t wait writing about this. I’m still in awe!
The tour was with Extranomical Tours and was really good! Our guide Kurt told us a lot of funny stories along the way. Among other things he pointed out the track field Mythbusters use by the Bay Bridge. Me and the boy love to watch that show! He also pointed out George Lucas’ inspiration to the AT-AT Walkers from the Star Wars V movie. You know those big machines walking on four legs? Right by the Mythbuster track there were a big container dock and the cranes lifting the containers looked like those Walkers. He also told us that the almond production in Oakdale is 1/3 of the worlds production of almonds and that California is called The Golden State because of the gold-brown grass that cover most of the state more than six months a year, not after the gold rush as many people seem to think. He told us a lot about the gold rush too. But I missed most of that because I was asleep.
On the way back we stopped at Treasure Island in San Francisco and had an awesome view over San Francisco’s skyline, both of the bridges (Bay Bridge and Golden Gate), Alcatraz and the sunset. Beautiful!!
This was an amazing day and I am so glad we went to Yosemite. I have to admit I was a little skeptic to that long bus drive (3,5h in each direction) for a National Park, but it was totally worth it and I would suggest all of you to go there if you ever get the chance!!
Tomorrow we are heading back down south to the warmth and palm trees. It’s weird that California looks so different in the north, south and east. I think we will just drive south on I-5 most of the way so we can spend as much time in Santa Monica as possible. I hope there will be some 4th of July celebration at the pier. High time to sleep now so I have energy to drive tomorrow!
Apperantly Sequoia trees need fire to reproduce. Two years ago the rangers started a 100 acre fire for the better of the forest. A fire takes away the duff (flammable stuff) on the forest floor so if a sparkle hits it wont spread too much. But the wind changed and the fire burnt down 5000 acres instead… First view of Yosemite Valley from the bus. Everyone on board: WOOOOW! This was taken from the vista point called Tunnel View. The picture doesn’t do the real thing any justice at all! It was the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen. The big granite wall on the left is El Capitan. The Half Dome is visible far away in the picture and above the nearest trees is the Bridalveil Fall. Grand Canyon was nothing compared to this! Bridalveil Fall. Half Dome. Yosemite Falls, sixth highest waterfall in the world. El Capitan where people are stupid enough to climb! Merced River and Bridalveil Fall. Star Wars inspiration. Bay Bridge and San Francisco downtown skyline.