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Yosemite National Park timberlinetrails.net
I fell in love with Yosemite very early on in my outdoor experiences in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My first introduction to the
California Sierra was a hike up Mt Whitney with my brother and father, but latter on while exploring the huge eastern escapement of
this great mountain range my wife and I wandered over Tioga Pass and entered into a magical landscape known as Tuolumne
Meadows. This was our first introduction to Yosemite National Park and instinctively we knew that we had stumbled onto something
We came back again to this upper section of Yosemite and backpacked to the top of Yosemite Falls from the high country. From this
vantage point we then peered down into Yosemite Valley for the first time. We were amazed at all the micro sized vehicles buzzing
about far below and were delighted with the wonderful panoramas that surrounded us. That same day we hiked back to our vehicle
and proceeded down hill to a point where we passed through a three quarter mile long tunnel that exited into a small parking lot just
off the road. We then got out of our car and gazed into lower Yosemite Valley and were awe struck. No photo could ever do justice
to what we witnessed. It became quickly obvious to us that we would be spending a lot of time exploring this jewel of the Sierra.
Yosemite National Park is located in the central section of the Sierra Nevada Mountain
range in the state of California. It is approximately 3.5 hours by motor vehicle from San
Francisco, and 6 hours from the city of Los Angeles. The 1200 square mile park is
surrounded by the following wilderness areas. To the southwest is the Ansel Adams
Wilderness, to the northeast, is Hoover Wilderness, and to the north is Emigrant
The 1,200-square-mile park contains multitudes of lakes and ponds, 1,600 miles of
streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads. Annual park visitation exceeds
4.5 million. But statistics are not why people keep coming back to Yosemite.
Towering granite walls graced with
North Americas highest water falls are
just a couple of the many reasons why
people love Yosemite so much. Half
Dome (photo to the left), one of the
icons of Yosemite soars nearly 4,800
vertical feet above the valley floor, and
the park service during the month of
May strings the "Cable Ladder" up the
last 975 feet of 45 degree polished rock.
The cables allow access up the steep
slopes for hikers who are in good
enough condition to make the climb all
the way up from the valley floor to it's
8,836 foot summit. Half Dome's sheer
northwest face is also a draw for
technical climbers from around the
Half Dome is just one of the
many attractions Vernal (for
springtime) Falls (to the right)
gets it's name from the canyon
below, because it is kept lush
and green all year round from
the watery spray from above.
In contrast to the horsetail
plumes of most of the other
falls in Yosemite, Vernal Falls
is square and broad. At 320
feet it is not the highest water
fall in Yosemite, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful. Note the beautiful rainbow
in the lower left corner of the photo. This is a common site around Yosemite's Falls,
due to the abundance of sunlight and mist that come together in this special part of the
world. I find that from mid April through June are the best times to experience
Yosemite's water falls. But each year is different, depending on the snowfall, or the
lack of it. So check with the park service before making your plans to visit the park.
Most of Yosemite's visitors hang around the valley floor which consists of a piece of
landscape that comprises only one mile in width and seven miles in length. During the
months of July and August it can be as jambed with traffic (both vehicle and
pedestrian) as many metropolitan centers during rush hour.
But being in the heart of Yosemite Valley, is a very special experience even though the valley makes up only one percent of the parks
1,200 square miles. There are so many things to do in the valley, that it is well worth the time to explore. I have been in the valley a
multitude of times over the years, and I always discover something new each time.
Even a nights stay in Curry Village's tent cabins (shown to
the left) can an experience all it's own. Curry Village along
with Yosemite Village are the two most active areas in the
Valley. They contain most of Yosemite National Parks
lodging, dining, stores, and other amenities. For those who
want to skip the crowds, and sleep out under the stars, there
are plenty of places in the wilderness to spread out your
sleeping gear. But all back country overnight camping
requires a wilderness permit. When my wife and I first
backpacked Yosemite over 35 years ago, regulations were
far and few between. But due to the multitudes of people
who visit the park and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in
general, have to be regulated in order to preserve the beauty
of the wilderness for future generations.
In the early 1900´s the first director of the National Park Service,
Stephen Mather, decided that Yosemite needed a first class hotel.
Well the result of that vision was the Ahwahnee Hotel (photo to the
right) and it is certainly a first class hotel. It was designed by
architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood who was well known for the
impressive hotels he had designed for Zion and Bryce Canyon
National Parks. If you ever decide to stay in this beautiful structure,
make sure you have reservations well in advance. I hear that
Christmas time is very special at the hotel, but getting a reservation
for Christmas season has to be booked possible years in advance.
But the Ahwahnee is just one of many places to stay. For more
information, check out the following link: Where to stay in Yosemite.
Getting around in Yosemite can be a problem during the heavy traffic months from June through early September. But it is possible
to get around the valley in the free shuttle system that runs daily from 7am to 10pm. The shuttle stops at most all the lodging areas,
popular viewing sights, and popular landmarks. During the above time period, the shuttle comes around about every 15 minutes.
During off-season, expect a 30 minute wait of so. But if you have the time, the best way to get around is on foot. Walking is the
best way to slow life down, and that is why most people come to the park in the first place.
El Capitan (photo to the left) is a massive granite block that
rises 3,604 feet above the floor of Yosemite. (elevation above
sea level is 7,569 feet) The grand rock structure is highly
resistant to erosion and contains very few joints or fractures.
Features that makes it one of the most popular rock climbing
locations in the world. The multi-day ascent of El Capitan
requires climbers to use a number of advanced rock climbing
The first climber to scale El Capitan's sheer wall was Warren
harding, who put up the first route up the Nose of El Capitan in
1958. Using fixed ropes, and a mountain of bolts, Warren
Harding and a couple of his friends reached the top in 45 days.
I remember my parents taking interest in the climb, due to it
being televised on the news when I was only 7 years old. Latter
Royal Robbins assembled a team and made the climb in 7 days.
In 1975, Jim Bridwell made the first single day assent.
But with all due respect, having bolts in place saves lots of time
for climbers who have followed in Warren Harding's footsteps.
Nevertheless, the speed record that stands out above all the
others, is Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama's. They did the
classic "Nose Route" in just two hours and forty eight minutes.
A phenomenal feat to say the least. Check out the following
link, to see a video of a speed climber going up El Capitan
The height of Bridalveil Fall
(photo to the right) is 620 feet
and flows year round. The
glaciers that carved Yosemite
Valley left many hanging
valleys which initiated the
waterfalls that flow into the
valley. All of the drainage
areas that fed these falls
carved the hanging valleys into
steep cascades with the
exception of Bridalveil Fall.
Bridalveil still cascades into
the valley from the edge of the
steep cliff that it flows over,
although that edge has moved
back into an alcove from the
original edge of the valley. To
the left you see Nevada Fall
(upper fall), and Vernal Fall as
seen from the Panorama Trail
between Glacier Point and the
Yosemite is not only home to some of the worlds greatest water falls, and unbroken granite
monoliths, it is also home of the Giant Sequoia. This monster of a tree, can weigh over two
million pounds, and grow to a height of over 320 feet. It makes it the largest living thing on
this earth. The Sequoia can also reach an age of 3,200 years old, due to it being nearly
immune to almost all known pests and diseases. The trees bark is also very thick, and resists
fire to a very high degree. The Mariposa Grove in Yosemite is well worth visiting.
Vernal Fall (image to the right) is a beautiful waterfall along the Merced River
just downstream from Nevada Fall.
It is 317 feet high, and is accessible via the Mist Trail. Vernal Fall is one of
the attractions for hikers that travel along the extremely popular Mist Trail. It
is also clearly visible from Glacier Point.
The original name of the fall was Yan-o-pah ("little cloud") The fall was
named "Vernal" by Lafayette Bunnell, a member of the Mariposa Brigade in
1851. Very likely Lafayette named the fall Vernal (for springtime) because
the canyon below is kept lush and green all year round from the watery spray
from above. In contrast to the horsetail plumes of most of the other falls in
Yosemite, Vernal Falls is square and broad.
Hikers on the Mist Trail will start at the trailhead in Yosemite Valley out of
Happy Isles. This is one of the shortest (1.3 Miles) and most popular trails in
Yosemite. The trail is mostly shaded and is progressive in incline until you
reach the base of the waterfall where mist sprays onto the hikers. Depending
on the time of the year hikers can be totally drenched by the time they pass
the mist from the waterfall. The final 15 minutes of the trail is a very steep
climb up rocks to the top of the waterfall. All in all, Vernal Fall is one of
Yosemite's most beautiful water falls, and thousands of hikers each year take
the time to hike to the top and relax in one of the parks most spectacular
At 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls (photo to the right) is the fifth tallest, waterfall
in the world, and the highest in North America. Salto Angel in Venezuela at
3,212 is the highest. Yosemite Falls is actually made up of three separate
falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 ft), the middle cascades (675 ft), and
Lower Yosemite Fall (320 ft). You can walk to Lower Yosemite Fall in just a
few minutes. A hike to the top of Upper Yosemite Fall is a strenuous, all-day
Yosemite Falls is fed by Yosemite Creek, which drains 50 square miles of
snow melt from the high country. Peak flow usually happens in late May,
and 2,400 gallons per second flow over the lip of the upper fall. But by
August, Yosemite Falls is often dry. It begins flowing again a few months
later, after winter snows arrive.
Well, that is just a small sample of Yosemite National Park's beauty. For
more on Yosemite and all it has to offer, please do not hesitate to make use
of the below links, for further information and possible adventures that you
can experience in this most wonderfully preserved national treasure.
Deeper Insight - The greatest National Park There is no doubt that Yosemite is one of the most beautiful
National Parks in the United States, and possible in the world for that matter. Most of the four and a half million
visitors each year would certainly testify to that fact. But as awe inspiring as Yosemite's landscape is, the Bible tells
us in 1st Corinthians 2:9 that "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has
prepared for those who love him"
In other words, God is preparing a place for those who love Him that far exceeds the most beautiful places here on
In the Yosemite Valley visitor center, there is a plaque hanging in one of the display rooms that has a writing by
environmentalist David Brower who wrote the following in 1991: There are not many places left where we,
ourselves, can choose whether to exploit or leave wild. Although the budget of natural things may have looked
unlimited to, grandfather, we know it is a finite budget. Wilderness is a fragile thing. People can break it but
they cannot make it. And we are quite capable, in our own time, of breaking it all – quite capable of using up
all the choices America will ever have between saving and spending what is left of it’s unmarred natural
As I pondered this writing, I could not help but agree with the truth that man is incapable of creating anything. He
can only destroy the beauty that God has created. The Gospel of John 1:1-3 explains this fact: In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
But as our world continues to wind down, we can take great hope that one day, God will renew all things.
2 Peter 3:13 But we are looking forward to God's promise of new heavens and a new earth afterwards, where
there will be only goodness.
For more on this most important subject please visit the following links:
"The Ultimate Journey" and the "Meaning of Life"
OTHER RELATED LINKS:
Find out how to plan your visit when it comes to where to bed down. Included in the below link are other links to help you book a
room and other amenities.
Where to Stay
Hike or backpack Yosemite National Park's most popular trail. Get close up views of beautiful Nevada and Vernal Falls. Also
included are photos and information on the fantastic stone stair case. Just click on the following link.
The Mist Trail
Join us on Yosemite National Parks most adventuresome hike. Enjoy photos, history, and information of what it takes to climb to
the top of the icon of Yosemite Valley.
Half Dome (via the Cable Ladder)
Get a quick overview of some of the activities that await you in one of America's most beautiful National Parks.
Things to do in Yosemite
For much more when it comes to hiking, backpacking, and climbing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and other areas, explore the
main link below.