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Yosemite 2007 Trip

Day 2 of 4

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Friday, June 22nd
McGurk Meadow hike, Wawona, Glacier Point

After breakfast we made the very short drive along Glacier Point Road and did the McGurk Meadow hike.

After the hike we drove down to Wawona to pick up some extra groceries. To get to Wawona, we drove back along Glacier Point Road and then made a left turn onto Wawona Road. It's about a 35 minute drive from the campground to Wawona. If you're looking for a nice campground near a body of water, the Wawona campground looks inviting. It's right next to the South Fork of the Merced River, with lots of gravel and rock along the shores for easy access. Looks great for the kids. The campground is reservable, and was completely full when we passed it.

Wawona has a gas station, so I filled up the car there. It also has a grocery store, which is why we'd come. But it was such a hot day that we decided to get ice cream first. After that we picked up the groceries and ice and returned to Bridalveil Creek campground. As expected, the campground was filling up with a few more campers on this Friday night. However, it didn't fill completely.

After dinner, we cleaned up and made the 15 minute drive to Glacier Point. This was my third trip to Glacier Point, but the first near sunset. I'd also forgotten one of the most amazing sights -- the bend in the road just before you reach Glacier Point, where Half Dome rises up and shoves itself into your face. You're driving along in the forest, and then you turn a corner and all of a sudden the trees disappear and you find yourself driving straight toward Half Dome. It's probably an optical illusion since it's framed by the trees, but it appears bigger, like the moon looks when it's low on the horizon. It's all you can do to prevent yourself from driving straight off the cliff instead of veering left to stay on the road.

We arrived at Glacier Point around 7:30pm. The parking lot was half full, but it's a huge parking lot so this means there were over a hundred people there despite the late hour. The lighting at this time of day is beautiful. I set up my tripod and attached my best lens, a 100mm macro lens. This provided the perfect framing for Half Dome, which is clearly the star of the show in this view. Of course you can see Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls and pretty much the entire valley 3000 feet below, but Half Dome is the main attraction. In fact, I pretty much neglected to photograph anything else (the direction of the sun had something to do with that). I figured I'd taken other photographs from the top on previous trips.

Nathan and Madeline looking out at Half Dome from Glacier Point

Half Dome from Glacier Point

While we were there we saw one guy with his 8x10 view camera taking images of Half Dome. If I recall there was also someone with the same type of camera the last time I'd visited Glacier Point. There's always one person trying to channel Ansel Adams. After enjoying the view, we started the walk back, stopping along the way to take in the view from different vantage points. One person said they saw rock climbers on Half Dome, but we weren't able to spot them with binoculars. After taking in the views, we headed back to the campground.

Half Dome from Glacier Point

Looking out at Half Dome from Glacier Point

While daytime temperatures were very warm, at night it got a bit chilly, especially on Friday night. It was slightly colder than on Thursday. Still, it was bearable. Just don't expect to sleep comfortably without a tent. Valley temperatures are a bit warmer, so you might be able to get away without a tent there, or at least dispense with the rain fly.

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