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Yosemite 2007 Trip

Day 3 of 4

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Saturday, June 23rd
Yosemite Valley: Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Falls

Although my visit to Yosemite Valley in 1995 was part of my inspiration for creating this web site, I hadn't actually been in the valley since 1997. I'd been to Yosemite three times since then, but always to Tuolumne Meadows. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not a huge big-waterfall person. But it was still great just driving along the valley floor looking up at the huge granite walls. Which is a good thing, since this was a drought year and the waterfalls were a fraction of what they are in a wet year. Still, this was the first time I'd ever been in the valley early enough in the year to actually see Yosemite Falls before they dried up.

After breakfast, we made the half hour drive down to the valley and started our day in the valley by doing the short walk to the base of Bridalveil Falls.

After seeing the falls, we made the short drive to the Sentinel Beach picnic area. I was surprised to find that there were only a half dozen picnic tables set up here. Even more surprising is that half of them were unused. We grabbed one and ate lunch in the shade, trying to avoid the sun on this hot day.

After lunch we decided to try to find access to the Merced River for the kids to play in. We drove around and around trying to find parking to no avail. I stopped for 15 seconds on a side road so that I could talk to Marisa and Brian in the other car (we were caravanning) to find out what they wanted to do. Even though we weren't blocking traffic, a ranger immediately pulled up and told us we had to move. When we asked for suggestions on where to park, he said he couldn't help us -- "Your guess is as good as mine -- it's a Saturday." Thanks for nothing. Let this be a lesson - if you want to visit the valley, park your car as soon as you can and use the free shuttle buses the rest of the day.

Eventually we found a couple parking spots on the shoulder near Yosemite Village. We walked over to the store and bought ice cream, then took the shuttle bus over to the Yosemite Falls trailhead. Then we made the short hike to the base of Yosemite Falls.

After the falls we returned to our cars and drove to the El Capitan picnic area. This is a much nicer picnic area than the Sentinel Beach one. It has a lot more tables and a view of the granite walls above. We brought out the stove and cooked up dinner.

After dinner, Brian and Marisa headed back to the Bay Area while we headed back to the Bridalveil Creek campground for one more night. Thankfully it was a bit warmer than the previous night.

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