Yosemite National Park…part 2
by Wendy VanHatten
Half Dome, probably the most iconic site in all of Yosemite is another granite formation rising nearly 5,000 feet above the valley floor. You might think it’s a giant granite dome with the northwestern half missing. In reality, the unique shape is the result of more glacial action. If you’re an experienced hiker, take the opportunity to experience this up close and personal. The challenge lies at the end of the hike when you ascend the final 400 feet by cables. Yes…I said experienced hiker. Cables are strung each year and reservations are a must.
Like waterfalls? Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America, with snow runoff cascading down its 2,425 foot drop. Go in winter to see an ice cone at the very top. Bridal Veil Falls, another beauty, is a 620 foot waterfall located near the entrance to Yosemite Valley.
Wander along the boardwalks and trails through the Meadows, where you might see more than lush grasses and brilliant wildflowers. Deer, foxes, bald eagles, chipmunks, picas, and of course bears may appear on your walk.
Hike or take the tram through Mariposa Grove, home to about 500 mature giant sequoias. These largest living things on earth can live to be 3,000 years old.
For me, there are no better views than from Glacier Point. Wind your way to this overlook for the most commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite’s high country. Of course, you can only make this drive from late May through October or November, depending on snow fall. If you like cross country skiing…you’re in luck. You can experience the same views after skiing for about 10 or 11 miles.
Enjoy it all…