Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yosemite - Day 4 & 5

After getting up early two days in a row to beat the crowd and the heat, we chose today to sleep in.  We didn’t have an aggressive agenda for the day, so it was nice to just laze around until we made up our mind to go.  Today’s plan was to see Mariposa Grove and the view from Glacier Point.  Mariposa Grove is the park’s largest stand of giant sequoias with about 500 trees.  This was a pretty easy hike with a predominantly level trail.  My favorite tree on this hike was the Grizzly Giant.  Not only was it enormous, but it had huge, thick limbs at the top that made it appear “grizzly.”

This was the roots from bottom of a huge fallen sequoia.

At the base of the Grizzly Giant

Top of the Grizzly Giant

We finished up at Mariposa Grove and drove on to Glacier Point.  The view at Glacier Point overlooks the Yosemite Valley and Half Dome and includes views of three waterfalls.  From here we could see the falls we hiked to on Sunday (Vernal and Nevada).  Talk about getting a different perspective.  They looked tiny from Glacier Point, but were incredibly intimidating when we were standing at the top of them.  This was my second favorite viewpoint in Yosemite (my first favorite being at the top of Nevada Falls).

View of Half Dome from Glacier Point
View from Glacier Point
The two falls to the right of Ash are the ones we hiked up.

View from Glacier Point of Half Dome, Vernal Falls & Nevada Falls

We enjoyed sleeping in so much yesterday, that we decided to do it again.  Our only plan for Wednesday was to take an easy 2-mile hike to Mirror Lake and then do another hike to Yosemite Falls in the afternoon.  We got to the Mirror Lake trailhead and took off.  Once we got to the lake, there were tons of people swimming in a very shallow lake.  We were a little bit disappointed because you couldn’t see the reflections with all the people in the water.  But it was pretty hot, and so I couldn’t blame them for jumping in.  The water, however, was cold enough to freeze your feet off, so I don’t know how they could stand to submerge their entire bodies.  We walked a bit further past the crowd and found a quiet spot for a snack and some water.  Once again, we were stalked by a fat little squirrel who finally gave up after about 20 minutes when he realized we weren’t going to feed him!  A little bit earlier I had accidentally dropped a few Fritos.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I missed one when I picked them up to throw them away.  As soon as we walked away from our spot, a blue bird swooped down, grabbed the Frito, and flew away.  I hated that he got it, but it was funny to watch a bird fly through the air with a Frito in his mouth. 

We spotted this bear trap on our way to Mirror Lake.
I suggested that we walk a little further around the lake.  From our “snack” spot we could see a little bit of reflection since there was nobody swimming there, but we didn’t really get what the big deal was.  It was pretty, but it wasn’t anything near like the pictures we had seen.  As we walked on around the bend, we spotted what the big deal was.  This is one time when the picture actually turned out to be pretty indicative of what we saw.  It was a gorgeous reflection of the domes and trees in the lake.  

Reflection at Mirror Lake

Cooling off at the end of the Mirror Lake Trail

By the time we got back to the car, I had developed a headache, so we decided to go back to the room to get cooled down and have lunch.  Then we would head back out in the afternoon for our last hike to Yosemite Falls.  By the time we got back to the room, my head was raging, so I was down for the count for a couple of hours until it eased off.  When I finally joined the land of the living, everybody was just relaxing and enjoying some down time, so we finished up our week at Yosemite playing games and just relaxing in the room.  It was a great ending to a fabulous week!

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