We flew out of Vancouver International Airport to San Francisco, California, picked up our rental car and drove to Yosemite National Park. I’ve always wanted to visit this park, hike the trails, climb the mountains and explore this ancient valley.

I still remember the first time I saw Ansel Adams’ photos of Yosemite Valley’s majestic mountains, verdant valleys and cascading waterfalls. I wanted to visit Yosemite for myself and be immersed in its lushness and amazed by her grandeur.

Bridal Veil Falls

Our first view of a majestic waterfall was at the entrance of the valley. We saw Bridalveil Falls, a 620 foot high waterfall that was extremely full. The falling water thundered so loud you could hardly hear our neighbors. Fortunately for us, there were not a lot of other people there in late May.
We stayed in Camp Curry in a housekeeping tent with a communal bathroom and great big fire pits next to theMerced River. We could see Half Dome and Glacier Point from our tent and the valley floor. We watched rock climbers climb El Capitan and sleep overnight hanging thousands of feet high.

Half Dome

Climbing Cables on the Half Dome
On our first hike, we hiked to Vernal Falls and then on to Nevada Falls. Nevada Falls was impressive with water falling 594 feet. At both Vernal and Nevada Falls were drenched from the spray, which felt good because we would feel hot from hiking. Other than the thunder from the rushing waters flowing in the Merced River over the falls and down the river, we didn’t hear much other than our breathing, the wind rushing through the trees and bird calls. . We decided to take the John Muir trail back to our starting point.
The next day we visited the Yosemite Valley visitor center and museum in Yosemite Village. We bought supplies and enjoyed the peacefulness and serenity of the valley. Our third day we set out to Glacier Point and hike over to Sentinel Falls. As we drove up we noticed the snow patches on the side of the road, as the snow was still melting. Good thing we came prepared for cold weather. On our hike we didn’t meet other hikers, but were entertained by all sorts of birds and squirrels and chipmunks. I had never seen squirrels and chipmunks before and now can easily tell them apart.

Squirrel Eating on Half Dome
The reward on our long hike was viewing Sentinel Falls up close. At one point we couldn’t pass over Sentinel Creek because of the rushing water and instead realized we had an impressive view of the falls from above. We had to turn back and hike back the way we came. I was startled by the gorgeous view of Sentinel Dome rising over 8000 feet above us.
Our last long hike was up the cables on Half Dome. We’d been training for months so we would be in good enough shape to hike up the cables to the Summit We prayed that it wouldn’t rain so we’d stay dry (and so would the cables and rocks). When we made it to the top we just sat there and marveled at the view. Simply amazing!
On our drive back to San Francisco Airport and flight home to Vancouver, my partner and I reminisced about our adventures. Thanks to Cathy and Sandy at Walnut Grove Travel, we are planning our next vacation!