|Bridalveil Falls from the parking lot|
|And from the end of the short trail leading up to its base|
|The view from Tunnel View, El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right, Half Dome in the distance.|
|The main trail from the shuttle stop, with a Very Large Tree or three|
|This is a very famous fallen giant, made so by this image, which gives you a much better idea of exactly how big that puppy is|
On our way back to the Valley that afternoon, we drove up to Glacier Point. The controlled burn was near the Glacier Point road, and we could see flames right alongside it. I was surprised that they hadn't closed the road altogether, but they hadn't.
We stopped first at Washburn Point, with its lovely view of Half Dome and Vernal and Nevada Falls:
|The upper fall is Nevada, and the lower fall is Vernal. Half Dome, of course, is to their left.|
|Half Dome, of course, and the upper valley|
|The actual point, made famous by this image, and Yosemite Falls across the valley|
|3200 feet straight down into the valley. That's Camp, er, Curry Village down there with the swimming pool.|
So we picnicked at our tent cabin and called it an early night, especially since I had some serious hiking plans for the crack of dawn the next morning.
I did say at one point that I would talk a bit more about the kind of people who visit Yosemite. Yosemite, in my humble opinion, suffers from being too close to too many major population centers. I ran up against the same issue in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on my long trip twelve years ago. At the time I chalked it up to the fact that GSM is one of the few large parks in the national park system which doesn't charge admission, the theory being that people value what they pay for more than what they get for free, and I'm still quite convinced that's part of the issue there. But Yosemite costs $20 per car to get in, and so I am forced to revise my assumptions.
With Yosemite I think it's a combination of too many rats in the maze, and too many people thinking of the Valley as their backyard as opposed to somewhere they should cherish (call me an old curmudgeon, but the kind of people who visit Yosemite on a summer weekend don't seem to know how to appreciate a national park), and the confining aspect of the Valley itself, which is only seven square miles with no place to go out but up. All of which is exacerbated by being within a weekend trip of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Reno, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, and probably half a dozen other cities I've forgotten to list here.
At any rate, it was saddening to see people treating the place, as someone on the shuttle bus said, like "Disneyland National Park." I have wonderful memories of Yosemite from my childhood and early adulthood. It's just too bad they were tainted by my experiences on this trip.