Monday, August 22, 2016

Yosemite: Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Yosemite. I have a love/hate relationship with this park. I love the roaring waterfalls, the sheer cliffs of granite, the beautiful lush trees and the glorious sound of the rushing river flowing next to me. I love pushing myself to my limits, then forcing myself to go even further; to reach the top of the falls. And what a magnificent reward at the top; rainbows made by the waterfall's own mist, a whooshing flood of water rushing down a granite table, so close you can almost feel its force. This is what draws people to the park. So.many.people. And that brings me to what I strongly dislike about Yosemite. Its popularity makes it crowded, busy, and very difficult to get camping reservations in. But these views...I just can't stay away!

This past fourth of July, we decided we wanted to go camping. But where? As previously mentioned, reservations in California are difficult enough to get six months in advance. Last minute? Nearly impossible! So we decided to compromise. We reserved a site at our trusty Yosemite fallback rv park, Yosemite Pines Now, I'm not going to lie, it's not a forested, secluded, woodsy site like the state or national parks I love to stay in. But it's extremely convenient, with full hook-ups, and the owners are very personable, accommodating, and customer-service orientated. And this time, we were given a site way in back, by the luxury cabins. It was so private and peaceful. 

Since my hubby had to work the week prior, I drove the rv (and kids) to Yosemite Pines on Friday morning, and he joined us after work with our car. This worked out very well for us, as we could leave the Winnie hooked up at the campground, and drive the smaller vehicle (complete with bike rack and bikes) through Yosemite Park. We knew going to Yosemite for Fourth of July would be busy, so we thought our smaller car would be easier to drive, park and maneuver around the crowds.
Before our trip, my hubby and I decided which hikes and sites we really wanted to see and do, and we made our tentative game plan for the long weekend. We wanted to enjoy every moment.
All packed up and ready to roll!
When the kids and I arrived at Yosemite Pines, it was a HOT 90 degrees outside! We couldn't believe how warm it was there. And these are the moments when I am even more thrilled to have a nice comfy rv, and be able to stay at a nice comfy rv park with full hook-ups. The kids and I put down the window covers, put up the darkening window shades, turned up the A/C and hunkered down for the hottest part of the day. We played some Scrabble, ate some lunch, watched a movie and chilled with some ice-cream. Yep, we were really roughing it. 


And after a few hours, when the temps had cooled down, we went out to explore the campground and hike around a bit. We had just left the rv (surprise, it was still HOT!!) and were hiking around a bend when the kids joyfully spotted..."DADDY!!!!" Yay!! He had arrived. We thankfully jumped into the car with him and showed him to our rv spot. Then we packed up a picnic dinner and made our way to Yosemite Park!
Even the drive in was beautiful.
 And then we spotted the first falls. This is Bridal Veil Falls. It's visible from the main road, and a very easy quick hike if you only have a few minutes. Because it is so easy, it does tend to get crowded. So get an early start to beat the crowds, or just enjoy it from the road, as we did this time.
 Since it was already evening, and we knew we didn't have much time at the park, we headed straight to Yosemite Falls. This is a shot of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. Isn't it gorgeous? And in real life, with the sound of the roaring falls, it's just breathtakingly majestic.
The walk to the waterfalls is very easy. Paved and very level (until you branch off to go to the Upper Falls). There's a slight incline as you get closer, but it's a very easy hike. Again, these falls are very popular so come early (or late like us) to beat the crowds. 
 We love walking through the huge trees. They are gorgeous, and make you feel tiny in comparison.
 This is what evening at Yosemite is like. The water is crashing down. The forest is darkening (not as quickly as one would imagine since the summer days are so much longer) and my babies can barely keep their eyes open.
 I mean, literally, they can barely keep from drifting off to sleep...
 But the lure of the falls just makes you want to stay at the park forever. It's just so beautiful and peaceful here. 
Just listen to the sound of these falls...
I could listen to this all night.
And I love experiencing this with my fam. I just love this crew. 
 And I loved how the evening sun hits those granite peaks and makes them glow so beautifully. Look at the warmly lit Half-Dome. Spectacular!
 My girls were loving the scenery too.
Even though we were having a great time at the park, it was getting late, and the kids were getting so tired, so we decided to head back home to the Winnie. Check out this parking spot! Such a great first few hours at Yosemite. We are all excited to get a good night sleep so we can come back early tomorrow morning.
Good night, Good Night Yosemite. 
(HA! That would have worked perfectly if it were pronounced that way!)





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