Last week Casey's parents, Brad and Carol, were in town for a visit. They spent a few days in the city before we all headed down (actually, a straight shot east) to Yosemite for some time in nature. Needless to say, it was down right beautiful there and refreshing to get out of the city. The trip was short, but we made the best of it and had a great time.
Deer!!! One of the first things we saw as we entered the park were deer, apparently eating dinner. They were on the side of the road, just posing for us! I took this shot with my 35 mm, which is why it's a bit grainy. Brad even backed up the car so we could get a better shot and they still didn't move. It was what I would imagine going on safari would be like, except with snow, coniferous trees and very tame animals.
We got to the park around dinner time, so we basically explored around the lodge a bit, ate dinner, and went to bed early to rest up for the following day.
And THIS is what I woke up to! Casey pulled the drapes open to reveal that it had snowed that morning and everything was covered in it! It was like the movies. Somehow the air seemed fresher and everything had a cool silence to it, even with the squawking birds.
After a quick breakfast, Casey and I started on a hike up to Upper Yosemite Falls. When I had read the trail description, it said it was 3.2 miles, 2-3 hours round trip. That sounded like a nice, slightly challenging day hike. BUT, as we approached the trail head, we learned that I was looking at a different hike and that this was actually 3.4 miles one way. Hmmm. Well, we went on!
This was the start of the trail. How beautiful is that?
As we got more into the hike, we cursed ourselves for wearing so many layers. Even though there was snow out, we were hiking pretty hard and it was such a sunny day. But the trail soon got colder and snowier.
Here's a shot at one of the points we thought about turning back, but persisted on the fact that we were close enough to continue and finish. The snowy top on the right is where we ended.
Here's a shot as we neared the stop. Gorgeous.
These pictures are a bit out of order, but along the way, before we got to all that snow, we saw signs hinting as to what was up ahead. Icicles on green leaves. Crazy right? It's such a cool juxtaposition and a nice shot encapsulating the changing of seasons.
This was about 1/3 of the way up. This was taken with my 35mm and somehow the film got overlapped and double exposed. Not sure how Casey did it, but I like the effect.
There was one point off the trail where you could hike down a bit and see all three tiers of Yosemite Falls, which we learned after hiking it that it is the tallest waterfall in North America! This is a monster of picture and we ended up at the top of the left crest of the waterfall.
Ok, back to ordered, chronological sense.
This was taken near the top as we took a break from hiking the trail, which at this point was completely snow. It did take some mental endurance to get up there. But we did and it was totally worth it to see this...
Untouched snow that was probably more than 6ft thick. We made it to the top, but probably not to the official end of the trail. We were walking on a lot of snow and after talking to a few folks that made it up as well, we decided it was best not to explore to much near the waterfall. But that was alright, because the view up there was amazing.
We took a few pictures of each other and of the landscape.
And then we headed back down. Luckily, we walked down with a guy who seemed pretty familiar with the hike. He gave us tips on how to get down - one of which was to just slide down the steep, snowy parts (which we did, happily!). He also gave us his trail mix. What a generous guys. It totally helped us out since we hadn't prepared for this lengthy of a hike.
So, in total, it took us 6.5 hours to climb the 60 switchbacks that make up the 6.8 miles of Yosemite Falls. I think climbing around SF prepared me for that since my legs didn't ache much the next day. Speaking of which, the next day turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. What luck with weather!
We spent our last day enjoying what we could and taking photos. I swear, Yosemite wanted us to see its good side. We couldn't have asked for better conditions.
Casey, Carol and I took a short walk through the woods and then through the meadows.
On the drive out, we stopped to take a look at El Capitan, the giant rock formation and a popular sight in Yosemite. Here's the Newlins, basking in the sun in front of the granite giant.
I want to thank Brad and Carol for this trip. It was really nice to spend some time with you both and see Casey with her family. I know you've been seeing snow for months now, but it was a real treat for me to see it again, especially like this. I had a great time and it was so generous of you two. THANKS!