Our first trip to Yosemite (many years ago!) was in May, and water was pouring into the valley from the mountains above. The falls were gushing and Happy Isles was almost under water. Visiting in August is a different experience, especially during a drought, when most of the falls are silent and the days are much warmer. However, everyone should be fortunate enough to experience Yosemite in each of the four seasons, as each reveals a different side of the park that is very worthwhile to discover.
What did we see and enjoy this August? Wild flowers in bloom, a doe grazing in a meadow with her fawns, getting closer to falls than you would ever dare during the spring, and lighter crowds.
We stayed in the valley in Upper Pines Campground this year, sharing the site with some friends who were tent camping.
We left our CRV in the garage this trip as the Valley is the perfect place to bike everywhere you want to go. There are miles of flat bicycle-only trails on the valley floor. Also, if you prefer, you can use the excellent bus system in the park to get anywhere in the valley, and also up to Wawona, Glacier Point, and the Sequoias.
We enjoyed a great hike up the mist trail to Vernal Falls (yes, those are people in the photo below), where we enjoyed the shade and natural pool at the top. What a beautiful place!
On the way we passed an area full of interesting rock sculptures. We hung out there awhile and even added to the work of art…
We didn’t see a single bear this trip, and the park Rangers have been working hard to keep them out of the valley for their own protection, but there was definitely evidence they were here!
Our friends gave us a ride to Glacier Point for this fantastic view.
Glacier Point is also the site of the famous Firefall, as shown in this painting (from the Camp Curry Dining Commons). Unfortunately, the nightly firefall performances ended in 1968. Why would anyone want to stop throwing red hot burning coals into the dry wooded valley floor below? Beats me.
We always have a great time in Yosemite and this year was even better with the BWB (Big White Box) and good friends.
Now we are looking forward to our next trip in the Santa Cruz mountains at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.
Al and Deb