Yosemite National Park is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is home to mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, waterfalls, a huge array of wildlife and my favourite mountain in the world, Half Dome. I can honestly say that no matter how many times I come here, it never ceases to amaze me. This trip was no exception.
We started our visit coming up and over the Tioga Pass. Stopping soon after entering the park, we headed out to hike Lembert Dome. This lesser known side of the park has all the beauty, but only a fraction of the people of the main valley area. Scrambling up to the rounded peak, we had fantastic views in every direction. It was hard to choose where to point your camera.
Moving on from there, we stopped for a second hike to visit the beautiful Tuolumne Grove of giant sequoias. These amazing trees are the biggest things that have ever lived on the face of the earth, and can live as long as 3000 years! Oh, if trees could talk. We hiked through the whole grove, stopping to marvel at these giant wonders and ponder our own significance in the world. Tired but happy after these two wonderful hikes, we headed on to our camp for the night.
Heading into the park the next morning, some of our group headed off with me to tackle the 8 mile hike from the spectacular Glacier Point to the valley floor via Vernal and Nevada Falls. The other half headed out with my co-leader Seth to hike up to the top of the incredible Yosemite Falls. It is wonderful to have the flexibility of two tour leaders that our walking tours provide. Having done both of these hikes, there would be no way for me to choose a favourite between them. Both are full of indescribable beauty, and I know both groups really enjoyed their day surrounded by mountain splendour.
After hiking all day, we met for pizza at the pizza deck in the park. Pizza is an amazing thing after a full day of hiking. After dinner we stopped for one more view of the valley and watched as the last rays of sunshine crept up the face of Half Dome and disappeared for the day. Having visited Yosemite at least 20 times, these two days left me hoping I get to visit it at least 20 more. It is truly an awesome and very special place.