Monday 16th Dec, 2013 – Yosemite tour

We had to get up super early for our 1 day Yosemite tour.  People had said the worst thing about the Yosemite tour was that it was too short, but we didn’t have time to do longer, so I figured one day was better than none.

We got picked up by our tour guide, Mark, at the lovely hour of 6.20am.  Heading over the rbidge, and out of the city, most people seemed to nap until we stopped a couple of hours later for breakfast.

We arrived into Yosemite about 10.30ish, and started with the view straight up the valley.  It was snowy on the ground, sunny skies, and the view was quite magnificent.  The main thing you could see was El Capitan, a massive bluff that is about a kilometer high, and probably a couple of kilometers square; I’m not sure if it is the largest granite rockface on earth, but it is pretty big.  People apparently love to climb it in summer, and on our way back out of the valley today, we saw some people climing it.  Crazy people, who are trying to get frostbite.  It would have been pretty amazing hanging from the cliff, but I don’t think I would do it 😉

P1180075
Yosemite Valley
P1180090
Yosemite Valley
P1180094
Waterfall
P1180113
Massive granite cliff face

P1180064 P1180098

After the viewpoint, we headed down into the valley, where we stopped at a couple of viewpoints, then were allowed to wander as we wanted, so we visited the falls, and had a wander through the trees and snow.   We saw a deer – apparently not afraid of people, as it just wandered by near us, as are protected in the park, a fluffy grey squirrel, and a tiny cute chipmunk.   And a lot of crows.

Falls
Falls
Snow
Snow
Rawr
Rawr
Falls
Falls

P1180149 P1180154 P1180163

Deer!
Deer!

 

Deer
Deer
Redwoods
Redwoods

P1180187 P1180195 P1180213 P1180240 P1180242 P1180246 P1180251 P1180254 P1180256 P1180271

 

After all that, we piled back into the car to check out El Capitan from the base, still pretty huge, and thats when we saw the clmbers, barely able to make them our from where we were standing.

P1180290
Climbing gear in the lower right of the photo, on the tiny ledge.
P1180298
El Capitan
P1180296
Airplane trails

P1180286 P1180300

Then, a nice drive  out of the canyon, and across the plains back into the city.  A stop at treasure island, for a look across to San Fran skyline, which was pretty, and we saw a family of raccoon going around raiding the rubbish bins.

San Francisco skyline from next to the Bay Bridge
San Francisco skyline from next to the Bay Bridge
Fat raccoon
Fat raccoon

 

The views were amazing, the sheer rock faces, and crazy waterfalls, the snow and wildlife.  the whole day was tiring, but definitely worth it.  If we had the time, a couple of days there would be ideal, but I think if we went back, we would want to do the walks around the park, you can walk to the top of the bluff, and then along it, and that would be great.

The tour was with Extranomical, and cost a bit, but it was the full day, and the tour guide, Mark, was incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the whole area, he talked for most of the drive  (4 hours each way), and it was all pretty interesting.