Yosemite: a tale of a land that inspired Ansel Adams, John Muir, and traffic jams

One could say that Yosemite has it all: be it one of the grandest works of nature’s paintbrush or the towering rocks jutting out to the blue sky or the out-of-place million city-smart tourists that contribute to the parking-lot like traffic jams that are not uncommon here mid-day on a Wednesday in summer!

Half Dome, the quintessential Yosemite icon

Half Dome, the quintessential Yosemite icon

Fortunately for us, before we were utterly turned off by the overcrowded valley, we entered the park through the beautiful east entrance which is in Tuolumne Meadows where John Muir worked as a shepherd before he was inspired to write for nature. And rightfully so: the High Sierras, of which Tuolumne Meadows is part of, are truly a sight to behold. White washed granite rocks lined with dark green foliage mingled with abundant rivers, falls, and lakes.

High Sierras near Glen Aulin

High Sierras near Glen Aulin

After a not-so-fun car camping experience in one of Yosemite’s campgrounds, (did I mention loud Mexican music and football were commonplace?) we made a quick drive through the valley, or so we had planned.

The “quick” drive took a few hours as we inched our way through the valley traffic shouting and honking so as not to be left out by our neighbors, and headed back out to the relative solitude of the High Sierras.

Tuolomne Meadows, High Sierras of Yosemite

Tuolomne Meadows, High Sierras of Yosemite

Needless to say, we headed out to the woods soon as we could get our hands on trail permits which can be hard to come by in mid-summer.

My Rock! Sandra staking her claim

My Rock! Sandra staking her claim

As our pick ‘Glen Aulin’ trail was out of quota, we entered through the Murphy Creek trailhead just a couple miles down the road which turned out to be the better choice as there were much fewer hikers on the trail and we camped on a beautiful ridge about a mile south of Glen Aulin overlooking a small valley and surrounded by mountains.

Camping on a ridge: windy but beautiful!

Camping on a ridge: windy but beautiful!

You’re allowed to camp anywhere in the High Sierras so we decided to make the most out of it and stay away from the overused Glen Aulin itself.

Sandra stakign a claim... again!

Sandra stakign a claim... again!

The vistas around our camp were enough to inspire even the most stoic, we sat around our little fire ring atop the mountain ridge for hours just gazing up at the canopy of stars, the crystal-clear milky way, and shooting stars that we got tired of making wishes upon.

stargazing by the fire

stargazing by the fire

Slowly as the logs turned to amber in the firepit, we crawled into our tent and fell asleep by the sounds of nature.

Reluctantly, we doswed the fire

Reluctantly, we doswed the fire

And then, onwards we went, on the road again! We made our way to San Francisco and then up the California and Oregon coast to get to North Cascades which I’ll show you in the next post. A final word on Yosemite: it’s as beautiful as it gets BUT be prepared for gazillion tourists if you go in summer and plan in advance!

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