When I woke up for my second day in Yosemite, I realized how out of shape I truly was! I could barely walk I was so sore. Bill was feeling pretty worn out as well, so we decided to take it easy on our second day. We had a nice breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then took the drive to the valley floor. One thing you may not realize is that Yosemite is packed during the summer. It kind of reminds me of this:
which I guess shouldn't really be surprising considering the fact that Yosemite is also a popular California summer tourist destination. As a result, our drive to the valley floor that should have taken about 40 minutes took an hour or more. Once the cars hit the entrance fee booth, they are bumper to bumper and backed up quite a way. Once you reach the valley floor, there are very few places to park and very little room on the shuttle, so getting anywhere is a time consuming process.
First, we parked in a spot next to the meadow in the middle of the valley floor. We saw the crowds of people looking up towards the rock face next to the meadow and heard the sound of a helicopter in the distance. Bill and I quickly got out our cameras and binoculars to start sleuthing. From what we could surmise, a rock climber had gotten injured climbing the rock face. The first helicopter had dropped off a paramedic with first aid supplies and a back brace next to the rock. He had given the climber aid and attached him to the back brace. Once he was finished, the helicopter flew back to the rock face and the paramedic attached the climber on the back brace to the rope hanging from the helicopter. The paramedic then attached himself to the rope and they all flew safely back to the meadow. It was pretty amazing!
After witnessing the harrowing rescue, Bill and I went on a quest to find the scene from his mother's Thomas Kinkade painting:
This is what we found:
It is a painting of Bridalveil Falls probably during the late summer since the water is low.
We went to Bridalveil Falls next and experienced the water covered trail during daylight. My shoes got totally soaked!
Me in front of the base of Bridalveil Falls. What you can't tell in this picture is how soaked I am getting by the mist and the fact that my feet are basically in the river. That snow melt off was COLD!!
After getting soaked at Bridalveil Falls, Bill and I had lunch at Yosemite Village. After that we went on a 30 minute expedition to find a parking space by lower Yosemite Falls. We even had a difficult time parking with my tiny little car.
Me in front of Lower Yosemite Falls. I am desperately trying to stand up. The wind and mist coming off of the falls were very strong!
Bill tried to get a picture at the base of the falls with his waterproof camera, but there was too much mist!
For our last stop on the valley floor, Bill and I drove over to Swinging Bridge. Since the Merced River had flooded over, it was a great opportunity to get some reflection pictures.
Yosemite Falls in reflection
Whirlpools created in the Merced River as it passes under the bridge.
The river had gotten so wide that it was even starting to swallow the fence by the walkway.
Bill walking by the river.
After taking pictures at Swinging Bridge, we drove back up to Glacier Point for sunset. Along with what seemed like every other photographer in the park, we waited for sunset. There was also rumor that the full moon would rise over half dome, so we decided to wait for the moon rise as well.
We found out from some of the other photographers that there had been another landslide near mirror lake that day. The landslide was in the same area, but higher. If you look at the pictures above, you can see the before(left) and after(right) of the landslide
Half Dome at sunset
Half Dome with several of the photographers.
The moon (which did not rise over half dome as had been rumored).
Read my next blog tomorrow about Day 7, our drive from Yosemite to Zion!