Winter in Yosemite National Park is like another world: same
beauty with calm atmosphere and white coating. There are much
fewer visitors in winter and you feel that many places just
belong to yourself.
Getting there ...
We were very well prepared for this trip. Food, clothes,
shoes, snow chain, CD's, books, toys, and, of course, cameras
filled up the back seats of our minivan. We stopped by Merced for
lunch and gas, and let Linus and Iris take a break. It began to
snow when we approached the park entrance. It's an interesting
experience for us to drive in snow, like driving through a time
machine. We were lucky that snow chains were not required in the
valley so I didn't have to get messed up.
The First Day ...
- Bridalveil Fall
As usual, Bridalveil Fall was our first stop in the
Yosemite Valley. It was still snowing and pretty cold,
but Linus insisted to get off the car and came with me to
the base of the waterfall. Although the trail was a
little bit icy, it's still the easiest one in Yosemite.
The water volume is much less than spring/summer time,
but the ice formation along the waterfall is equally
- Yosemite Valley
||We drove into the Yosemite
Valley and I couldn't resist to stop by many
vista points although we have been here so many
times before. It has stopped snowing, but the
cloud still lingered around in the valley and
around mountains. It's a very differernt mood. El
Capitan was hidden behind fog and was more
mysterious than formidable. After spent more than
an hour in the valley, we finally checked in
- Valley View
After a short break, we headed to the Valley View for
sunset. It was too cloudy and El Capitan was totally
invisible. It's a strange feeling to look at this classic
view without El Capitan. I knew I have to come back
sometime to get the shot I want.
The Second Day ...
- Badger Pass
We took the bus to the Badger Pass at 11:00 AM. There was
ranger-led snowshoe hiking in the area. We did it once in
1996 when we haven't had any kid, and we'll have to wait
at least a few more years to do it again. We just walked
a few hundread yards to the edge of forests (the snow was
too deep if we go further without snowshoes). We tried to
make a snowman, but it became their
- Tunnel View
Tunnel View is probably one of the most photographed
places in Yosemite. It provides the spectaluar view of
Yosemite, including El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock,
Cathedral Rocks, and Bridalveil Fall. There is a turnout
after the tunnel which also provides an astonishing view
with Half Dome and El Capitan closer to each other. We
waited until the sunlight turned gold and red, and the
Half Dome was bathed in the warmest atmosphere in winter.
The Third Day ...
- Sunrise at Cathedral Beach
- Yosemite Valley
|We took a walk in the valley
from the Lodge to the Yosemite Village. Linus
liked to play snow on the trail, and we had to
stop often to wait for him. However, Iris didn't
like to stop when she was in the stroller. It's
quite difficult to balance the speed between
Linus and Iris.
- Hetch Hetchy
It's our first time to visit the Hetch Hetcy area. At one
Hetch Hetchy was quite similar to Yosemite Valley.
Today it becomes a reservoir, a result of the damming of
Tuolumne River, providing the water source for the city
of San Francisco. The construction of O'Shaughnessy Dam
was completed in 1923 and raised to its present height in
1938. It is one of the leaset visited aread in the park.
When we drove to Hetch Hetcy, we didn't see any other car
from the Big Old Flat Entrance to Hetch Hetchy either way
(but we did see a mountain lion accross the road!). We
were probably the only visitors of the day.
We stopped by a turnout on 120 before the tunnel when we
headed back to Yosemite Valley.
- Sunset at Valley View
||I went back to Valley View vista
point again for sunset alone. It was a clear day
with perfect conditions. The rocks with snow in
the river were the ideal foreground for
pitcutres. With the help of the neutral graduated
filter, I knew I'll get my shot I have dreamt of.
The Last Day ...
- I did not have plan for today. We were just relaxed and
went to play snow outside the Yosemite Lodge. Linus liked
to throw snow (actually it has become ice packs) into the
river and tried to break the ice on the surface of water.
Going Home ...
We began our way home after lunch. Winter is a wonderful time
to visit Yosemite although some limited access. It will be even
more fun when the kids are old enough to participate some winter
activities, like cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, etc. But
the scenery and nature of Yosemite are always worth coming back
again and again.
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