Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

One word ~ amazing! We drove into Yosemite National Park via 120 and spent the day meandering Yosemite Valley. The cost of admission into Yosemite is $20 per vehicle, or you can buy an America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for $80, valid for one-year. The drive along Big Oak Flat Road begins high among trees and descends to the valley floor, and it's about mid-way when the peaks and grandeur of Yosemite appear. El Capitan is the first "piece of granite" you'll see - and it is indescribable - immense, beautiful, glistening.......no words to describe and nearly as impossible to capture in a single photo (unless you're Ansel Adams, of course).

Yosemite Valley itself was surprisingly non-franchised and "cement-like" - all of the buildings blended well in the surrounding area, and they have a lot of buildings. At Yosemite Valley there is a Visitor's Center, full-service post office, medical facility with a dentist, a garage, about three bookstores, a couple dining places (a third was closed for the season), a number of museums (Indian Cultural Exhibit, Museum Gallery, Yosemite Climbing Museum), and a number of stores (Yosemite Museum Store, Ansel Adams Gallery, a couple bookstores) the Yosemite Cemetery, a US Courthouse (we're not sure why), and the Indian Village of Ahwahnee. While we were exploring the Indian Village of Ahwahnee, a female tribal elder invited us into the still-used ceremonial Roundhouse where many religious and spiritual ceremonies take place, where she described the ceremonies that take place in the Roundhouse, sang a childhood song, and shared a prayer.

After walking around the valley, and enjoying a good lunch at Degnans Deli (another surprise - not obnoxiously overpriced as one would expect in a national park), we drove to the various lodges and hotels in the valley - Curry Village, The Ahwahnee, and Yosemite Lodge. All seemed nice and rustic on the outside, but we did not go into any of the lodges. As we continued out drive out of the park back home, we stopped for quite a while and watched, from very far away, climbers on El Capitan - again - wow! Other great views along the way - The Three Brothers and Half Dome.


Anonymous said...

by chance did you get any pics of the 'curry village' signs? curry is my maiden name, lol!

please write even more about your food and wine experiences....and the critters you see. those are my faves!


Suzanne and Brad said...

No - I wish I had & we won't be heading back to the Valley - so sorry! But it makes sense that Curry is your maiden name ~ you're sucha great cook!!!!

Next time we're in Yosemite - and there will be a next time - we love it here - I'll get you that picture!

No great meals lately, but we'll be in Monterey soon & will eat large then! Did try some Yosemite wine - a merlot - quite bold, yet good.

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