Yosemite National Park is another park whose images are extremely familiar to everyone. From the writings of John Muir to the photographs of Ansel Adams, the park’s vistas are legendary. Yosemite represents glacial landscape at its best. From El Capitan’s monolithic face to Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America, to an alpine meadow called Tuolumne, to Glacier Point, a breath-taking overlook, Yosemite’s beauty is stunning. The price paid for all this, however, is slow-moving traffic and hordes of visitors which severely diminish the average person’s enjoyment. But, if the traveler can put up with some of the inconvenience, Yosemite is a true treasure. Incidentally, there are shuttles available in the valley floor area in the summertime, which is a good way to avoid the aggravation of the traffic, and also to reduce the pollution caused by so many cars. There are even stands of Redwoods, two of which date back to a time when tunnels were dug through the trunks so that cars could pass through, although one of these trees is now dead.
Another way to minimize the congestion and crowding is to walk several of the numerous trails within the park.
An interesting excursion from Yosemite is to travel east to Mono Lake, an unusual lake with high mineral and salt concentrations which allow the formation of strange and beautiful calcium carbonate structures, such as, tufa, spires and knobs. The entire area is volcanic in origin and fairly recent geologically.
1. The view of Yosemite Valley from the Valley View overlook is particularly beautiful because it encompasses many of the “famous” landmarks of the park, including El Capitan, Half-dome, and Bridal Veil Falls.
2. Other exquisite viewing areas include Glacier Point and Washburn Point, which are both high above the valley floor and look down at Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, truly showcasing the glacial nature of the landscape.