On the drive into the valley I stop often and snap some photos like these, Bridalveil Falls
El Capitan in the morning light
A nice stepped waterfall
A Church hides behind a tree
A granite dome looms above Happy Isles
A nice sign at the start of Vernal Falls trail
Stuart is silhouetted by the early morning sky and seems to step upon a puny Yosemite Falls in the background. The peace and serenity of the morning was memorable.
Illilouette Falls is very visible now because of the high flow rate at this time of the year. Later in the season it is mostly hidden and unnoticed. (Click here to see close up photos of Illilouette Falls from a later trip)
Vernal Falls creates a mist that fogs the scene as well as the camera lens. We got wet too.
Higher up the Mist Trail we are sheltered from the blasting mist and pause to catch our breath.
At the top of Vernal Falls this time in the morning we are all alone to enjoy the views.
This photo shows the Mist Trail and hikers are visible making their way up.
The bridge at the top of the Silver Apron is visible behind us in this self portrait.
A Stellar's Jay, one of many, visit us as we break out the snacks. We look up at the top of Nevada Falls here and I talk of going up, but we decide to make it an easy day and hike down.
A large Dogwood tree seems to be exploding with blooms. The tree was over 20 feet tall and had blooms from top to bottom. It was an impressive sight. In fact many wildflower blooms were to be seen and I wish I had taken photos of more. Mountain Dogwood is scientificly named Cornus nuttallii, Latin for horn, the wood is very hard and horn like, and honoring English printer and the American naturalist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859).
This is a composite of three Vernal Falls photos resized to an 800 pixel final height image.
Because of our early start we saw very few people until we turned around on the trail to leave. On the way down the top of Vernal Falls was like a zoo, the Mist Trail was like commute hour, the parking lot had a lot of traffic, the roads in the valley were busy with people on the way in and the turnouts were alive with people and vehicles. The biggest shock was the line of cars waiting to get in at the entrance gate. I joked with Stuart that "it would suck to be them" as we saw a few cars lined up trying to get in. But as we drove over a rise we could see that the line of cars was much, much longer. Wow, glad we were getting out of there. The first warm weekend in a long time and the throngs come out, summer is coming.