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About mid-way into the main part of the valley, past El Capitan, you encounter the main camping areas, meadows, the Yosemite Lodge (where I stayed in 2002) and Yosemite Falls.
|Yosemite Falls is fed entirely by snow melt so it is dry in the summer through spring. But, when the snow starts to melt the falls becomes active and is a highlight of a trip to Yosemite. Here you see the upper falls reflected in a pool in one of the meadows (this particular location can be gotten to via a boardwalk across the meadow -- please stay on the boardwalk).|
Yosemite Falls is really a double fall (triple if you count the cascade between the upper and lower falls). You can walk to the base of the falls from the Yosemite Lodge. The combined drop of both falls is 2,425 feet making this the tallest waterfall in North America.
Here you see the entire double falls on the left and, on the right, a closer view of just the lower falls. (If you take the trail, be prepared to shield your camera from the spray!)
The falls looked much the same in the 1930s.
Across the valley from Yosemite Falls you can see the rock that is Glacier Point. At 7,214 foot altitude the top of Glacier Point provides a view of the entire Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately, in 1997 the road was closed due to snow that had yet to melt and in 2002 the storm that dropped rain on the valley the day I arrived iced up the road to Glacier Point just long enough so that the tour I had scheduled up their the next day was cancelled (the road cleared just after the tour was cancelled).
So, my attempts to get pictures from Glacier Point have all been thwarted so far. The view you get is of the point, not from the point.
In 2006 I planned the trip for mid-July to be certain that the road would be open. Success! So, the rest of the Glacier Point material has been moved to a page of it's own here.
The most distinctive feature of Yosemite Falley is Half Dome. It's peak is 8.842 feet altitude and the dome itself is said to be some 87 million years old. There actually is a trail up to the top of the dome if you care to take it; the last part of the trail on the rock surface has steps carved into the rock and cables to hold onto to help keep you from falling (no, I did not take the trail; just read about it). The dome formed under the Pacific seabed and sheered off into the basic shape you see some 100 million years ago. It then rose and glaciers did the work of polishing the surface. Present day and 1930s pictures are shown here.
Once I finally got to Glacier Point I was able to take pictures from a different viewpoint; one closer to my father's picture above. What was interesting was that I now have a camera with a 12x zoom so I zoomed fully out and took a picture of Half Dome just to see if I could see people on top. When I viewed the picture at full size I was surprised to find that I could. Proof is here...
OK, now let's leave the Valley floor for a short time and detour to Glacier Point...
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