I love Yosemite. I've been going there practically since I was born (there are pictures of me there as a newborn, when my parents were not much older than I am now) and I feel a sort of calmness when I'm there. Even the drive there fills me with a sense of centeredness, I feel myself start to loosen up and give in to nature. I know that sounds sort of hippy dippy. It's hard to explain...I guess it's the closest thing I have to a religious/spiritual connection of some sort. When I go to the park, I'm happy. I could stare at the river or rest under the trees for hours, breathing in the piney air and listening to the sounds of rushing water. I love it.
When I heard about the record snow levels this year, and the resulting record high water levels, I knew I had to get there to see it. Will was planning a camping trip for early August (this weekend), but I am (obviously) at BlogHer and unable to go (sadface, but not totally, because BlogHer is awesome), so I convinced him to join me on an impromptu trip to the park.
We didn't have a reservation, and my only requirement was to see the waterfalls. Specifically Vernal Falls, because in my mind that was an easy walk with a good payoff (oops, I forgot the part where it's a steep uphill walk that is not as short as I thought - oh well, worth it). We left early, around 7:15am if I remember correctly, and got to the park around 10:30, right around when the Crane Flat campground was opening. For the first time all summer. We got a spot, and though it wasn't the *best* spot in the world, it was a campsite within the park's boundaries, and I was happy.
We made a little list of things we wanted to do, and every single thing on that list was vetoed by the park rangers who told us the river was too high and fast for rafting, Hardin meadow was still soggy and snow-patchy, and the bridge at Hetch Hetchy was closed due to too much water coming off the waterfalls. We decided to go for North Dome, a strenuous hike, but one I was gearing myself up for. Except when we got to the trailhead, a group of hikers told us they had gone about 1.5 miles in only to be stopped by a huge snow bank covering the trail. Not wanting to lose the trail (and because at this point, it was already around 4pm), we drove onward towards Lembert Dome (at the suggestion of the hikers). We stopped at various points along the way, whenever we felt like stopping. It was new for us, not planning and just kind of going with the flow. I'm glad we did it. It felt good to be out there just the two of us, driving and stopping and admiring this beautiful part of the park that we had never visited together.
The slideshow below features around 60 of my favorite photos from that weekend (we took over 300). If you don't want to watch the whole thing, you can click here to just browse the photos on PicasaWeb (and leave comments too!).