Because of COVID, Yosemite is limiting entrance to the park.
To get in, you need to get a day use pass. 80% of them are available a month in advance, and 20% of them are available 2 days in advance. However, they sell out within about a minute, so it's rather risky to try to get in this way.
If you have a reservation at a lodge inside the park, you do not need a day use pass. Unfortunately, all of the lodges are sold out.
Same with the campgrounds. In fact, many of the lodges and campgrounds are closed, leaving only a few still open. Also, while normally they leave a certain number of campsites open on a first-come, first-served basis every day, they are not doing that now.
Another way to get in is to have a reservation at one of the private homes inside the park. However, many, like this one, are just outside of the park, and those do not grant you access to the park.
The ones inside the park are more expensive and almost all sold out.
There was only one available, so we grabbed it.
Yosemite is huge, but almost all of the major sites are on a 10-mile loop in Yosemite Valley, so we'll plan on mostly being there since this is our first time.
Mariposa is one of the counties Yosemite is in.
Mariposa is also a small city outside of Yosemite.
Reminding people they need an entry reservation.
A bit of a wait to go over this one-way bridge.
Last gas station before the park.
Although it's not too far to the next ones.
It was over 100 degrees out; not going to do any strenuous hiking in the middle of the day.
The road follows a river into the park.
A few people playing at the edge.
Stopping to look at it a bit.
Gotta be careful coming out of the park if you have a very high vehicle.
A bit of a line to get in.
So we decided to have our lunch of summer sausage sandwiches while waiting in the car. It was too hot outside anyway.
That's a tough ranger job; out on the asphalt direction traffic in this heat.
If you lived inside the park or had already received your entrance pass, you could go right by. Otherwise, there was a little line.
Entrance fees are pretty cheap.
Another reminder you need a reservation. We asked the ranger, and she said they were turning away a lot of people who didn't have one.
All campgrounds full.
Going under Arch Rock.
It looks like this rock fell on this tree.
Another questionable area for high vehicles.
Our first sight of a waterfall.
The Yosemite Valley loop is mostly one-way and has multiple parking pullouts as you go. Because entrance was limited, none of the parking areas were full.
Ogii on top of a falled tree.
Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir talked here.
Ogii wanted me to move over a bit so she could make it look like I have horns.
Some redwoods scattered within a parking lot.
A path along the river.
Wide, flat areas.
Ogii found a heart-shaped leaf.
Ogii with a waterfall.
Yosemite falls across a meadow.
Ogii peeking out of a wooden teepee at the visitor's center.
An old tree trunk.
Some people reading in hammocks.
Ogii and Yosemite Falls.
El Capitan Meadow had some wildflowers.
Ogii with the flowers.
Right after we got pictures, a wedding photographer got pictures in the same spot.
A bee on a flower.
This part of the river had a lot of people hanging out in it.
The water was very clear.
Jumping off a rock.
Some baby ducks with their mother.
There was a little sandbar in the middle.
A kid on a raft.
Watch out for bears, bikers, hikers, and deer.
I drank this entire Gatorade in one go.
Someone left their sunglasses.
A nice short hike.
The main trail was closed off.
But people were scrambling over rocks to the left.
On the way.
The top really does look like a bride's veil.
It's really neat lower down where it flowers over the rocks, too.
Ogii with the waterfall.
Me on a fallen tree.
Picking up some trash.
This butterfly's wings were a bit broken, but he was still able to fly.
Bridalveil Fall from the other side of the loop.
Glaciers dug out the valley.
A baby duck.
This is Valley View, one of the major views of the valley.
And this is Tunnel View, one of the other major views. This one is higher. You get a better view of Half Dome from here (the mountain right in the middle) as you only see the tip of it from the Valley View, but the Valley View has the river. There also tend to be more people at Tunnel View.
Landmarks you can see from here.
Going through the tunnel.
A view to the west.
Flowers high up.
There was a wildfire that burned all of the trees, but the smaller plants are coming back.
The patio of the home we were staying in at Yosemite West. Almost all of the houses around here are rented out.
A nice house below ours.
A new one being built.
Long stairs up to this one.
A tree on top of a hill.
We headed back into Yosemite Valley for sunset. We had to wait for a bit because this car went partially off the road and needed a tow truck to haul it back up.
They're very lucky they hit a tree; it's a long ways down the hill here.
Good reminder to go slow on these roads.
The wheel is dragging and leaving a skid mark.
A nice view of Half Dome from just above the tunnel.
Some info on Tunnel View.
A cool metal map of the valley.
We didn't see any climbers on it.
The planes on the upper-left are awfully close.
Thankfully they missed each other.
I think they're supposed to be at different elevations, but you never know.
Those sunglasses are still here.
Back to Bridalveil Fall.
The sun casts a sharp line on the rocks as it sets.
Getting a picture. Unfortunately there wasn't any color above it, so the picture was rather boring.
There were a couple spots that were a bit difficult getting to and from this rock. We took off our shoes so they wouldn't get wet here.
Coming back down the rocks.
Dusk from Tunnel View.
Moon and last light looking to the west.
A little bear on a bench at our house.
Up at 4am to go see the sunrise. The hosts left breakfast for us.
A mosquito and a moth hanging out together.
The skid mark from the car that went off the road yesterday getting dragged.
Where it went off.
Another car had just crashed here. There was nobody in it, though.
Sunrise from Tunnel View.
And from Valley View. It's a bit darker here still because it's lower.
We sat on these large logs.
Me with the camera.
Now the color is coming.
A shot with logs in it.
A few other people came to watch, too.
It takes even longer for the sun to finally come out from behind the mountains.
Some birds hopping around looking for food.
A lot of people fill up their water at Fern Spring.
The American Indians have use the spring as well.
We were driving along the loop and saw these deer just off the side of the road.
They seemed quite passive, so we got out to watch them and take pictures. Although we went on the other side of the road.
Uh oh, this deer is coming over.
This is our side, deer; not yours.
The deer didn't mind us or even cars driving by, though.
Ogii wanted to pet it, but I said we should stay at least a little bit aways.
Us with the deer.
A little farther along the loop, at Swinging Bridge, there were a couple more deer.
With the bridge behind them.
A video of the two groups of deer.
Yosemite Falls with a deer down in the meadow in front from Swinging Bridge.
Us with the deer between us.
Looking back the other way.
Shadows kissing in a meadow.
Yosemite Falls framed by branches.
Ogii far out in the meadow.
The deer didn't mind the people, but it has its eyes on something.
This guy's dogs.
Once the dogs got far enough away, the deer was back to normal.
Scratching its head. You can see a mosquito on Ogii's forehead; thankfully there were very few of them out.
Looking around a tree.
And one last group of deer in the meadow with Yosemite Falls behind them.
The buck was wandering around eating; the two does were sitting down and hiding.
A full grocery store in the park.
There are also various restaurants scattered around. This one, Degnan's Kitchen, also has wifi. Although we had service with Verizon throughout the entire valley.
I got a bear cookie.
Most human food probably isn't healthy for humans, either.
Ansel Adams gallery.
Some nearby trails.
Closer to Yosemite Falls.
You can hike up to the top around the edge of it, although we weren't ready for that today.
Various videos of Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls.
Ogii between two halves of a giant rock.
And beside another one.
A fallen tree.
Back to the river to hang out a bit.
Ogii on a log.
It looked like pieces of gold glinting in the sun.
I don't think it's actually gold, though.
Lots of rocks wandered into our sandals walking in the river.
So we'll just take them off.
Although we still got some sand on our toes.
Ogii on a small log.
In 1997 it flooded much higher than Ogii.
One last look from Valley View.
Ogii got a better shot by moving over a few feet. Instead of plants, she got a great view of the rocks and a reflection in the water.