2020 Jul 26 | Yosemite Glacier Point, Lembert Dome, Vernal Fall, Taft Point, Mariposa Grove

Work is a bit slow due to COVID, so we thought we'd go to Yosemite for a little under a week. They're still on the very strict entrance requirements.

Ready to get a ticket at exactly 7am.


And it timed out on my phone.

However, Ogii managed to get one. It's weird because I clicked the reservation button first, but it's a very good thing we both were doing it.

One of the other ways you can get into the park is to have a reservation in the lodge. Unfortunately, Mariposa County created a new rule that every room must remain vacant for 24 hours between reservations, which meant a lot of people had their reservations cancelled. You would think that would be the absolute safest way to go, but apparently not.

I bought some hoodies for Ogii for the trip. I'm almost out of wrapping paper.

But if I tape these two together, it works.

Ogii with her presents.

Opening them.

All of the hoodies. Some are lighter; some are heavier.

I also wanted to grab some hiking or fishing hats for us to wear. Good thing the sporting goods stores are open.

I was looking at renting a convertible for the trip since there's so much to look around at. A Corvette would be cool, but that's too expensive. The 2012 Honda Accord doesn't really fit in with these other cars.

Ooh, an original Dodge Viper. That would be cool except can't put the top on again, which might be a problem if it rains.

We ended up going with this Mercedes, which was very nice.

Even though it was an automatic, you had to press the "P" button for it to go into park; otherwise, even if the car was off, it was in neutral. Good thing to learn before getting out of it on a steep hill in Yosemite.

The pedals were a bit far for Ogii, but she managed.

There was some traffic on the drive there, but at least we were stuck behind this really beautiful painting on a semi.

A passenger train.

Raccoon statue at the hotel. We stayed just a bit west of Yosemite Valley.


We love seeing Bridalveil Fall when you come into the valley.

And El Capitan on the other side.

Many burned trees here.

Driving with the top down.

This road goes to the Badger Pass ski area.

The view from Washburn Point.

With us. It's a very similar view to Glacier Point, but there are a few more trees in the way.

A deer by the Glacier Point parking lot.

Ogii from the geology hut.

Metal map.

And another one with labels.

Half Dome is to the left and Vernal and Nevada Falls are to the right.

A little squirrel.

You're not supposed to be out there, but it does look cool.

Not too many people here yet.

The classic view from Glacier Point.

Geology survey marker.

The photographers are setting up for sunset and comet NEOWISE.


We moved to be by the geology hut so it wasn't as crowded.

Ogii with a few people behind her.

You can see the sun go down over the mountains.

These people were having a wedding reception here.

Someone flew a drone for a bit, but everyone was yelling at them.

Sunset with colorful clouds.

Campsites below.

Everyone on the lookout for the comet.

Before that, a nice sliver moon set.

You can barely see the comet any more.

And then these clouds moved in front of it.

The village lit up.

Up early the next morning to get a sunrise picture at Tunnel View. The sun tracking apps are great.


Sunlight rays hitting Half Dome.

A few other people were there as well.

Bridalveil Fall.

There is a garage in the valley, so if your car breaks down, hopefully they can fix it.

We were there early so nobody else was parked there yet.

This seating area in Degnan's Kitchen was blocked off as only outside sitting was allowed. We had planned to sit here and work.

So we found this bench outside instead.

Bluejay feather.

Bike share.

The general store is huge.

Lots of photographs.

Many other tourist trinkets and tons of food.

Ready-to-go s'mores.

Each of the store employees got a sheet.

Last time we stayed in the valley; this time we went out from it. First we went north.

Through a bunch of tunnels.

There's actually a gas station up here; that's nice.

Although the store is closed.

You can also get around on the YARTS, although it doesn't make many stops.

A bit of a wait.

The sun is on us.

Although if we just lean forward a bit we're in the shade.

One-way traffic as they're cutting down trees.

And taking them away.

The road was pretty newly re-asphalted.

Lots of trees below.

Then we started seeing lots of rocks.

Rocks to the left, trees to the right.

I think we can handle a 0.25-mile hike.

Ogii on the path to Tenaya Lake.

Set up at the water's edge.

For lunch.

There were a few people around, but it was largely empty.

The water was super clear.

Me on a rock.

The top goes up and down in 20 seconds at the touch of a button.

I don't know how these trees survive in this rock.

We finally see a lot of cars parked near Tuolumne Meadow.

Some park info.

Ready for our first little hike.

A small stream.

Another one.

Looking out from the bridge.

There was some water on the path but you could just walk around it.

The John Muir trail.

Butterfly on a flower.

Going up a little path.

To the Parsons Memorial Lodge.

It looks quite solid.

Another smaller building.

Which is a private residence.

The meadow.

Insects on flowers.

A few people were fishing in this stream.

Taking a break.

This truck was completely covered by a tarp.

Our next hike was to Lembert Dome.

These look like serious hikers; that's way above our level.

There might be bears around.

So they have storage lockers for food.

Ranger cabins.

We drove from Yosemite Valley up and around to near the eastern edge.

Starting up some stairs.

A break by some flowers.

Across a road.

Entering the wilderness.

This tree caught the other tree when it fell.

This one was broken in half by a rock.

This hike was quite difficult because it was so steep. We stopped and rested a lot.

Don't want to miss the turnoff.

Starting to see some rocks now.

The path is starting to disappear.

And we're at the dome.

Now we just need to walk up it.

Plants growing in the cracks.

The top.

Me hiking up. It wasn't too steep in most places, and you could just go around a different way if it got too steep.

The rock is pretty big; you can barely see Ogii.

Looking to the east.

Looking to the west.

And the north.

Some more plants.

Tuolumne Meadows below us.

Me on the top.

Taking a break.


Getting a picture over the edge.

Three more hikers showed up. Otherwise, it was just us.

Gatorade and trail mix time.

Back down now.

It wasn't too hard to find the trail again, although we did have to look a bit.

The other hikers waiting for a car.

The crossing the road.

The hike was ranked as moderately strenuous, which seems about right. The hike to the rock is the hard part as it's so steep; actually wandering around on the rock is easy.

Back to Tenaya Lake.

Only we're on the east side now, whereas lunch was on the west side.

The water changes color beautifully at the edge.

Ogii resting on the beach.

Lots of green.

Driving back down to the valley.

Stopping to get fresh water from Fern Spring.

The next morning we stopped at Valley View. There was a duck swimming around.

The rangers had cut down all of the bushes which were here the last time. I guess people have a better view now.

Hoodie on top, towel on bottom to stay warm.

Me taking pictures.

These people sat on this log over the river to watch sunrise.

It was a bit cold in the morning in the valley, so Ogii sucked the hot air directly into her shirt.

We see a lot of deer around this chapel in the mornings.

This person was taking a timelapse.

Of the sun rising across El Capitan.

Some deer on the other side of the loop.

With Half Dome in the background.

More deer way out in the middle behind this patch of flowers.

Getting pictures of them with the zoom lens.

These had big horns.

Ogii in front of El Capitan by the river.

Someone had made a little teepee out of sticks.

A loud crow looking for food while Ogii works.

A wasp is interested in our food.

A squirrel nearby.

Today we were doing the most popular hike in Yosemite: the Mist Trail.

There are already more people walking to this area than we saw the entire time we were on Lembert Dome.

A deer right by the path.

And someone who just got done riding a horse.

Normally the shuttle drives from the parking lot to here, but it's not running due to COVID, so it's an extra mile to walk.

The river under the bridge.

Two waterfalls on this trail.

You can't take bikes farther than this.

Because of COVID, part of the trail is one-way only in the middle of the day.

The river around a bend.

A little stone building.

Which is a gaging station.

It doesn't look too complicated.

Distances to various landmarks. We're just doing Vernal Fall, which is three miles round trip. Nevada fall would be seven miles total, which is a bit too far.

This guy broke his sandal, but thankfully I had some duct tape in my hiking backpack, so I gave it to him. It might not be great, but it should get him home.

Love these mini rolls of duct tape.

Two boys died after being swept downstream here.

It looks a little dangerous.

A park ranger giving directions.

And up we go.

A bluejay.

Our first sight of Vernal Fall.

Lots of switchbacks on the trail here.

It could get a bit crowded.

Us in front of the fall.

It's really pretty.

A giant rock looks like it's propped up by a smaller one.

Another shot of us.

Lots of people stopped here for pictures and snacks.

Which apparently the squirrels knew about.

They really want some food.

The water coming down over the rocks.

Two rainbows near the bottom.

Now more upwards hiking.

So many stairs.

The across this tiny area.

It's a bit scary.

Ogii looking up.

After that you come to a more open area.

Where you can see the top of the fall.

Us with Vernal Fall.

It wasn't too packed.

There was also a nice lake right there called Emerald Pool.

Nevada Fall in the distance.

Ogii taking a little nap.

This guy was napping, too, while the gals took pics of each other.

You could actually walk over to the top of Vernal Fall this way. Hopefully nobody falls off.

My turn for a nap, but in the woods, not by the lake.

If you go back before 4pm, you have to go up even more before going back down. We didn't want to do that, so we waited a half hour until we could go back this way.

Back down this scary skinny area.

Back down all of these steps.

So many steps.

So so many steps.

A squirrel with her baby.

We could actually hike back to Tuolumni Meadows from here, but it's 26.8 miles.

We'd rather go the 1.1 miles to the valley.

A beautiful wooden bench.

Ogii's legs were a bit tired, so it was easier for her to walk down backwards than forwards.

Coming across another deer by this small bridge.

Wild raspberries.

Bikes you can rent.

Tents you can rent. Although they're all sold out months in advance.

Food trucks.

Up to a $5,000 fine for feeding the animals.

After all that hiking, this food from a grill in Curry Village tasted great.

Even at 6pm it was still 92 degrees.

This rock got stuck in the tire. It was easy to pop out, though.

Some people were stopped in the road in front of us. We thought they had gotten in an accident until we saw that they were looking at a bear.

The bear walking across a fallen tree.

I put my camera on full auto because I thought that would be the safest setting, but it wasn't at all. First, the camera chose an aperture of 2.8, which means only a tiny depth will be in focus. Second, the camera had some weird focusing where it chose the bunch of weeds indicated by the red boxes to focus on. Because of these two, the bear was blurry. Auto should have an aperture more like 8.0 and a center focus.

In fact, center focus isn't even an option for auto mode. How dumb.

So I set my camera to shutter priority so it would focus on the center of the image.

I was really disappointed; we had seen a bear but my dumb camera didn't focus on it. But, great luck, these people a bit farther down the road saw another one.

I walked to south of the bear.

And got pictures of it crossing the path.

Ogii came from the north instead and got video. This couple was watching it as well, so I made sure to stay behind them, just in case the bear decided to come this way and eat whoever he came across first.

The a park ranger showed up. He was really nice and asked if everyone had gotten some pictures of the bear.

Then we scared it away. The rangers weren't scared of the bears at all, but they didn't want them near the trails, just in case a person snuck up on them and scared them.

The older couple and this group of three had all been up at the lake with us.

A nicely-lit gazebo at our hotel.

Up early the next morning. Well, one of us is up.

Ogii all wrapped up again.

This morning we hiked to Taft Point.

It's only 1.1 miles each way; that should be easy.

Moss on the side of a tree.

And all over these branches.

Tons of ferns.

Yellow and purple flowers.

Me by them.

Yellow, purple, orange, and white flowers.

Some trees in the path.

And one that fell down across the path.

I wonder if this little orange square of metal is a trail marker?

That looks quite like a seat.

Out of the forest.

A steep crevice.

Again, we're the only ones here.

The lookout point.

With another marker.



Me between a rock and a tree.

Another small group of hikers.

Don't get too close to the edge.

Someone had scratched "fly free" in the rock.

Getting a picture over the edge.

Ogii far away.

Me even farther away.


A deep crevice with some rocks stuck in it.

Another one.

Back to the trail through the woods.

Looking up.

This flower looks like the coronavirus.

At the fallen tree.

This leaf has been chewed up.

Some little worms on these flowers.

Spikey flower.

Yellow ones.

White ones.

Looking into a purple flower.

Ogii could make this her home.

Just add a roof, some glass windows, and a door.

By the time we were done with the hike, some more people had arrived.

Now time for a bit of work again.

This wasp really likes the ham.

Ogii sent a post card to Dad and Mom.

Bridalveil Fall really looks like a bridal veil when the wind hits it.

It's nearly 100 out.

It's getting hot out, so let's hang out in the river for a bit.

It's so clear.

Me lying on the beach.

A few other people there as well.

More to this side.


Ogii wetting her hair.

In the shade.

As another tuber goes by.

A bit of a bottleneck to get back to land.

Kids playing on a log.

Our hotel lobby, Yosemite Cedar Lodge.

Up early on Saturday for one last hike through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. We arrived before sunrise and had to hike up the road in the dark.

They get very big.

Ogii in front of the Grizzly Giant, 3,000-year-old tree which is the 26th largest giant sequoia living today.

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt camped together here.

A deer wandering along.

The California Tunnel Tree.

Us inside of it.

Our jury-rigged selfie stick, wrapping one flexible tripod around the other taller one.

A giant pinecone.

Us in front of the Grizzly Giant.

A group of four deer showed up.

The wandered across the path.

I want to get a picture of them with the Grizzly Giant, but I'm on the wrong side of them.

I don't want to scare them off, so I'm looking away pretending to not be interested in them.

Now they're off the path, so it's my chance to sneak by.

And then I got a picture of this deer in front of the Grizzy Giant with the sun peeking through some other trees. Glad that worked out.

Then the walked over towards the California Tunnel Tree.

Getting a picture of the deer through the tree.

Tall flowers on the hike back down.

And some berries.

Nice little stumps to sit on.

Ogii by the Bachelor and Three Graces.

Fire is required to kill off the other smaller trees that will grow between them.

Lots of different acorns.

A huge fallen tree.

Tree layers.

The thick bark of the large sequoias allow them to survive any wildfires.

Ogii in between another fallen tree.

And in a little grove.

By the Fallen Monarch.

Ogii by its roots.

Almost done with the hike.

A nice little chair.

They look funny at the top.

Sequoia versus redwood.

Wait, how did these people park here?

You're supposed to park at the Welcome Plaza, which we did, and then hike the two miles up to here (and then the two miles down). This tiny parking lot is only for cars with disability placards. It didn't look like any of the cars had tickets; though. Maybe we should have saved ourselves the extra four mile hike and parked up here instead.

They're from three different states.

Metal map.

Me beneath two sequoias.

Little wooden markers to let you know how close you are to the grove.

Some sort of pinecone.

Weird looking.

A tiny tree starting out.

Something tore into the side of this tree.

This fallen tree makes a nice bench.

Many trees over there.

Red bark.

Little berries.

Anything with a bunch of spines like that probably isn't safe to eat.

It's warm enough Ogii can take off two of the three hoodies she worn this morning.

And we made it back down.

This confirms you're not supposed to park up there.


In front of a big tree.

Ogii inside the outline of the base of the Grizzly Giant.

One last cool flower.

A huge line of cars waiting to get into the park at the south entrance at 10am. I'm glad we're headed out.

A video of some parts of our trip.