Tag Archives: yosemite national park

Half Mile Plunge



The difference between Yosemite National Park on a weekday and a weekend? Parking. A Saturday visit to Yosemite Valley meant grabbing any available parking spot and using the frequent shuttle buses to get around the park. The lower Valley is a higher traffic area to begin with -offering river rafting, horseback riding, cycling and fishing as well as camping and lodging. One way to avoid the crowds is to focus on the more challenging trails. An even better idea is to plan your visit for weekdays.

trailviewWe found a less-trafficked route to Yosemite Falls. One of the Park’s more popular attractions, the Falls drop a dramatic 2420 feet in total -almost half a mile! Water flow is estimated at a powerful 2400 gallons/second (9000 liters/second).


From Yosemite Creek in the high country, water surges over the Upper Fall and through the Middle Cascades before a final plunge over the Lower Fall. From here it roars on into the Merced River, a stampede of water molecules sweeping along anything within its path. The violent rumbling fills the ears and vibrates up the feet in late June. But, in summer? Yosemite Falls fades to a gentle mist that gives no hint of its escalated springtime flow.


Updated from October 29, 2009.

Yosemite National Park Things To Do


Deceiving Distances

Up, down and across still extend in all the usual directions, but the distance between their visible limits is a bit deceiving at the Grand Canyon. At some points down is a drop of over a mile (the view back up from the canyon floor is one I aim to hike down to someday soon!). Width of the Canyon at any point ranges between 4 and 18 miles. There is no “stone’s throw” across that one!

Hance Rapid (pictured at right from Desert View) is rated an 8 in difficulty on a 1 to 10 scale. This mile long stretch of river features the Canyon’s greatest single drop. Thirty feet doesn’t sound like much in a place where everything else seems to be measured in miles, but in a kayak?  That could be excessively thrilling!

Updated from June 6, 2010.


Grand Canyon National Park Things To Do


The Giants of Mariposa

That they are old is not enough.  Age is an effortless achievement -just ask any woman over forty.  But here also is grace.  A simple yet steadfast strength.  The presence of a peace that expands from within one’s own self to embrace the very sanctuary that seems to call it forth.

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias provides perspective on a grand scale.  One of three protected sequoia groves within Yosemite, Mariposa at the south-western edge of the park is the largest and most visited.  Unlike the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods, these Sequoias are more solitary.  The drier inland zone results in less undergrowth and clustering, making it easier to imagine unique personas for the individually named trees.

Walking through, the sensation is similar to being in the presence of stalwart timeless heroes.  Some will fall, but even the decay of the fallen is deliberate due to a bacteria that suppresses the qualities of tannic acid in the wood.  The “Fallen Monarch” (pictured at right) has lain in state for centuries, and the trees around it will grow for centuries more.

I think I’m ready for another visit to Yosemite.

Updated from February 10, 2010.

Yosemite National Park Things To Do


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