California Vacation 2011: Stop in Yosemite Valley

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After two and a half fabulous days in Tuolumne Meadows, it was time to head out 🙁  As part of our Plan B once our High Sierra loop trip was kaput, Jason and I decided to head south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. But first, a quick side trip to Yosemite Valley!

Being the masochistic vacationers we are, we set our alarms for 5:30am. We wanted to get to the Valley as early as we could…without hating ourselves for it later 😕 We successfully pulled out of Tuolumne Meadows around 6:00am and were down to the Valley around 7:30am, just in time to enjoy the breakfast buffet at the Curry Village Pavilion.

From breakfast, we headed to the next logical place: the Village Store for souvenir shopping. I am sad to report that I purchased nothing  🙁  We must have hit a good year last summer, because there was nothing cute this time around. From there, we stopped by the Ansel Adams Gallery to check out Sequoia/Kings Canyon prints. I was also hoping to find a special piece of jewelry to remind me of the trip. Again, no luck  😥 However, I was told that I could be a hand model. I should totally pursue that  😉

Half Dome looming above us.
Half Dome

We checked out Yosemite Falls, which was still going due to the heavy snowfall. While I know that it was impressive for this time of year, it was still nothing compared to what we saw last summer (or what had to be going on this June).

While waiting for the bus, we met this good-looking little friend.
Steller's Jay

Yosemite Falls

The dry creek bed below the falls. Definitely not dry last June.
Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls

Then, it was time for the real reason behind our Valley visit.

The Curry Village Pizza Patio!
Pizza Patio


Well, it wasn’t all about pizza. I couldn’t imagine visiting Yosemite and not seeing the Valley.

Of course, we were quickly reminded why we stayed in the High Country. There are too many people in the Valley, and many of them are just plain rude. We bore witness to plenty of stupidity in the three/four hours we spent down there. It was bittersweet driving out of the Valley to head south.

Yosemite Valley

Goodbye Yosemite. Until we meet again…
Goodbye Yosemite

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2 thoughts on “California Vacation 2011: Stop in Yosemite Valley

  1. iris

    That bird is a Steller’s Jay. They’re cheeky buggers that’ll beg for food just as much as the squirrels do.

    The best way to avoid the crowds in the Valley is to be on the trails. After we finished the Mist Trail above Nevada Fall, and were on the John Muir Trail & Panorama Trail, the place was practically deserted. We basically didn’t see anyone for 12+ hours at that point.

    I am extremely amused by the fact that I have nearly identical shots from Tunnel View and the Yosemite entrance.

  2. Laura Post author

    I’m pretty proud that I got as good of a shot of Tunnel View as I did considering it was a drive-by. I’m becoming a good “from the car” photographer 🙂

    We saw Steller’s Jays last summer, too. They are gorgeous birds – We don’t get to see birds like that very often around home.

    We were so glad that we stayed up in the Tuolumne Meadows area. There were still people, but not even close to as many. I believe someone told us last summer that the higher you go “up,” the fewer people there are. It looks like you had beautiful weather for your time in Yosemite. Next time we get out there, I’m all about the backpacking 🙂


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