Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Glacier Point Road

It was much warmer last night, in the 50s, and our tent cabin stayed in the 60s. Slept great! We breakfasted on peanut butter sandwiches and general-store coffee.

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Yosemite Valley

This morning we drove to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, where we hiked around the big trees. In total volume, the giant sequoias are the largest living things known to exist.

A couple of the trees are cool enough to mention by name. The Grizzly Giant is 1,800 years old, 210 feet tall, 31 feet across, and looks like elves should be making cookies inside it. Just beyond the Grizzly Giant is the California Tunnel Tree, cut in 1895 to allow horse-drawn carriages to pass through.

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Sequoias

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Grizzly Giant a/k/a Keebler Elf Tree

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Tom in the Tunnel Tree

From the grove, we drove to Glacier Point Road, just recently opened for the season. I really wasn't expecting it to be open yet, as it usually isn't passable until mid June, but we lucked out with a mild winter and an early melt!

The views from Washburn Point and Glacier Point (7,214 feet) were phenomenal, with different views of Half Dome and Vernal and Nevada Falls than we'd had so far. At Glacier Point we had a sandwich picnic and I bought a requisite ice cream cone.

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Half Dome and Vernal and Nevada Falls from Washburn Point

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Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

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Jana and Tom at Glacier Point

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Halfdome and the valley from Glacier Point

We did a couple of hikes from Glacier Point Road. First we hiked to Taft Point and the Fissures, 2.2 miles round-trip, where we had fantastic views of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls, in addition to vertiginous cliff's-edge views of the valley floor.

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Taft Point and El Capitan

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Upper Yosemite Fall

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Steve's Point

Then from the same trailhead we hiked to Sentinel Dome (8,122 feet), another 2.2 miles round-trip, where we had great 360-degree views of the valley and its many landmarks: Cathedral Rocks, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, and more. It was stunning!

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Sentinel Dome

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From Sentinel Dome

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Jana claims Yosemite and the High Sierras

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Don't back up!

On the drive back down into the valley, we stopped at Inspiration Point at Tunnel View, a very popular pull-out with an excellent view of Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome, though the light wasn't quite right for photos.

It was another beautiful day with lovely weather. We made it back to camp at 7:15 and had pastrami sandwiches and beer for dinner. Later, returning from the shower, Tom spotted two deer right in the middle of camp just minding their own business and eating leaves.

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Continue to May 17, 2012

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