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May 15, 2019 / annakpf11

Splendor in the Valley

“We are all one river. Each particular lifetime is like an individual droplet in a waterfall; we think that’s all we are, until we reach the bottom and rejoin the river.”

A Zen master who visited Yosemite valley and beheld the waterfalls


Yosemite Falls explodes into the valley like a non-stop firehose, plummeting a total of 2,425 feet to a rocky maw at its base.


Up close, in the stormy micro-climate created by the falls, clouds of spray drench our skin, and wind and water roar louder than we can shout.


After last winter’s heavy snows, the waterfalls are more plentiful than ever. And as ever, we are here to witness what springtime does to Yosemite.


We are here to be with family, to share the thrill of high Sierra snowmelt pouring into the steep-sided valley, to marvel at the delicate beauty of dogwood trees in bloom.


Dave has procured a choice campsite in Upper Pines, cleverly circumventing the notoriously difficult, nail-bitingly uncertain booking system in favor of an automated service ( that scans for cancelled reservations in state and national parks all over the US and Canada. When a suitable spot opens up, aspiring campers are notified via SMS.


We retreat here in the late afternoon. Dave sits outside under Suzy’s awning and reads, Anna practices yoga, and we both watch the goings-on in our campground neighborhood.


A happy little gang of kids continually cruises past on their bikes, a young mum pushes a baby in a pram, and tired-looking hikers plod back to their campsites.


In the surrounding forest, flowering Dogwood trees glow with points of light.


At dinnertime, we host a barbecue at our campsite. Wood fire smoke, and the scent of roasting meat permeate the air. The bears must be salivating.


Each day the weather is fine, the surroundings sublime. One morning we hike to Vernal Falls, but getting around by bike is our preferred mode of transport.


Dirt tracks and paved trails thread alongside the roads and amongst the trees, leading past iconic views.


It’s an easy ride from our campground to the Ahwahnee (a.k.a. Majestic) Hotel, our source for the New York Times in the morning, a cold drink from the terrace bar, a meal in the dining room, or perhaps a nap in the sun on an outdoor sofa overlooking the meadow.


The sound of rushing water is ever-present. It lulls us to sleep at night and greets us every morning. And everywhere we go, water sluices down granite walls and tumbles through rocky gullies, each drop on a journey from frozen snowflake to Merced River.


Once merged with the Merced, the icy snowmelt flows out of the valley and then joins with other tributaries before blending into the San Joaquin River, meandering into San Francisco Bay, and eventually following the tide to the sea.


After three carefree days, we too head out of the valley and down the hill for home.


But we’ll be back in August. We’ve already booked our campsite. Through, of course.


One Comment

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  1. Rebecca Riley / May 27 2019 2:50 pm


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