Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yosemite National Park In May - Part 4: Morning Stroll & Noon Bike Ride

Holga 35mm North Dome & Washington Column - Yosemite National Park, California

In the morning my five-year-old son and I got up early and went for a stroll around Curry Village. I was on foot--camera in hand--while he rode his bike. We saw some deer and just enjoyed the beautiful morning. After a little exploring we returned to the cabin for breakfast.

We brought with us to Yosemite some cereal and home-made cinnamon rolls. It was such a nice morning that we decided to have breakfast outdoors at a picnic table. Even though Curry Village was full of people, it was surprising just how peaceful the place was.

After cleaning everything up, showering and loading up our car, we checked out of our cabin. But our fun was just beginning. At Curry Village you can rent bicycles, so we rented two adult bicycles, one with a trailer for our two sons to ride in. Our seven-year-old daughter rode her own bike.
Tree In The Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
We headed east from Curry Village on Happy Isles Loop Road with no real plans other than we wanted to visit Mirror Lake. The road is closed to traffic other than the Yosemite Valley Shuttle. The road was crowded at first with hikers and bicyclists, but soon emptied to the point that we were practically the only ones using it.

The first stop was Happy Isles, which is basically a series of islands in the Merced River. There is a little museum that was closed. We left our bikes behind at the museum and followed the short Happy Isles Trail to the end (it's about a half-mile round trip). This hike was interesting because it felt like we were deep in the woods, yet it was short and easy.

After Happy Isles we continued on the road towards Mirror Lake. This section of the road was quiet and surrounded by beautiful greenery. Pretty soon we came to the Snow Creek Trail (which is more of a road than a trail) and took it north to Mirror Lake. For whatever reason, the rented bicycles are not allowed to go all of the way to the lake, so there's a place to park them and then hike the remaining small section.
Washington Column - Yosemite National Park, California
One thing we discovered is that Mirror Lake is more of a swimming hole than an actual lake. It's nothing more than a wide spot on the Tenaya Creek, and the water is very cold. Still, it was a beautiful area and worth seeing. The kids liked dipping their toes in the creek and playing on the sandy beach.

Soon we headed back to Curry Village to return the bikes. I'm not sure exactly how far we rode, but I would guess somewhere in the five-mile range. That's a lot for a seven-year-old (and a dad with two boys riding in the trailer). It was a good time and something that I would definitely recommend to those visiting the park.

I used a Nikon D3300 DSLR to capture these photographs. This time I used both a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens and a Nikkor 55-200mm AF-S DX f/4-5.6G ED lens. All of the images were post-processed using Alien Skin Exposure 7 software.

Part 5
Yosemite Falls From Curry Village - Yosemite National Park, California
Merced River At Happy Isles - Yosemite National Park, California
The Happy Isles Trail - Yosemite National Park, California
Family Tree - Yosemite National Park, California
Fallen Tree Over Merced River - Yosemite National Park, California
Half Dome From Mirror Lake - Yosemite National Park, California
Mirror Lake Color Infrared - Yosemite National Park, California

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