Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Weekend Trip: U.S. Highway 395 In Autumn, Part 2: Yosemite National Park (Tuolumne Meadows & Olmsted Point)

Rocks And Trees - Yosemite National Park, California

After Mono Canyon we entered Yosemite National Park via California Highway 120 over Tioga Pass. Despite this being the off season for Yosemite, there was still plenty of traffic at the gate. I had never seen this side of the park so this was an new experience for me and I was excited at the photographic opportunities that awaited.

I used a Canon PowerShot N to capture all but two of the photographs in this post, which were captured using a Nikon D3300 with a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens attached. I won't say which photographs are from which camera. I bet you can't tell. Vision matters more than gear in photography.

Tuolumne Meadows

We arrived at Tuolumne Meadows around 3:30 PM, about 30 minutes after we had planned. We parked near the Tuolumne Meadows Campground and proceeded to find the Tuolumne River Loop Trail. A little wandering around and we stumbled across the trailhead.

The Tuolumne River Loop Trail is four miles long. It's not always well marked, and a few times we weren't completely sure that we were on the right trail. At times the trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail.

We decided to bring a jogging stroller for our one-year-old to ride in. This was the only way we'd be able to tackle the trail, but we soon discovered that the trail isn't ideal for strollers. There are large rocks across the path at different points and there were spots where we had to carry the stroller.

The trail follows the Dana and Lyell forks of the Tuolumne River. It's forested, mostly with pines. There are some beautiful meadows and small waterfalls. We were alone for most of the trek. The weather was great. It was nearly perfect hiking conditions.

We finished the hike around 6:00 PM, tired and ready to be done. This was a long trip for our seven year old daughter and six year old son! This was definitely the longest trail that they'd ever attempted, and they were troopers through it all, without hardly a complaint.
Granite Rising From Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite National Park, California
Lembert Dome - Yosemite National Park, California
Lembert Dome & Lyell Fork - Yosemite National Park, California
Fallen Tree Over Lyell Fork - Yosemite National Park, California
Cairn & River - Yosemite National Park, California
Reflection Peek - Yosemite National Park, California
Lyell Fork Pines - Yosemite National Park, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4.
Three Tree Reflection - Yosemite National Park, California
Lyell Fork - Yosemite National Park, California
The Twisted Tree - Yosemite National Park, California
Minion - Yosemite National Park, California
Two Kids & Rock Face - Yosemite National Park, California
Pacific Crest Trail - Yosemite National Park, California
Pine Trees - Yosemite National Park, California
Sunlight Through The Branches - Yosemite National Park, California
Holga View In Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite National Park, California
Tree Reflection In Tuolumne River - Yosemite National Park, California
Made to look like an oil painting using Snap Art 4.
Excited Girl In The Forest - Yosemite National Park, California

Olmsted Point

After our hike we headed a little deeper into Yosemite National Park. We arrived at Olmsted Point, a scenic vista pullout along California Highway 120, just before sunset. This stop offers views of Half Dome from a vantage point that's different from what most people see (those that only view it from Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point).

We took in the view for a couple of minutes, but we needed to get going to eat dinner and check into our hotel. We stopped for food in Lee Vining (I highly recommend the Whoa Nellie Deli) and then made our way through the darkness to our hotel in Mammoth Lakes.

We ended our day relaxing in our hotel room, watching television and taking in the cool fresh mountain air from our balcony. There was still plenty for us to see and do the next day, so it was time to rest.
Half Dome From Olmsted Point Monochrome - Yosemite National Park, California
Vintage Half Dome From Olmsted Point - Yosemite National Park, California

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