Four million people visit Yosemite each year, showing how popular it is for explorers.
From downtown San Francisco, we spent three hours taking in the sights of the lush hills dotted with wind turbines and peach gardens in full bloom before we finally reached the national park, which had been blanketed by dark clouds and rain drops. Arriving at two in the afternoon, we spent another three hours stopping by at two locations: Tunnel View and Yosemite Village Store.
Sitting at the western entrance of Yosemite Valley, Tunnel View is one of the best spots that provide explorers with the sweeping views of the granite rock formation of El Capitan on the left, the iconic Bridalveil Falls cascading off the cliff on the right and the famous hike Half Dome at the far end.
There are mindboggling choices when it comes to accommodations for travelers to pick. We opted for a cabin twenty minutes by car from the national park. Worry not as these places are usually equipped with Wi-Fi to support communication since there won’t be any phone signal available.
The sun shone brightly and the temperature was not too cold. The route we took showed a striking spectacle—it’s the kind of scenery that could make one dwell in the imagination of the land Alagaësia in the famous novel Eragon. We were instantly awestruck by the majestic view unfolding before our eyes; on a smooth road we glided down the Merced River, which runs through the Yosemite Valley.
We finally reached the first trail after making a brief stop to take photographs and grab some lunch. All prepped up, the hike began with the popular Mist Trail to reach the Vernal Falls, a 317-foot waterfall flowing all-year round since it is fed by rain and snow-melts. Living up to its name, the Mist Trail will soak hikers whenever they pass by the falls due to the wind-blown mist.
We concluded the hike at the Columbia Rocks to see the Upper Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the United States and one of the highest ones in the world, which took two and a half hours to complete. The terrain was pretty much similar to the trail leading up to the Vernal Falls, but sometimes we had to ford calm stream to reach the other side.
Hiking to the top is worth the reward, for the steep climb will afford a majestic view of falls, the close-up look of Half Dome and other Sierra mountains.
PHOTOS Rivan Dwiastono