The park's visitor center is dwarfed by the valley walls behind it. The completely dry Yosemite Falls can be seen in the upper left.
Our first look at Half Dome, nearly three miles away and over a mile up.
North Dome over the Merced River
North Dome (far left) and Washington Column (center)
We used a JetBoil Flash stove to heat our meals and boil water for tea. Here you can see the tea bags in a plastic bag to the left, a poptart, and the food for the rest of the day to the right of the stove.
Our campsite in the valley was in the Lower Pines campground, surrounded by large, well, pines.
Half Dome as seen from our campsite.
Starting our first hike in Yosemite. We set out to do the Mirror Lake trail and part of the Valley View loop.
Another view of Half Dome from the valley floor.
Despite the sign, there was no lake - it was completely dry.
Foot of Half Dome
We passed by the base of Half Dome while hiking on the Mirror Lake trail. It is hard to convey the sheer size of Half Dome: it is nearly a vertical mile above you from its base on the valley floor!
I took this overlooking the valley, facing west near the base of Yosemite Falls.
For our second day of acclimatization, we decided to hike to Nevada Falls via the John Muir Trail and return via the Mist Trail. Here, I took a panorama of Glacier Point from near the beginning of the trail, the first overlook area.
Vernal Falls Footbridge
I thought this was busy until we returned in the afternoon and found out just how crowded this trail can be!
Approaching Nevada Falls
After resting for a few minutes at Clark Point, we continued on the John Muir Trail towards Nevada Falls. By taking the JMT instead of the more popular Mist trail, we avoided the crowds below.
If you zoom in you can just make out hikers ascending the Mist Trail between the base of Liberty Cap (left) and Nevada Fall.
We made it to the top of the fall!
The footbridge over the Merced river at the top of Nevada Fall.
Life Finds a Way
It is incredible how trees can grow straight out the side of a solid piece of granite.
At the Edge
I didn't get that close. Nevada Fall is 600ft high!
Now we are descending via the Mist Trail, on the other side of the fall.
Hmmm, the Mist Trail is starting to look touristy.
How are we supposed to get down there?
By following the Mist Trail of course! This was the only time I felt unsafe in Yosemite. Here, the trail is barely wide enough for one person, the railing is unstable, and it is the most popular trail in the park, so it's going to be crowded.
The deer in Yosemite are quite unafraid of humans (for better or worse) and here we saw a group of young deer as we headed to the village for dinner.
A last look at Half Dome before starting our real hike the next day.