I promise, the view behind me is real, not a painted backdrop. But it is so beautiful that it almost seems fake. This is what is known as the ‘tunnel view’ as you come into Yosemite via the southern entrance. You drive through a tunnel cut through the mountain and then……WOW….this is the view you see in front of you.
Welcome to Yosemite!
It is easily understandable to see why this is one of the most-visited of our National Parks. Everywhere you look, your mouth drops and you realize that no matter how many pictures you take, you can never capture the beauty or the grandeur of this place. But of course, I tried and I’ll share just a few of the over 200 photos I took yesterday!
But before I do that, I have to tell you about the 3 fabulous women I met that have made my time here in Oakhurst, CA (the Gateway to Yosemite) one of the most memorable of my trip.
First was Nina. We met on the AARP Travel Board. When I mentioned that I was planning to drive to the West coast and on the return tour Yosemite for the first time, she not only volunteered to be my personal guide, but also invited me to stay at her home.
I arrived in Oakhurst yesterday morning about 10 a.m. Planning to drive directly to Nina’s and go into the park immediately, I saw a sign that said Gallery Row – 5 Fantastic Galleries All in One Place! I had to stop. The first gallery I went in was Timberline, a local artist’s co-op and the woman manning the gallery was Joyce. Little did I know that within minutes I would have made a new friend….but let me get back to Nina for a minute.
I found her little house in the trees and got settled in and met her 2 large Huskies and 2 kitties. We got to know each other as we hit the road almost immediately, stopping for lunch in Mariposa before entering the Park through El Portal.
From that point on it was just one amazing site after another, from El Captain to Bridalveil Falls to the Anawanha Hotel.
Nina drove me to every spot where she knew I would get the best picture and patiently waited while I took numerous shots and just stood still and looked. She shared a lot of the history of the Park, as well, and when we made our final stop at the very top at Glacier Peak, we were there just as the sun started to set and turn Half Dome into beautiful shades of pink. What a fabulous end to a perfect day.
When we got back to Nina’s house (about 9 p.m.) there was an email message from Joyce asking if I was or could stay in town longer as she would love to get to know me better and would show me some of the other beautiful, if not part of Yosemite, sites that are in this area. So Nina and I met Joyce for breakfast and we started talking…and talking. She said I was welcome to spend the night with her and her roommate, Lynne and we’d stop by there first and I could get settled before we headed out. We took just a minute to sit down outside and starting talking…and it’s now 7:43 p.m. and we haven’t stopped! Nor did we leave the house expect to pick up a gourmet pizza and beer for dinner. We three have so enjoyed each others company and sharing our life stories. Its amazing how they connect and intertwine and it’s as if we have been friends for years instead of just a few hours.
Lynne is a extremely well-known and well-respected corporate trainer and life coach. These two have been best friends for 20 years and to think they just invited me into their circle to spend the day has been one of the most wonderful and enjoyable experiences I have ever had.
Tomorrow I head back into the park to drive up and over Tioga Pass and onto the Eastern side of the park. From there it’s onto Tahoe and a visit with Suzanne and John, friends from my RV-ing days.
Until next time….