Yosemite: 4 Mile Trail

Arguably the most popular hike in Yosemite Valley is the 4 Mile Trail. In winter, though, there are far fewer hikers willing to brave the conditions to make it to Glacier Point - At least that's is the assumption. I would venture to say we saw about 15 others on the trail during this 6 hour hike.

The trail itself leads to Glacier Point. In warm months, you can actually drive to this lookout from the Valley. In winter, when the snow falls, the road is closed and you're forced to use your feet.

You begin in the Valley and gain about 3,200 feet. This is one of the  few hikes where the trail actually faces the valley for most of the hike. And the views are amazing. We are able to see El Capitan and Yosemite Falls until we hit Union Point. This is about the point in the hike when we were in the clouds for the remaining mile to Glacier Point. 

The biggest bummer: the view of Half Dome from this location is incredible and we were in the clouds with about 25 yards of visibility. Seriously, google "half dome from glacier point". I guess this just means I'll need to go back to try again.

Yosemite: Vernal and Nevada Falls

As I look back on these photos, I realize how much more the black and whites appeal to me. It could have been the gloomy weather (clouds look great with some deep contrast), but I still think the color leaves the commentary open to "what great colors" as opposed to "what a great picture". Anyways...

Our second day in Yosemite, we hiked Vernal Falls and continued the hike on to Nevada Falls. Still, the water wasn't rushing nearly as hard as I had seen it in past years but I think we're still a little too early in the year. Spring is when the rivers really rush. The hike to Vernal falls isn't very long, but it is steep. Steep, paved paths and steep stairs made of granite make up the Mist Trail. Once we hit Nevada Falls, we chose to take the John Muir Trail back down. It turns out the trail is less crowded when it is "closed due to icy conditions". We figured the sign and gate was a suggestion.

Yosemite: Arrival Before Sunrise

Our trip to Yosemite began on a Wednesday night. We decided to leave at 8p from San Diego and drive in the dark to the valley. We all had Thursday through Sunday off and wanted a full day to start with. We arrived in Yosemite National Park sometime around 3a and a short time later we arrived in the Valley. 

I was beat. Sleep had no chance over jokes, loud music and anticipation. My suggestion to sleep once we arrived was quickly batted down as the weather forecast predicted this to be the only clear night. Camera gear in tow, we exited the car in front of Yosemite Falls and braved the 30 degree temperatures. 

Some of these photos may look repetitive. I'd love for you to tell me which is your favorite on Instagram or twitter.

California Tower

1935. That was the last time the general public was able to tour the California Tower. Built to commemorate the completion of the Panama Canal in 1915, the Tower has a lengthy history

It is neat experience to be able to see some of the old architecture (much of which is still intact). The tour guides were great too. They new the answer to just about every question that was lobbed their way. 

The tour itself does have a cost associated with it, along with a long reservation wait. When you learn why the cost is imposed, you may not be so hesitant to go. To hear about the renovations required and the resources needed to maintain the tower, it's worth it to preserve a little history. 

Check out some of the photos I snapped during the tour here: