04 January, 2010

Day Two Yosemite Valley

Today did not start well for me. The room was spinning and I felt awful. And before you ask I had one glass of wine last night so I'm pretty sure that if it was the wine, it was the quality not the quantity that did it.

So Tom and the girls had breakfast and I didn't. Then we packed, checked out and headed into the Park on Highway 120. We drove through pine forests some of which had been damaged by fire, skirting around high valleys, passing snow covered hills and some that were completely bare. Then we rounded a corner and stopped at a viewpoint to see our first sight of Half Dome.

This is the iconic image of Yosemite and is at the head of the valley. We passed through a tunnel or maybe two and emerged into the valley.

Wow. High cliffs of rock surround a flat river valley with meadows currently snow covered, and woods. It is dramatic and gorgeous and like nowhere I've been before. It is also surprisingly built up with many roads, paved paths, bus stops for the shuttles and several resorts to stay at. It's odd because we've driven up and up along high roads with precipitous drops, feeling more and more remote from civilisation and suddenly you emerge somewhere with pizzerias, car parks and some mobile reception. On the one hand, wilderness, on the other hand, public loos and organised activities. Sort of Butlins with bears.

We met up with our friends and spent the afternoon ice skating at the rink (Emilia enjoyed her first time, Lottie loathed it vocally all the way round and isn't going again "until I've stopped being small"). We also built a snowman or two and took lots of pictures. I leave you with a few.

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