Upon entering the park, we headed to Glacier Point, a viewpoint located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 7,214 ft. The point offers a superb view of the valley, including Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Clouds Rest. I’ve read that the glacial origin of the area is definitely proved by the presence in it of rocks derived from Little Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.
The focal point of the amazing vista that lay before us was the majestic Half Dome - possibly Yosemite's most familiar rock formation. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor.
After walking around the Glacier Point area for a bit we drove on, going through the Wawona Tunnel
to emerge at Tunnel View vista point on State Route 41. The view looks east into Yosemite Valley including the southwest face of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridal Veil Falls. And what a mindblowing view it was!!!
Bridal Veil Fall is 617 ft and flows year round. When the wind blows briskly, the waterfall will appear to be falling sideways. During lesser water flow, the falls often don't reach the ground. Because of this, the Ahwahneechee tribe called this waterfall Pohono, which means Spirit of the Puffing Wind. Thee believed that Bridalveil Fall was home to Pohono which guarded the entrance to the valley, and that those leaving the valley must not look directly into the waterfall lest they be cursed (Pohono was a vengeful spirit, apparently). They also believed that inhaling the mist of Bridal Veil Fall would improve one's chances of marriage. Had I been single I might have been tempted :)
We drove on towards the valley floor, the road running parallel to the Merced River
The Miwok and Paiute tribes lived along the river for thousands of years, thriving on the bountiful flora and fauna supported by the river and its diverse lower course, aided by fertile soils eroded from the mountains.
The total 2,425 ft from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls qualifies Yosemite Falls as the seventh highest waterfall in the world. The upper fall (a 1,430 ft plunge)is formed by the swift waters of Yosemite Creek, which, after meandering through Eagle Creek Meadow, hurl themselves over the edge of a hanging valley in a spectacular and deafening show of force. The Lower Falls (a 320 ft drop) provides the best viewing point for the waterfalls. Yosemite Creek emerges from the base of the Lower Falls and flows into the Merced River nearby. Between the two obvious main plunges there are a series of five smaller plunges collectively referred to as the Middle Cascades. Taken together these account for a total drop of 675 ft.
After lunch in Curry Village on the valley floor,