Exploring Yosemite Valley

After enjoying a delicious full breakfast at our b&b (Yosemite Rose), we put on our hiking gear again and headed back to Yosemite for a day of exploration. Yosemite is an enormous national park, and you certainly can’t see it in one or two days. We were fortunate enough to drive across the park on Tioga Road on our way in on Monday so we were able to enjoy the array of spruce, pine, oak, maple and fir trees that cover the vast majority of the park. Yosemite is the main part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range so the peeks and valleys are incredible.

We started our day by stopping at Bridalveil Falls just on the outskirts of Yosemite Village. The waterfall was just a trickle though. The snow and rain this past winter were not what the region normally receives so the vast majority of the waterfalls (and some of the most awe-inspiring sites of the park) have dried up six to seven weeks earlier than they normally do. Our next stop was Little Falls which is part of Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is one of the major attractions in the park and is one of the reasons people stay at The Ahwahnee Lodge – to appreciate the view. Unfortunately, the Falls were all dried up so there was no reason to venture on from the lower falls to the upper falls.

For the afternoon, we decided to take a 4 hour tour to Glacier Point – the highest viewing point in the park. The ride up was beautiful. We drove up winding cliffs, through the trees, passing wildlife and eventually soaring to the top where we spent an hour looking around. The views capture the entire valley floor, a full view of Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, distant views of Vernal Falls (one of two running waterfalls right now) and gives the best overall view of the entire park. There is a four mile hike back to the lodges from Glacier Point but we opted to remain with the group and ride back down to the bottom. We stopped at Tunnel View for pictures before heading back.

All our outdoor exploration, left us ravenous for dinner. All day long we were talking about trying the authentic mexican restaurant in Groveland. We heard rave reviews from our B&B hostess so we decided to try it. Cocina Michoacana, in the heart of Groveland, lives up to its billing. The authentic mexican cuisine is fresh, tasty and delectable. The restaurant wasn’t much from the outside and I’m sure if there is a Zagat’s review of it, it would have a low rating on decor but the food and service were spectacular. We started off with chips/salsa/guacamole and we inhaled the basket before moving on to tacos and enchiladas for appetizers and fajitas for dinner. Darren and I shared the chicken/beef fajita dinner for two and it was incredible. This restaurant rivaled the place we ate it in Scottsdale and I think it was actually a notch better. Darren was undecided – he said it was too close to call. We highly recommend this place not only for the food but for the value. We ate a ton of food – more than we probably should have, and still the bill was under $40 in total. Can’t beat that!

Today, we are heading back to Yosemite but for a more leisurely day. We will probably check out the groves and have a nice, relaxing picnic lunch. There is a 3-mile hike through the grove that we will explore. The Merced Grove is said to be the least explored yet the most beautiful grove filled with sequoia trees and many others. We’ll let you know what we think…..

Pictures of Vegas and Yosemite will be posted later tonight.

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