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David J Grenier Fine Art Photography

Adventureland, aka Yosemite National Park, May 2013

Mark Twain is said to have remarked that Yosemite was so incomparable that it had to be the place God cast all his remaining treasures after the creation of the world! I am fortunate to live four hours away from Yosemite National Park, which I fondly refer to as Adventureland, as it is always an adventure for me to visit this huge and wondrous place in Northern California that I have lovingly gotten to know over the last few years. I first visited Yosemite some 25 years ago, on a family camping adventure with my young daughter and son. I have only vague memories of that visit, but the one lasting memory I have is of my young daughter, upon her return home, telling her friends that she had just visited 'Mysemite'!

As a photographer, using a newly purchased DSLR camera, I visited Yosemite again in 2010, and the adventure began and continues to this day. I last visited Yosemite on May 17, for an impromptu overnight visit. I typically stay away from the Park in summer because of the huge crowds that flock to this magnificent  National Park, but was driven there at this time of the year by the need for 'another adventure' and a weather forecast that promised 'clouds in the sky'. The images in this blog are from of my last visit, and yes, it was seasonally crowded with long lines of vehicles to get in to the Park, and congestion in the heavily trafficked areas of Yosemite Valley. About 4,000,000 people visit Yosemite annually, and it would be my guess that well over 3,000,000 of those visitors arrive during the months of April through October.

It has become a routine for me to drive to Tunnel View first when arriving into Yosemite, because I have learned from experience that this is a great vantage point to see what's happening weather wise in the whole Valley, and the image below is what greeted me on the morning of May 17, 2013.

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Tunnel View

A quote from the the Yosemite National Park website http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm ~ "Not just a great valley, but a shrine to humanforesight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more."

The National Park Service was created by an Act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. Yellowstone National Park was established by an Act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, as the nation's first national park.

The national park system comprises 401 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state (except Delaware), the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

Total recreation visitors to all National Parks in 2011 was an astounding 278,939,216 people!

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El Capitan

El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world's favorite challenges for rock climbers. The formation was named "El Capitan" by the Mariposa Battalion when it explored the valley in 1851. El Capitán ("the captain", "the chief") was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as "To-to-kon oo-lah" or "To-tock-ah-noo-lah" .

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The Three Brother

The Three Brothers, 7,783 ft (2,372 m),  is a rock formation located just east of El Capitan and consists of Eagle Peak (the uppermost "brother"), and Middle and Lower Brothers. John Muir considered the view from Eagle Peak to be the most beautiful view of Yosemite Valley available. John Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he co-founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States.

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Gates of the Valley

One of the two major waterways in the park is the Merced River, which carries rainwater and snow melt from the high Sierras and drains the southern part of the park. Arising high in the Sierra backcountry in the park, if flows though the heart of Yosemite Valley. The picture babove shows the river from the location known as "Gates of the Valley" or "Valley View", and in the background can be seen El Capitan (left) and Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Falls (right).

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'As The World Turns'

The final image I leave you with is the star trails above Yosemite Falls. Captured at 9:58 pm on May 17, this was a 35 minute exposure that shows the movement of stars in the that time frame, with the exception of the constant North Star, the little white dot shown just above the falls.

Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America, and it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak. The total 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls qualifies Yosemite Falls as the sixth highest waterfall in the world.

I would like to end this blog with a quote from John Muir, taken from his book The Yosemite, Copyright 1912, by the Century Co .

'Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.'

The Yosemite by John Muir - book cover first edition

May you enjoy a visit to Yosemite National Park someday to marvel at 'the place God cast all his remaining treasures after the creation of the world'!

I dedicate this blog today to my daughter Michelle Grenier on her birthday - Happy Birthday Michelle, Love, Dad!

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