Day 2 in San Francisco we took a day trip to Yosemite National Park. Because it was so early in our trip we decided to book from home and really it was just luck as to how good the company we booked with was. We really wanted to take the private SUV tour but couldn't justify the extra cost so booked a mini van tour with a maximum of 15 people. After booking we received an email pressuring us to change the date we requested (obviously to fit in with others) but our itinerary really wasn't flexible. When we were collected from our hotel the morning (very early!!!) of our tour we were obviously the only ones booked so actually ended up with the private SUV tour. It was just perfect and our guide Alberto was fantastic with an amazing knowledge of the area we were going. I am so glad we didn't decide to drive it ourself, there is no way we would of seen as much as we did or that we would understand what we were seeing!!
First thing in the morning before it got too hot we did an easy hike (hike is actually a very loose term!!) in to see the Giant Sequoia trees. Wow! They were amazing. The size of them. A huge dinosaur striding out beside them wouldn't look out of place.
Our trip out from seeing the Giant Sequoias was long and slow. The descent was very deceptive and coming out seemed very steep with the air compromised due to the altitude. The kids just bounded out, I was slow but poor Mum struggled. Alberto and SH were great letting her take her time and set the pace. Sure that I felt it the next day, now that would be a great workout each day for me!!!!
The scenery everywhere was amazing, just picture perfect. I'd love to see it in all seasons and would love to spend some time staying there to take in the peace and tranquility of it all , to just enjoy it. The taking of this photo of the kids though terrified me. Behind them was just a huge, enormous sheer drop!!!! I couldn't watch but have to admit it was a good photo opportunity. This is the photo that was to go out with the Christmas cards I still haven't written!
Towards the end of the afternoon Alberto stopped for us to have a good look at El Capitan (hope I've got that right) this sheer rock face. We got out the binoculars to try and spot some of the mad, adventurous , courageous rock climbers on the rock face. It takes between 5 - 7 days to climb and only the most experienced even attempt it. They sleep suspended up there and obviously have to carry all their provisions. I certainly admire those who do it and they are in no danger at all of having me join them ever!!!! We did manage to spot a few groups ,they were the size of tiny ants and so hard to see with the naked eye.
We were all looking forward to seeing some squirrels on our trip to the States (we don't have them here in Australia) and we saw plenty at Yosemite from them running and climbing naturally in the foliage to the ones hanging around the restaurant/ shop area hoping for some easy pickings! We also saw some little chipmunks but I was so disappointed not to see a bear! All I wanted for the day although as the rest of the family says I probably would of been terrified! I did buy a little Christmas decoration with a bear from Yosemite to remind us each year of a wonderful day in the most amazing place. It really is spectacular and one of the highlights of our trip.