I have often told my guests and visitors that one impressive thing about Yosemite is the fact that from above you see no signs of mankind in the valley. After all this is America. What do you mean no signs of motels, gas stations or fast food joints. Well, visit Tunnel View lookout and see for yourself, before or after you visit the valley floor so you know there really is life down there.
Also, I am embarrassed to say, I thought the same about the view from Glacier Point – which I have surely visited at least four or five times over the years. I even hiked up and down the Four Mile trail once to see it on foot. But recently I sneaked off to just visit only that area of the park at sunset. As usual, I was mesmerized by the view of Half Dome from up high as well as the three waterfalls in a row you can see. Plus I was encouraging my fellow visitor to take pictures from the little gazebo as it makes such a great frame for photography.
But this time I noticed one of the signboards and it said that when you look down you could see the swimming pool of Curry Village, the Ahwahnee hotel, etc. Where? Really? Well it turns out you can if you lean out over the big stone ledge at the part of this area that is actually the point. Wow. You sure get a feeling for height when you see how small a giant hotel looks. As you can see, a cell phone camera really does not do it justice.
But I must still commend the Park Service for by and large preserving the natural beauty of Yosemite forever as I look forward to exploring more of the park on every visit. There is so much more to see than just the magnificent main valley floor. And it all looks so different in the different seasons.
NOTE: Glacier Point road will be closed most of 202o for major road repairs, so now is the time to visit by car. Next year you will have to hike up!
PS It is with such a sigh of relief we all quickly re embrace the original classic names for iconic places like Ahwahnee, Wawona, Curry Village, etc. See what it cost the Park Service on my Brighter Naming blog.