Monday, January 23, 2023

Winter in Yosemite


By the end of this week, my daughter will come to visit for three weeks. I can't put in words you how very excited I am. As you can imagine I have a ton of things to do before that, so I will write only one blogpost this week and share it to the blogs of Bleubeard and Elizabeth, Rain and Nicole. Most probably I won't be much in blogland until well into the second half of February because I would like to make the most of the limited time with Kaefer.

Today I'm taking you to Yosemite, the place we like to call "the national park in our backyard". When Kaefer was little, we used to spend every MLK-weekend in Yosemite. It is around my birthday and I didn't want to get any gifts, just a weekend in the snow and some wonderful nature. We have visited Yosemite in every season, but winter remains my favorite time there.

Be warned: This is a VERY photo-heavy post! These photos were taken over several years and some of them were still made using film.

There are three landmarks that make Yosemite famous. One - and maybe the best known - is Half Dome. It is popular to hike up on top of Half Dome - every summer, cables are put up that make it possible getting up onto the granite dome. You actually need a permit for that and if you're not leaving really early, you will be stuck in a "cable jam" at the foot of the cables that you reach after an already long and exhausting hike. I have never done it - I prefer to keep some mystery about this beautiful huge rock.

The second landmark that is extremely popular with climbers all over the world is El Capitan, a sheer wall of granite that goes straight up. Almost always you can see some figures hanging in the wall, trying to scale it. Maybe some of you have seen the movie "Free Solo"? If not, here is the trailer with some impressive images of El Capitan. The movie itself is very worth watching.

Then there are the many waterfalls - landmark no. 3 - of which Yosemite Falls is the most popular one. With a total of 2,425 feet (739 m) it is the tallest waterfall in the continental US. It has three drops: Upper Yosemite Fall, Middle Cascades and Lower Yosemite Fall. In the following picture you can see Upper Yosemite Fall with its huge cone of ice and snow at the bottom of the upper tier. In the winter, sheets of ice break off the rock wall during the day and you can hear the loud boom throughout the entire valley.

In the winter, you are only able to visit Yosemite Valley (and Badger Pass for skiing), whereas the High Country is not accessible because snow closes Tioga Road that leads through the High Country. That part of Yosemite you can only visit from late spring to the middle of autumn. We once camped in the High Country in the middle of October and we ended up camping in the first snow of the season. Tent camping, by the way.

So we spent winters in the valley. I always loved the almost magical winter mood there, walking across the snowy meadows and listening to the booms of the ice sheets from Yosemite Falls.

Early mornings when the sun hasn't climbed high enough to reach into the valley provided some wonderful sights.

The white trees against the dark rock on the shady side created their own special magic.

The snow sparkled and there were so many beautiful ice crystals to admire. You just had to open your eyes and look for them. They were everywhere.

Little treasures were found in the snow.

I loved the snow caps on branches, wood and especially on the rocks in the Merced River.

There were beautiful reflections in the river - the Merced River can be pretty wild, especially in the spring, but in the winter I have often seen it very calm.

This little girl was extremely excited about the snow. We always brought her wooden sled with us (that we had bought in Germany when she was still a baby) and she enjoyed sledding down the hills so very much! I share this with Nicole's Friday Face Off.

When evening came, people gathered on Sentinel Bridge to take pictures of the setting sun on the face of Half Dome with the reflection in the Merced River. Later, the full moon would climb up in the sky.

Of course there is quite some wildlife in Yosemite. The Yosemite Black Bears seem to be the smartest of them all. Not only are there bear-proof trash bins and food lockers everywhere, you are also not allowed to leave any kind of food or smelly stuff like toothpaste in your car. If you do, you pay a heavy price since these bears know how to break into cars and you get fined by the National Park on top of it. Even the smallest candy wrapper can be "smelled out" by the bears. If you want to leave your car in a parking lot and leave for a hike, you need to store your food in the food lockers provided at every parking lot. We sometimes saw bears strolling through campsites in bright daylight, looking for food and trying to get into trash cans (that they haven't figured out - yet). The deer are plentiful and not shy, neither are the ravens of which there are a lot (if I'm not mistaken - I hope David doesn't tell me that this is not a raven, that would be such a disappointment), and of course I have a deep love for the coyotes. If I have something like a spirit animal, it would definitely be the coyote.

All of this is even more beautiful because I was able to experience it with these two people. Can you see the pink scarf around Kaefer's neck? Rain's prompt is scarves this week!

Without any more words from me, here are a few more atmospheric images of Yosemite:

Since I mentioned that I'm sharing this with Bleubeard and Elizabeth, I need a drink for T Tuesday - for me, the best drink in winter is hot chocolate. If it has whipped cream on top, even better. And look at my new cat mug!

For Rain's Thursday Art and Dinner Date I'm sharing a recent dinner I cooked - fusilli pasta with Italian sausage, carrots and fennel. I didn't use a specific recipe for this - just browned the meat, sautéed the carrots and fennel with some herbs, and then threw it all together. It was delicious and the leftovers will be turned into a different dinner.

I leave you with the famous Tunnel View over Yosemite Valley at sunset.



My name is Erika. said...

Yosemite is the first national park I managed to take my husband to. We were visiting his family friends in San Francisco and I want to go to Y. He complained the whole drive out there, but when we arrived, he was speechless. That did it. He is now a National Park convert. (And I converted him on 1986 so we’ve visited lots of parks). You have some wonder photos. I love the one of your daughter when she was little. And nice new mug too. I hope you have a wonderful T day and visit with your daughter. I’d be excited too. Hugs Erika

Mae Travels said...

Your images of Yosemite are beautiful. I first saw it many years ago with my parents and sister and brother, and we were deeply impressed. I've been back but not for a long time, and I am afraid to ruin my beautiful memories in the current situation of overcrowding and changes to the environment. Your photos kindled these memories again. Thank you.

best... mae at

kathyinozarks said...

Enjoy time with your daughter when she arrives.
I Loved your post today and thank you for sharing these lovely photos. This is a park I would have loved to visit. I got to go to Yellowstone with a friend a few years back and I so loved the area. I wish my husband was healthier so we could visit some of our national parks. and Missouri is a beautiful state too with many state parks.
I love your mug Happy T Kathy

Iris Flavia said...

Imposante und süße Bilder.
Fenchel... interessante Idee! Und das sind Ingo´s Lieblingsnudeln.
Ich glaube, das probier ich mal :-)
Genieß die Familienzeit mit Kaefer!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You have some incredible shots of Yosemite. Unlike most T participants, I have never been, so your photos are even more special and beautiful. I couldn't get over that waterfall. I suspect Kaefer will want to visit while she is in the states. I can tell how excited you are to see her again. Needless to say, once you are back online, we expect a TON of photos.

The photo of Kaefer as a child and your husband is fabulous. Great photo for Rain's TADD. She is also so precious for Nicole's FFO.

You are making me hungry with your pasta dish. All I've had today are a few crackers.

That new mug is so incredibly sweet and your hot chocolate looks SO wonderful in that mug, too. In addition, I LOVE that photo of the two of you with cameras to your faces. Thanks fr sharing Yosemite, your new mug, and hot chocolate with us for T this week, dear Carola.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you so much for this photo heavy post. Absolutely beautiful, each and every one.
Have a truly wonderful time with your family. The light will be on when you are ready to return.

Amila said...

These winter photos from Yosemite are wonderful and I had a great time going through this post. The hot chocolate looks delicious and I like the mug too.
Thanks for this photo tour.
Have a great T day!

Valerie-Jael said...

Hi Carola, thanks for sharing these wonderful photos, wow! I would like to visit there one day. Lovely family photos and food, too! And i LOVE that catty cup! Happy T Day, Hugs, Valerie

roentare said...

Truly a paradise through your lens. So wonderful to be there photographing the beauty

David M. Gascoigne, said...

What a glorious place, Carola. The birds are indeed Ravens and we too enjoyed them so much this past weekend visiting my daughter in Ottawa. We went on a quest for owls and the Ravens were our constant companions the whole time. I know how excited you must be having Kaefer visit. Make the most of every minute with her and forget about blogging for the time being. We will all be here when you return. As for the Coyote being your spirit animal, what a fine connection that is - an animal that is wild, smart, resourceful, intelligent and beautiful. Describes you to a tee, Carola. Hugs - David

Lisca said...

WoW! What an amazingly beautiful set of photos! The park is beautiful and you are a good photographer. I have never been to Yosemite. And I can believe you when you say it is at its most beautiful in winter. But I got a bit cold just looking at the photos, lol.
The pasta dish looks yummy as does your mug of hot chocolate. Nice mug by the way.
Happy T-Day,

Kate Yetter said...

Yosemite certainly is stunning! I loved seeing the various lighting. The sparkling snow was a favorite. And what lovely photos of your daughter as a little girl...such a treasure!
Happy Tea Day,

Divers and Sundry said...

Great photos! Such beautiful scenes...

That pasta dish looks tasty, and the hot chocolate with whipped cream would be especially nice in that fun mug. Happy T Tuesday!

jinxxxygirl said...

You are so very lucky... and since you took pictures so am i! Happy T day! Hugs! deb

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Beautiful but cold looking.

CJ Kennedy said...

I've never been to Yosemite so I enjoyed the travelogue. Your pictures are stunning. Enjoy your time with your daughter. Happy T Day

Let's Art Journal said...

I love Yosemite, but have never been in the winter so I loved seeing your beautiful photos 😊. You captured the scenery so amazingly - perfect! Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

Sharon Madson said...

Oh, my goodness! Thank you for sharing your gorgous photos of Yosemite! Especially the one of the setting sun on the face of Half Dome with the reflection in the Merced River. Amazing. We wanted so bad to go there. But the one trip planned didn't work out. Your food looks delicious. I have never cooked with fennel, before, but otherwise sounds easy enough to make. Thanks for your fabulous post. Have a blessed time with your daughter, and happy birthday. Happy T Day.

Lorrie said...

What beautiful images of Yosemite in the winter! Gorgeous. Enjoy your time with your daughter!

Veronica Lee said...

Your photos of Yosemite are STUNNING, Carola.

Love the photos of your beautiful family too.

Hugs and blessings!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

First, Carola, belated Happy 🎂 Birthday wishes, an annual event I will also celebrate very shortly. I just read the previous post on how you spent the day and it looked wonderful. My own will be spent after the fact on a short getaway and meet-up with friends.

What great news that your daughter will be visiting for 3 weeks! Thank you so much for sharing the photos and memories of your visits to Yosemite as I have never visited this national park, but would love to after seeing your imagery. It is indeed a beautiful place and certainly worthy of revisits.

Jeanie said...

Probably 15 or 20 years ago I took my first (and only) visit to Yosemite. Oh, my! It's every bit as gorgeous as your photos. I was there in June, so I never saw the snow, but I did see those fabulous falls, eat at Ahwanee and also the more homey restaurant (can't remember the name but it was white) and took some lovely walks. It was ravishing and every one of your exquisite photos shows it to its very best.

Have a glorious time with your daughter. I hope you can return to Yosemite with Keifer. (Who was darling, by the way!)

Lowcarb team member said...

This is such a beautiful post.
Your photographs are stunning.

Enjoy time with your daughter when she arrives.

All the best Jan

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent series of Yosemite photos and little girl is so adorable and cute ~ Xo

Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Christine said...

beautiful photos including the ones for the challenges!

Gillena Cox said...

I luv pasta, so yummmmmm

Tom said...

...thanks for sharing these gorgeous images of this beautiful area. Take care and stay warm and well.

Valerie-Jael said...

Happy FFO etc! Hugs, Valerie

DVArtist said...

I am so excited for you to see your daughter. Thank you for including me and FFO in your blogging time while she is there. Your photos are simply stunning. I have been to Yosemti many many times and just seeing these photos brings back wonderful memeories. Thank you. Take lots of photos of you and your daughter, (I know you will) Have a very lovely day.

pam nash said...

Lovely lovely photos. My granddaughter spent a summer working there and loved every minute! said...

I visited Yosemite several years ago when the waterfalls were dry, so it is great to see photos of it in another season.

Fundy Blue said...

Carola, this is the most beautiful post I can remember seeing. I haven't been to Yosemite in a long time, and I have never been there in winter. I have never climbed Half Dome is, and now I know I never will. I'm scared of heights, but I'll steal your reasons for not doing it. I did see "Free Solo," and I've spent hours and hours watching climbers on El Captan's face. I'd be worried sick about rolling out of bed if I were camped overnight on that rock ~ lol! The photo of the snow with shadows and sparkles is breathtaking ~ so beautiful. Enjoy the time that your daughter is with you! Thanks for sharing all this beauty!

Guillermo Saúco said...

What a magical place indeed! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos.

Empire of the Cat said...

You have the most amazing photos Carola,but I got totally distracted by your new CAT MUG!!!!!! So sorry, RL got in the way, and I am terribly late. Happy T Day! Elle/EOTC xx

Rostrose said...

Liebe Carola, ich glaube dir gerne, dass du schon voller Vorfreude auf den Besuch deiner Tochter bist und in nächster Zeit etwas anderes zu tun hast als zu bloggen!
Danke für die wunderbaren Bilder von Yosemite. Dadurch, dass sie aus dem Winter stammen, entsteht für mich ein neuer Eindruck, aber zugleich werden hier auch für mich herrliche Erinnerungen geweckt. Wir waren vor etwas mehr als 10 Jahren Ende Oktober dort. Wasserfälle haben wir keine gesehen, Bären, Kojoten und Raben auch nicht, aber Hirsche, sehr nah ❤️
(Verrate mir bitte bei Gelegenheit, was das MLK-weekend ist.)
Danke dir auch sehr für deinen Tipp bezüglich der DB App. Gute Idee! Noch ist ja nichts fix, aber falls wir uns tatsächlich dafür entscheiden, diese Reise mit der Bahn zu machen, werden wir darauf zurückkommen.
Alles Liebe - und ich wünsche euch eine wundervolle Familienzeit, Traude

Rain said...

Carola, your Yosemite photos are stunning! The coyotes have been quite active here, we hear them howling quite often in the mornings. My animal spirit guide is Deer. We can learn so much from them. Oh that pasta!!! Love your whipped creamed hot chocolate in the cat mug, that's so cute!!! Enjoy your time with your daughter!! ♥♥

DVArtist said...

I had to take another look at your stunning photos. You have capture so much beauty. Have a nice day today

Fundy Blue said...

These gorgeous photos are well worth seeing again. Have a great weekend, Carola!

Orsolina said...

Wow, tolle Aufnahmen:

LG Biggi

Rostrose said...

Liebe Carola,
ich hoffe, es geht dir gut und ihr habt mit eurer Tochter eine wundervolle Zeit verbracht! Inzwischen sind die drei Wochen wohl schon (oder schon beinahe?) vorbei - möge der Trennungsschmerz nicht allzu groß sein!!!
Einen schönen restlichen Sonntag und eine gute neue Woche wünsch' ich dir,
alles Liebe, Traude