Some highlights of the trip, with a few photos:
Tuesday we drove to Yosemite, checked in to the condo we were staying in, and wandered over to the pair of adjacent houses where some 18-odd other members of Daniel's extended family were staying. We had dinner and got caught up on what all the cousins are up to.
On Wednesday, Daniel and I hiked up the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada falls, and then hiked back down the John Muir trail to the Valley floor. It's a beautiful hike - you go up a set of stone stairs beside Vernal falls (where you get thoroughly soaked), and you get stunning views from the top of each waterfall. It's also fairly strenuous - I found the last 15 minutes of the climb to Nevada falls pretty painful, although it was well worth it (especially since everything after that was downhill.)
Here's a photo from the bridge near the bottom of Vernal falls:
This is Vernal falls:
The next day, I went down to Mariposa Grove and hiked with my nephews and their parents and grandparents. Younger nephew was unimpressed by giant sequoias but deeply enthralled by mud puddles. We didn't cover a whole lot of ground, but it was fun.
Having been charged by my personal trainer not to let my strength training go completely dormant while on vacation, I dutifully did lunges and squats on the deck of our condo on Friday morning, while being watched by two thoroughly perplexed coyotes.
Then we went to Mirror Lake, which is probably my favorite easy hike in Yosemite. Unfortunately, it's everyone else's favorite easy hike in Yosemite, too. I remarked to Daniel that if we were morning people, it would be a great spot to come for a sunrise picnic, when you might actually get to enjoy it in relative solitude. I learned from one of the signs on the trail that the Ahwaneechee name for Half Dome translates as "Woman who was turned to stone." I really want to know the story behind that name.
After that, we hiked over to the Ahwahnee hotel and had lunch. (Yeah, we know how to rough it.) And then went to lower Yosemite falls, where the wind was whipping the spray out with such force that it was difficult to look directly at the falls. On the way back down, I got a nice shot of the upper and lower Yosemite falls from a spot where John Muir used to have a cabin:
Saturday, we wandered around Mariposa Grove a bit more, and took a long nap. It was that kind of day.
All in all it was a great trip. I was especially thrilled to get to see so many waterfalls - all my previous visits to Yosemite have been during particularly dry periods, and the falls were pretty unimpressive. This trip more than made up for that.