Yosemite National Park

  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite, in Northern California, is one of the original three national parks that existed in the US. It is an area of immense natural beauty, including massive granite cliffs, luscious sweeping valleys of rich vegetation, sequoia trees and even wild black bears. The dramatic landscape has been formed over millions of years by volcanic activity allowing the granite to inflate and swell, only to be carved away by glaciers flowing through the valley. The iconic Half Dome (as seen on Apple desktops worldwide) is a prime example of this geology, and the amazing nature attracts millions of visitors every year. Since 1984, it has been recognised as a world heritage site.

While most visitors will merely rock up to the view points in this national park, just to take a few photos and admire the view, there are a number of ways you can scratch just below the surface to have a more genuine experience. This is very much subject to which time of year you decide to visit and what physical activities you are interested in.
Between mid December and March there are several winter trails available. You can navigate these with your skis and snowboards or snowshoes depending on the snowfall and which routes you decide to take. Normally there isn't enough snow to support skiing and snowboarding, but if you're lucky, you will get to experience the national park in ways that very few get the chance to. Yosemite is actually home to the oldest downhill skiing area in California, and lessons, rentals, lift tickets, tubing an sledding are all available in the national park. You can refer to the national park website (https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wintersports.htm) for more details.
If you visit in summer, there is no need to lament because there are a number of amateur astronomy clubs that observe the night sky from the Glacier Point Amphitheater, endorsed by the National park Service. Where Yosemite is so far away from the nearest city lights, when the clouds give way to what lies beyond, Yosemite offers some very clear, and some very awe inspiring skies. All along Glacier Point, especially on Saturdays, people set up telescopes to watch what is happening light years away from us. Bring along a star chart and spend a few hours inventing your own constellations and wondering what else could lie beyond our atmosphere. Astronomy walks also occur in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona.
For those interested in Art and Photography, as Yosemite is such an amazing place that offers endless inspiration to those who try to capture it, there are art classes offered in Spring through to Fall in the Yosemite Art centre which is situated near the village store. There is Museum Gallery which exhibits work during Spring and summer, and which also offers photography walks, workshops and classes throughout the year.
However you choose to experience Yosemite, it is worth a quick visit to the national park website to understand what is available when you go. If nothing else, you will experience an area of unimaginably amazing scenery and a point of essential history to the beginnings of the national park service in the US.

 

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