Posted by: martinworster | May 16, 2009


_DSC0012I wandered lonely as a cloud (except I wasn’t really lonely as I was with my family so I supposed we wandered together like four Simpson-esque cumulo nimbus clouds) around Yosemite Valley and wondered what the Romantic poets would have made of it all. If they were that inspired by the nature and mountains in the Lake District you can only – okay over use of the word – wonder what sort of orgasmic poems they would have produced here. I was overawed by the sublime – an overwhelming feeling at the transformative power of nature, nothing could surpass what lay in front of me. Now I wonder…or is that wander?


Yosemite is every Geography A Level students wet dream – glacial erosion features confront you at every turn. Beaded eskers, roche moutonees, ceracs, nunataks, terminal morraine, rocky outrcops, crags, nooks, meadows and vales. The first glimpse of the valley is simply stunning. On one side El Capitain rears up, allegedly the world’s tallest lump of monolithic granite with Yosemite falls in the background. On the other side Half Dome stands pround, foreshadowed by Bridal Vail falls. From every different vantage point in the valley these features are visible and change in light and character depending on where you are and the time of day. Perhaps an obvious fact, but one that Ansell Adams spent a liftetime documenting in photos, a pictoral Wordsworth of the valley.


On the first day we hiked Vernal and Nevada Falls at one end of the valley. We carried Tristan and Oliver in backpacks and it was a demanding walk considering we hadn’t probably climatised to the altitude. The walk starts at Curry Village – on first seeing this name on the map I was quite excited, thinking it was a kind of Brick Lane of the High Sierras, only to find out it was named after the founders. No vindaloos or vegetable Dansaks on this trip –  thankfully for whoever was trailing behind on the hike the day after.


The valley is very well organised. A lot of the trails are concreted and there is an efficient bus service. At first I found the whole ‘hyper organised’ system a bit disconcerting, like an arcadian theme park – but then when you realise 3 million people come to the valley ever year, you understand why the environmental impact has to be managed like this. It doesn’t take much to get away from it – helped by visiting in a less busy Spring when the waterfalls are bursting with snow melt. We saw deer and even a young brown bear we managed to track from the road which was like hitting the jackpot.



  1. SOOO enjoyed reading this!

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