"By far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter" - John Muir

Yosemite National Park is really something else. If you haven't been there, I suggest you write it on your bucket list, asap. It is home to some of the tallest, grandest, most beautiful trees that I have ever seen - which stand alongside flowing rivers, gigantic, gushing waterfalls & spectacular mountains. We planned to camp 3 nights in the National Park, but first we had to get there. We drove our RV straight down from San Francisco, and I remember feeling so excited as we hit the open road again. Our time in the city wasn't really what we expected, and I think we all kind of yearned to be surrounded by the woods and the mountains once again (I know I did). We stopped just outside the entrance to the park to do a "quick" little hike. This quick hike ended up taking around 4 hours, but I'm going to say it was worth it to see the gigantic, ancient Sequoias (or California Redwoods). They stood so proudly and quietly in the grove and I'm glad I had my wide angle so I could fit them all in the frame. 

As we entered the park, we stopped and chatted with one of the rangers. In her office there were warning notices everywhere for bears, coyotes and mountain lions. We were definitely in the thick of it now... 

The drive down into Yosemite Valley was nothing short of spectacular. As we wound our way down the mountain the view out to our right was insane. It looked exactly like all of those photographs that I had admired before planning this trip. And when we finally entered the valley, I think all of our jaws dropped. There were monstrous mountains on either side of the road, both with mighty, flowing waterfalls plummeting hundreds of meters to the valley floor. We were finally in Yosemite. 

The next day we hopped on the Yosemite Valley Shuttle service to explore the park. One of my favourite places was Mirror Lake, situated directly between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the remnants of a large glacial lake that once filled most of Yosemite Valley. The beauty in this place is the incredible reflection that you can see when you look in the water - it's almost dream-like. 

"All is still; the little lake seems insignificant, but mark it's mirror-like smoothness. No French plate ever presented a better surface. Ever tree, nay ever leaf, is perfectly reproduced upon its bosom. Every rock with its moss-patches and its fissures is duplicated... You are face to face with the perpendicular side of Half Dome... You are dazzled; you close your eyes for the moment.. You pay your fifty cents toll, and go home" - Prof. FV Hayden, LLD 1880. 

We camped in the park for a couple of nights, alongside many other travellers. I am told Spring is the perfect time to visit Californian parks. You can avoid the summer rush (and expense) and enjoy watching the landscapes come to life again after the winter. Waterfalls gush with water from melting snow in the mountains, there are squirrels & rabbits scurrying about and everything feels alive. There is an abundance of life to photograph and explore. 

On our last night in Yosemite we sat up late by the campfire, playing cards, telling stories and toasting marshmallows. I took some time to photograph the (lucky) stars, and at the same time, thanked them for this wonderful adventure. 

Hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them. x

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travelKhara Deurhof