National Park Ranger: An American Icon

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Dinner on day 3 is on your own in Yosemite National Park. Make reservations by calling Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. We will alert you as quickly as possible in the event of itinerary changes. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration.

The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own.

An American Icon

The walk into El Capitan Meadow is on a dirt path in a flat meadow and the distance is about feet. Yosemite is one of America's most beautiful and most visited national parks. For the first time in history, Congress set land aside for the preservation and recreation for all people, and the national park concept was born. There will be one rest stop en route in California's Central Valley. This hotel opened in and is a major attraction for Yosemite visitors. Its dining room has a foot-high beamed ceiling, large sugar pine trestles, granite pillars, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The first stop is El Capitan Meadow.

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Rising more than 3, feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest granite monolith in the world. The first ascent on El Capitan was made by Warren Harding in and records continue to be broken with Alex Honnold free soloing the rock in Our second stop is Bridalveil Fall for a walk to the base of the falls.

Our last stop takes us to Sentinel Bridge with a classic view of Half Dome framed by pine trees. We will check-in to our hotel after our exploration of the Yosemite Valley floor. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions or you could use the suggestions listed in your program folder.

There are many opportunities to enjoy the park after dark on your own. The hike into Mariposa Grove is about 2- 3 miles roundtrip on a wooden boardwalk. The Lower Yosemite Fall Trail is a 1 mile loop on a paved path. Giant sequoias are perhaps the largest living things on Earth and may exceed 3, years in age. Reopened on June 15, , the Mariposa Grove restoration project aimed to restore the grove's dynamic ecology and increase the grove's resilience. Many visitors from around the world are eager to visit the beloved grove of trees that was closed for three years.

Be prepared to share your experience with other arboreal enthusiasts who may be craning their necks to see the sequoias for the first time. Your patience with the crowds and new infrastructure is appreciated. Keep an eye out for the sequoia saplings that have taken root with the absence of people. The bus driver will park the bus near the shuttle stop at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center where restrooms are located. The group will board the National Park Service bus that will take the group into the grove and to the start of the wooden boardwalk to see the sequoia trees.

Our naturalist will guide us through the grove and explain giant sequoia ecology and our connection with these large trees. If you do not eat fish, please indicate that information under food intolerances when you register. This renowned scenic overlook offers some of the most iconic views of the park including Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Half Dome, and the broad expanses of Yosemite Valley — an outstanding photo opportunity. After we return to Yosemite Valley Lodge, join our naturalist for a walk to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall on a paved path with a slight incline.

The path is 1 mile round trip. If the water levels are high in the valley, be prepared for a large spray at the base of the fall which could leave you drenched and walkways slick. This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Additional opportunities may be available depending on local conditions at the time of the program; the Group Leader will discuss prior to the field trip. Our on-board instructor will provide a narrative that touches on many aspects of the natural and human history along Tioga Pass Road to Olmstead Point, Tenaya Lake, and Tuolumne Meadows.

Tioga Pass Road offers a mile scenic drive between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows through forests, meadows, lakes, and granite domes.

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The road is one of the few roads that pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the eastern side into Owens Valley. It started as a dirt road in and was slowly paved and widened over the years. It was fully completed by the s with the rise in car sales and families taking road trips to the national parks. Olmsted Point looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east--and from a very different angle. Tuolumne Meadows is a large, open sub-alpine meadow graced by the winding Tuolumne River and surrounded by majestic peaks and domes. It is a lush meadow surround by lodgepole forest at 8, feet in elevation.

Hear about her journey hiking the mile trail through Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

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