How to Visit Yosemite National Park Like an Artist

The Sequoia Tourism Council encourages tourists visit the Scenic Mountain Loop, Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, for a long three-day weekend. Each park has its own interest. Those who love huge granite cliffs, and many water features might start with Yosemite. Tree lovers should start in Tulare County at Sequoia Park, the home of the biggest trees in the world.

How to Avoid the Crowds at Yosemite

The short answer is that during a great year like 2017, you probably can’t avoid crowds completely. To beat hoards of people, this last week of May is about the perfect time you will find to visit Yosemite until school is out.

HURRY!

Sign up for my Traveling and Blogging Mailing List by June 1 to enter sweepstakes to win a free travel book.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
Linda is an artist and Bob is a farmer.

Meet Linda Hengst and her husband Bob. Linda paints with oil, water-color, acrylics, using brushes, knives, on canvas and buildings. You name it. She just finished a new mural in Exeter, CA, famous for its beautiful murals.

Bob told me at one of her art shows, “If you love to paint, you have to paint. You can’t help yourself.” Bob is her life-long admirer and supporter.

Linda gets her ideas from nature, primarily from photographs.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
Bridal Veil Falls Scenic Lookout

When Linda invited me to go along with her on a photo shoot to find pictures to paint in Yosemite, I jumped at the chance. Getting to photograph a beautiful place is incentive enough, but to get inside the thinking of an artist – better still!

Native Californians, Linda and Bob, wanted to visit Yosemite on a weekday before school let out to take photographs. Does this make her an introverted artist like many are? Nah! She knew how few parking spaces there were in Yosemite! Poor Bob!

Having near record rainfalls this spring promises great pictures of the many falls in Yosemite. Crowds will follow. Below you can see the record rains of 1997.

The day we went it was about 75 degrees and sunny. Bob couldn’t find a parking spot in the scenic parking areas on either side of the road as we emerged from the long tunnel into our first view of Bridal Veil Falls.

The car was barely stopped when Linda popped out, confident that Bob would find a spot to park or pick her up. She began taking pictures immediately. At first, I waited in the back seat as Bob patiently pulled as far off the road as he could. As we sat waiting for a parking place, I shot pictures from the car. I loved the frame it created. It almost seemed that I was watching the scene on TV.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
Great photographers are advised to get out of the car to take their shots. They might miss this!

Settling into the Yosemite Valley Floor

Five minutes into our arrival Linda wanted to hike up to photograph Bridal Veil Falls with frigid water pounding over the granite cliffs misting her jacket, face and perfect hair. Bob did not want to do that. Linda brought extra clothes, a heavy raincoat, and pairs of shoes. She packed like a grandma, but had the enthusiasm of a second-grader.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
It looked like fun. I hope this guy packed like Linda.

Umm, getting to the trail meant wading. I don’t want all of you think I am a naysayer, but there is not a good way look like the heroine of this story. Without a willing partner, Linda opted regretfully out of hiking up for a Bridal Veil shower.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
“Stand here, Marsha,” Linda insisted “This is the best shot.”

Instead we took lots of shots of the falls from along the road. I tended to get caught up in details like a tree buds.

Yosemite National Park May 2017 Linda looked for the bigger picture. When I followed her advice, I got some exquisite shots.

Yosemite National Park May 2017
Wasn’t that worth it?

Trees made the perfect frame for the engorged falls. I would have been happier with a bluer sky, but as a painter, Linda could change that.

In Search of Dogwood Trees

Linda got very excited to see the dogwoods blooming. She wanted Bob to pull the car over every time she saw one. Bob pulled safely off the road often so she could take a picture.We probably saw 500 dogwood trees, not counting reflections.

Yosemite National Park May 2017She wanted me to stand up while the car was moving and take pictures of dogwood trees out of the sun roof. She stuck her miniature digital camera through the hole in the roof and clicked. Some of her pictures came out. I stayed securely imprisoned in my backseat seatbelt during the trip, Highway Patrol Person and Carol Sherritt.

Dogwood Trees Frame the Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite National Park May 2017

After about two hours of photo snapping, Bob calmly announced he could eat something. We headed towards the Ahwahnee Hotel, temporarily renamed the Majestic Yosemite. Bob checked out the dining room while we checked the ladies’ rest rooms for signs on the insides of the doors. Unlike in Australia, the doors had no signs. Very boring.

The hour and forty minute wait to order lunch did not appeal to any of us. So we ate outside to enjoy this view of the 1927 historic hotel. I took about an hour and forty minutes to get our tomato-basil soup and grilled cheese sandwich, but the wait could not have been more pleasant. We rated the food and service at about a B-.

Ahwahnee Hotel History

Yosemite National Park May 2017Beginning in 1925, the designer of the Bryce and Zion Canyon lodges, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, designed the massive 150,000 square foot hotel. Created entirely from materials not found in the protected park, trucks hauled in 1,000 tons of steel, 5,000 tons of stone, and 30,000 board feet of timber. Although James L. McLaughlin quoted the park a cost of $525,000 to build the first-class hotel, the last price tag came in at $1,250,000 in 1927 dollars or $17,050,282 today.

The hotel served as a Navy rest and relaxation hospital for naval personnel during World War II. Three hundred fifty men slept in the Great Lounge. Nearly 7,000 patients with over 90,000 service men and women coming to rest and relax.

After lunch, we followed the river on a short path to admire all the dogwood trees in bloom.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

Hiking Along the Merced River

While Bob may have napped in the car after lunch, Linda wanted to do one more hike to a bridge she remembered that had a perfect view of Yosemite Falls. We started off in that direction, her walking sticks clicking on the rocks against the clamor of the Merced River racing along in the opposite direction. We both stopped often to listen and take pictures. No one dared to photo bomb us and chance falling into the icy creek that rushed away on its watery journey.

Some hikers coming the opposite direction informed us that the bridge from which Linda wanted to take pictures of Yosemite Falls was not as close as she had hoped. They suggested we go forward another few minutes and look backward.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

I took a picture every few feet to make sure I did not miss the perfect shot.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

After we were sure we had the best pictures we could capture, we headed back to Bob. Linda made him walk the next trail, which was a short one with views of three falls, if you aimed correctly. Can you find them all?

Yosemite National Park May 2017

Linda, the most creative of the three of us, found a playmate.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

I thought Pock Mark was cute too, and I found him an extra eye that Linda did not like. Pock looked like he was eating a snake or maybe a giant rat.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

I wasn’t going to try to get it away from him!

The meadows retained some of the January rains. I wanted a reflection of the mountains. If you look carefully you can see the reflection of the falls on the lower left right by my name.

Yosemite National Park May 2017Some of the views defied my ability to come up with enough words to describe them. Grandeur and awe-inspiring sound trite, but what words would you use? Some people do not like to get people in their photographs, but my dad, a professional photographer in his retirement years, gave advice I try to always follow at least in one photo.

“When you take landscapes, you need something to show perspective. Always take a picture of someone wearing red.” Dad told me.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

Wherever the falls plummeted from the mountains we heard the intense power of the water crashing down the rocks even from a great distance.

Yosemite National Park May 2017

In places it looked like the water forced its way out of the tiny holes in the rocks.

Summary

Yosemite National Park May 2017

By the end of the day Linda was still revved. She did not want to leave.

“Oh look at the cute cap on Half Dome.”

I turned from heading toward the car where Bob waited to find her taking this shot. I hurried to take it, too, before the cap decided to move on.

At some point, Linda will create amazing paintings. As she clicked and chatted, I appreciated her enthusiastic search for the perfect photo spots, playfulness, inquisitiveness, and her eye for great photos.

If you don’t go to Yosemite with a Linda in your group, don’t despair. Great art awaits you at every turn. Just point and shoot.

Related Posts

A Drive to Sequoia National Park Views on the way to the park

Art Studios Come in All Shapes and Sizes See where Linda does her work.

Local Artist Renews Some of Linda’s artwork

What Can You Do On a Saturday Night in Woodlake? Views of the Woodlake Botanical Gardens, famous world-wide. The spring event, the Berry Festival, is scheduled May 27, 2017.

A Must See Oddball Shop Sightseeing along the way to Sequoia National Park

Related Products

We needed these to get to the trail! This would be handy, girls! It’s a best seller!

Water Filtration system – another best seller for hikers This backpack includes a rain cover!
Better Nature Photography Equipment This is cool. The secret is the top that unscrews to reveal a threaded head-a perfect home to steady your camera while you get that award-winning nature shot. I’d probably stay in the car, but a great photographer would not. This is for the greats! Be ready for wet weather.

How Cruz-TA-Welding Kept Us Law Abiding in 2017

Thanks, Cruz-TA-Welding!

Early on April 29th, Vince opened the gate to mow the back yard. A routine event for a Saturday morning, but the hinge on the 100-pound rebar iron gate broke. The gate crashed to the ground. BAM!

Luckily neither the cats nor Puppy Girl was going through the posts of the gate at that time. Vince stepped back in time, too.

Well, not literally in time. It was still 2017.

Now We’re Breaking the Law!

The weather in California has been up and down this spring. One day it’s 100 degrees and two days later it’s 65 degrees. Nonetheless, kids had already texted us to come swimming. Our gate is locked because that’s the law, and besides, we don’t want kids swimming unsupervised.

The back yard 1Vince panicked. Who would come to fix it? He remembered a sign for a business down the street. Cruz-Ta-Welding, so he drove down to the shop. Juan Cruz greeted him, and Vince shared his sad story.

Juan said, “Sit down. I’ll finish my breakfast, and follow you back to your house.”

Cruz-TA-Welding
Within 15 minutes they arrived.

Minutes later he and another welder drove up, and within 1/2 hour they finished. Amazing service, wouldn’t you say?

Cruz-TA-Welding
Juan Cruz, owner

Juan Cruz loves the United States. He came to California from Mexico thirty years ago. He’s been in business in Woodlake for sixteen years and has six employees.

Cruz-TA-Welding
ZAP!

“I love it here,” he told us. “I love the system. If you work hard, you will grow. I don’t believe people can’t find a job. I’ve worked hard. Picking pears is the hardest. They are so heavy. Picking grapes is hard too.”

Cruz-TA-WeldingWhat’s the hardest job he’s ever had as a welder?

“We moved an entire factory from Visalia to Iowa. We had to dismantle all the equipment and put it back together in Iowa.”

Cruz-TA-Welding did a great job for us, and he serves the community as well. We opened the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum a year ago. Cruz-TA-Welding donated all the labor to fence the building.

Cruz-TA-Welding
Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, opened February 2016

Thanks for all you do for Woodlake, California, Cruz-TA-Welding.

If you live in this area and need a welder, we recommend him, and so does the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce.

Woodlake Related Posts

What’s So Great About Woodlake, CA?

Woodlake, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, only 40 minutes from the Sequoia National Park, takes pride in its little town. Founded in 1912, today it is the smallest incorporated town in Tulare County. Residents primarily work in agriculture where the average annual income is $32,559, half of California’s median. Even so, a few years ago Woodlake High School Foundation was recognized as giving out more in scholarships than any community its size in the United States.

More data on Woodlake.

You Can Help Woodlake Thrive

  1. Support the Woodlake High School Foundation with the purchase of Images of America Woodlake. You can buy it directly from the high school and 50% of the purchase price go to the Foundation (100% of the profits).
    Click to order. 
  2. You can support the business community and join the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.
  3. Support this website, Traveling and Blogging Near and Far and Always Write. I have started a Blogging and Virtual Assistant Training Program at the High School. At the end of the 20 hours, I either need to hire the students or let them go. So far my blogs have not produced any income. But with the help of my student assistants, I’m hoping we will. I’m going to use 100% of the income to invest in their future.
  4. Enter the Traveling and Blogging Near and Far sweepstakes to get a free book.

Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Featured Guest Blogger K.L. Allendoerfer

K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Painted Ladies

Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.

Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.

In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).

To read the rest of the article click the link: Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies. Thank you, K. L. Allendoerfer for allowing me to publish your post.

For more of Norm’s 2.0 posts on Doors click the link.

For additional Photo Challenges, click the link.

How to Bury Your Head in the Sand

#NaBloPoMo Day 27, Cee’s Oddball Challenge

Ignore the Nagging Question, “Why Bury Your Head in the Sand!”

At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes, she actually dug a hole and thrust her head inside and stayed there.

Her mom said, “Oh, she does this ALL the time!”

OK, but isn’t that unhealthy. I’ve heard of not breathing bad air, but bad sand?

But the reality is…

Avial Beach beckoned
Avial Beach beckoned

Kalev was disturbed by the digging.

“She looks like me, Dad. I don’t want sand in my nose! Do I HAVE to do that, too?”

head-in-sand101

Nonetheless, the digging continued.

Hard at work
Hard at work

Sandy Nose did not seem to mind that I took her picture.

The disturbing task finished.
The disturbing task finished.

It must smell fishy, clammy, or something delicious.

Did you catch that?
Did you catch that? Should I take a bow?

Yep, she really did it, and she wanted to know that we were watching her.

The final pose
The final pose

Sandy Nose looked at me for one final pose before she moved on to her next antic.

Dogs may be off leash at Avila Beach before 10:00 am and after 5:00 pm daily.

To make these pictures and my two short video clips into a video I used iMovie and Free Music Archive.

My friend Darlene and I walked the main street in Sedona this morning on our girl’s week out vacation. OH NO!

sculpture-in-sedona-130

For more Oddball pictures, See Cee’s Oddball Challenge.

Cee's OddBall

What Opportunities Do Small Town High Schools Offer Students?

#NaBloPoMo Day 18

Opportunities Abound in Woodlake, CA

You think nothing happens in a small town? Think again! Living in a small town is amazing.

Coronation of Miss Woodlake November 13, 2016
Coronation of Miss Woodlake November 13, 2016 L to R Evelyn Vasquez, Crystal Zaragoza, Lizette Castillo, Alexis Brogan, Odalis Arteaga

In addition to attending classes, playing in sports, home and church activities, these young women have taken time to learn new skills that qualify them to compete for the title of Miss Woodlake.

Ms. Vasquez was the first to wow the audience with her version of “Salt and Light.” She sounds like the next American Idol to me. What do you think?

“Salt & Light”

Oh the beauty of our King
You make righteous those who seek
You have written and redeemed my story

Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are
For You are salt and light…
“Salt & Light” by Lauren Daigle

Our new queen and her partner danced a traditional Mexican folklorico dance for us on a very small stage.

Alexis Brogan, the first runner-up to Miss Woodlake recited a poem illustrating her faith in God. Would she be considered the First Princess?

The audience gasped as Odalis Arteaga threw her father to the floor several times displaying her Tiquando ability. She amazed us when she broke a piece of lumber with a kick and a mini-chalkboard with her arm.

Technical difficulties marred the filming of this next contestant. Unfortunately, after the technical difficulties, I forgot to press the record button again. I apologize to Woodlake High School senior, Crystal Zaragoza.

Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, these five young women, mentored by Claudia Cabrera, will become an part of every aspect of the community. They ride in parades, take part in ribbon cutting ceremonies for new businesses and buildings, sell raffle tickets, and attend monthly Chamber of Commerce Board meetings.

Odalis checks in with Claudia to find out where to help out.
Odalis checks in with Claudia to find out where to help out.

All the service organizations in Woodlake sponsor events, and the court will help out with Lion’s Club and other organizations’ Rodeo Week activities, Kiwanis’ July Third Blast, and Woodlake Chamber’s July Car Show in the Park, to name a few.

2014-2015 Queen, Miss Sayge Davis helped emcee the coronation ceremony.
2014-2015 Queen, Miss Sayge Davis helped emcee the coronation ceremony.

Sometimes I felt badly for last year’s Queen because we worked her so hard, but when Sonni Hacobian crowned Lizette Castillo, she cried as she shared it was the best opportunity she had.

L to R Sayge Davis, Lizette Castillo, Sonni Hacobian
L to R Sayge Davis, Lizette Castillo, Sonni Hacobian

Summary

A beauty pageant displays and requires much more than beauty from its contestants.

  1. Participants work hard, donate much time to the community, and work as team members.
  2. They practice and hone their skills in addition to maintaining good grades in school.
  3. They represent the town of Woodlake for a year in events across the county.
  4. They attend meetings and assist in events doing whatever tasks are assigned to them.
  5. They participate in sports, music, drama, leadership conferences, FFA, Key and Interact Clubs at school providing leadership there.
  6. They are usually active in church or community work

Opportunities abound in a small town. Forgive me as I excuse myself to interview juniors who hope to attend the HOBY Leadership Conference in the spring.

Thanks to Claudia Cabrera and her mom who offers moral support.
Thanks to Claudia Cabrera and her mom who offers moral support.

Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce thanks Claudia Cabrera and all the Woodlake High School seniors who participated in this event. We are so proud of all of you.

If you loved this post, please share it as a thank you to the five talented young women who participated in the pageant, and their mentor, Claudia Cabrera.