Our Visit to Yosemite National Park

Our first glimpse of Yosemite Valley (notice the view in the side mirror).

Upon leaving Sequoia, we drove a ways up to Yosemite to spend our remaining two days in the Park. Just as in Sequoia, we were greeted with more extensive road construction. Our first view into the valley area was accompanied with tractors and the road being completely removed to the dirt in preparation for repaving. We decided that this most certainly made a memory as most people don’t get to experience it in this way.

A gorgeous view of Half Dome in the distance.

When we got into the valley area, we were totally amazed by the amount of people in the park and the incredible amount of infrastructure present! It seemed everywhere you looked were more buildings. There were two story apartment buildings, restaurants, at least one grocery store as big as ours here in Townsend and massive semi-permanent tent cities in different locations. After passing a golf course earlier, in the Park itself, I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised at all of this. I suppose we were picturing a scene more conducive to the one that John Muir talked about and so enjoyed many years ago, not a metropolis, or at least what feels like one compared to Townsend.  After we finally found a parking spot, we walked for a bit on the “divided” walking path, making sure to not get hit by oncoming cyclists. The first real view of Half Dome was simply beautiful!

A very cute Squirrel having great fun with one of the large pine cones.

After walking around for a bit, taking photos, we decided to ride the shuttle to a different location and walked up to a lovely waterfall, where Wes was attacked by a swarm of Yellow Jackets on the way back.  Fortunately, only one was able to actually sting him, while the rest decided to just harass. I never knew Wes could “bust a move” like that, as he tried to get away from the onslaught of his vicious attackers! I guess you could say it made another memory! We later had a nice supper there in the Park and enjoyed watching the majestic scene of the mountains changing every minute as the sun started setting, taking as many photos as we could, of course. We then started our drive out for the night. Fortunately for us we were stopped for the 30 minutes road construction delay at a parking lot overlooking the valley setting, just before you enter a long tunnel. It was an absolutely beautiful display of colors and ever-changing shadows as the sun set. We sure felt bad for all of the people that were stuck in the dark tunnel for that half hour that didn’t quite make it in to see their sunset view.

The beginning of a gorgeous showing of the sunset on the surrounding mountains.

The next morning we started off by heading up towards Glacier Point. What a spectacular view it was from up there! You felt as if you could almost see forever as you looked across the rugged mountain ranges. Walking along the edge at the viewing area is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure! Earlier that morning we had stated that we would really like to see a Spruce Grouse, and amazingly enough as we walked back to the parking lot, there was a mother and her brood of  young Spruce Grouse! They were beautiful and very obliging to letting us photograph them for future miniature paintings. As I was about to get into the car before leaving, one of the young ones walked over and stood there for a minute looking at me as if to say “hi” and then slowly walked away.  A special encounter indeed!

Me making Wes nervous while standing on the tip of the "Pinnacle of Death".

On the way down from Glacier Point, we enjoyed a picnic lunch by a beautiful little meadow filled with wildflowers and several feathered visitors. We then resumed our drive to the Yosemite Valley area once again. With my coxing, we started hiking up to Vernal Falls, thinking we could see and photograph the beautiful falls, and perhaps get away from some of the crowd. Well, we did get to take photos of the falls, but get away from the crowds we did not. As a matter of fact, most of the time we had to hike single file as there was so many people on the trail, and once again, we found this completely amazing! The trail leading to the falls was really neat as it followed closely to the edge in many places and at a later point consisted of rough stones made to be steps, lots of steps!

Me in front of the beautiful Vernal Falls.
A precious little Chipmunk munching on a treat, on our way back from the falls.

The remainder of the day was just spent walking around taking photographs for future miniature landscape paintings. At one point while riding the shuttle bus, I was able to talk with a couple, one from Munich and the other from Australia, which had just spent the past 3 1/2 days climbing the face of El Capitan! It simply thrilled me to hear of all of the interesting details of their amazing journey and how things were done, like how he managed taking a 120 lb backpack containing their water and supplies up with him. Unfortunately, because of all of the people climbing, they spent a fair amount of their time waiting, thus using up their water and having to turn back before completely reaching the top. Learning to rock climb has always been a dream of mine, so imagine my sheer delight at this timely encounter!

Wes enjoys his supper in a beautiful surrounding.

We enjoyed another yummy supper in the park and then began our drive to Sacramento, for a very early flight out the next morning, while enjoying the beautiful and scenic views with the setting sun.  It was now time to go to the Birds in Art exhibit in Wisconsin!

Fresh off the easel:
I finished my self portrait miniature “The Pink Lace Dress”. I’ve decided that it’s not the easiest thing to do, to paint oneself. Wes finished his portrait miniature “Mountain Man Herb Herrick” this past week as well.

"The Pink Lace Dress" by Rachelle, measures 2 3/4 X 2 1/4 inches.
"Mountain Man Herb Herrick" by Wes, measures 3¼ x 3¼ inches.

Currently on the easels: Wes and I both are working on miniatures of the giant Sequoias. His miniature painting features himself quite tiny in the foreground, standing and looking at the awesome tree. Mine has a wee me hugging one of these great beauties! I’m excited that we should be able to finish painting them so I can share them with you next week.

We will be in Salina, KS at the beautiful Earl Bane Gallery at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure, this next Sunday, October 3rd. We will be giving art classes for children: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ages 5 to 10 and 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ages 11 to 14. Wes will then give a Powerpoint Presentation on the The History of Miniature Art at 4:00 p.m. in the Conference Center. Following will be a book signing of our publication The World of Nature in Miniature, followed by a Gallery Walk from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., to meet with the public and discuss our techniques, influences, and paintings in the exhibit. The Museum will be offering half-price admission to the general public during the evening to attend our exhibit and see the rest of the museum displays. So if you’re in the area, we’d love to meet you!

Until next time  ~   Rachelle 🙂

12 thoughts on “Our Visit to Yosemite National Park

    1. Hi Wendy,
      I had so much fun just watching that squirrel tearing apart and eating that pine cone, as it was pretty funny, and his speed at doing so was amazing! Yes, we did have a wonderful time, and thanks for the compliment on my portrait 🙂

  1. Rachelle, your self-portrait is a rare try and so elegant! The eyes are so pretty and spot-on too; it’s lovely, just as you are.

    Wes’s mountain man Herb is beautifully handled, with interesting details, and I like the idea of the hand-painted a gold rim around it.

    You have got such terrific photos to paint from your west coast trip, that I look forward to how you both interpret the sequoias.

    BTW, were you really as out on a tiny ledge as it appears in the ‘Pentacle of Death’? Details please! 🙂


    1. Hi Mona,
      Thank you for your kind compliments, from both of us! Wes’ inventive idea of the painted frame actually stemmed from him forgetting to order one, but I think it adds great interest. Yes, we’re very excited about all of the future miniatures just waiting to be painted! There’s too many beautiful images to choose from now!

      Yes, I really was on that narrow ledge, only it was about 15 ft off of the ground and a bit from the actual edge. Wes took the photo without showing the bottom of it, and we actually named it “Pentacle of Death” to add even more interest and excitement to it to the overall feeling of it! 🙂

      Rachelle 🙂

  2. Beautiful self portrait Rachelle, I wouldn’t now where to begin and I bet it isn’t easy, but yours is gorgeous and so is Wes’s Mountain Man – wonderful detail on the beard too!

    I was surprised to hear how busy Yosemite was, I always imagine those places virtually deserted…at least thats how they look on TV! A clever photo of you dicing with death on the ledge too 🙂

    1. Hi Tracy,
      Thank you from both of us for the compliments on the portrait miniatures! No, it definitely was not easy painting a self portrait, probably one of the most difficult to date! However, it did made for a nice challenge.

      We too were quite surprised to see how very busy Yosemite was, as most of the parks we’ve been in thus far are not that way. The photo is as it actually was in real life. Although in reality, it was only about 15 ft off of the ground where I was and back from the edge a bit. So I was dicing with death in a safe way 🙂

  3. Bill Mundy

    Hi Rachelle and Wes,
    I seems that we are all on our travels right now. Loved your blog – it’s great to see things in America that we wouldn’t see here in England. When I compare this blog of yours and my most recent one it’s very apparent how big your country is compared to ours. I have a great fear of wasps so very much sympathised with Wes being stung by a yellow jacket. Is that a hornet? Love from Bill

    1. Hi Bill,
      Yes it certainly does seem as if we’re all traveling at present. Glad you enjoyed the blog and seeing highlights from a couple of our national gems! At least with a bit smaller country, you all don’t have to spend as much time in traveling to get to your various destinations. Wes has a great fear of Yellow Jackets as he’s been stung by them on several occasions! The yellow jacket is the nearest relative to the hornet and has a bit smaller head on it. When we first moved here, there was a yellow jacket hive in the wall of our studio!! That sure made life interesting for a bit! Then, a couple of years ago Wes was stung directly by the eye by a wasp! For some reason they seem to pick on him.
      Love and Hugs 🙂

  4. Bill Mundy

    Hi Rachelle,
    I’ have the same fatal attraction to wasps here. I think because we fear these creatures we emit a sort of smell when one comes near that they can detect. Years ago I even went for a course with a hypnotist to cure my fear. It didn’t work!
    Love from Bill

    1. Hi Bill,
      I’m sure that it’s probably true that they can smell the fear somehow. You’ll have to try and pretend your not afraid, since unfortunately, your trip to the hypnotist didn’t work!
      Love and hugs 🙂

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