We left Dommy with Grandma&Grandpa Cassingham on Friday, and drove 4 hours up to Yosemite from San Jose. Beautiful scenery, and we arrived in the park to see the snowfall that had arrived that day. We got there in the dark and set up our tent in the light snow at Hogdon Meadows, where we had reserved a site. It wasn't our first pick, but had tent sites available for cheap. Here is a picture of Kirsten in our site, then the sun heating up the roadbed and making an incredible sight wherever it warmed the snow. Everything was steaming from the sun by 8am--it was amazing.
On our way down to the Yosemite Valley (where El Capitán and Half Dome are), we passed the Tuolomne Grove of sequoias and hiked in to see them. There are only about 20 individual trees in this grove, but they're amazing. One of them is the Dead Giant (see below), which they carved so carriages could go through in the 1930's as a marketing tool to bring visitors to the park. Amazing carved graffiti inside this stump. At the little interpretive center they had a sequoia "cookie" that marked out history during the lifetime of one of these trees (they grow to an absurd age, like 1200 years old). Amazing that the outermost little note is for the building of the Golden Gate Bridge (not pictured), the next one up is for the Taj Mahal, etc.
Then we went down to the valley and saw Half Dome and El Capitán. Really breathtaking stuff. El Cap is way bigger than we imagined. Just a huge granite façade going straight up. We hiked to Upper Yosemite Falls, with a great vantage point over the entire valley. It was 3.5 miles each way, but well worth the hike.