Hello everyone Some details about Yosemite: It's near the eastern border of central California, a park about the size of Rhode Island. Situated in Sierra Nevada, it was established by an act of Congress on Oct 1st 1890 and has since become one of the best-known parks in the world. It has 263 miles of roads, 800 miles of hiking trails, nearly 240 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, 1,400 species of flowering plants and 37 types of trees. Elevations reach 13,000 feet above sea level. It is most famous for its incredible Valley but 95% is officially designated as wilderness; it covers 1,169 square miles in total. Today, we were up at 6.30 to catch the bus shortly after 8am. Due to the detour we have to take because of recent rockslide, it was 11.45 before we arrived. You get around the park by shuttle bus which drops you at the various landmarks. First of all we went to see the Yosemite Falls, a waterfall which drops 2,425 feet which makes it the tallest waterfall in North America. Another key feature is the Half Dome, Yosemite's most distinctive monument which rises to an elevation of 8,842 feet an is 87 million years old! Portions of granite on Half Dome's face are believed to have fallen during rockfalls or as a result of glacial action. Next was Mirror Lake which contains impressive reflections of Half Dome in spring/summer if the lighting is good but it is in the process of drying up at the moment as it does by summer's end. The last bus back is 5.15 so it doesn't give you a lot of time to explore such a vast place. Today we left at 4.20pm as the girls are catching the 5am bus tomorrow to extend their final day at the park. I can't face getting up at such an unearthly hour, so I shall follow on at the more civilised hour of 8.20am! There are several churches in the Park and I had hoped to go tomorrow, but by the time I arrive the services will be over unfortunately. Among the mammals mentioned earlier, the park contains black bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes! Fortunately, we didn't run into the path of any of those, although it would have been great to see a bear or lion from a distance. Bears, apparently, are becoming increasingly aggressive as they get used to humans being around and try to steal their food. There are strict rules on the park about the disposal and storage of food on the park for that very reason. Tomorrow, I will be following my own itinerary at the park as the girls will want to do more adventurous stuff and I want to take it easy, so I plan to visit Yosemite Village which has gift shops, information centre and a film you can watch all about the park. There are also some short tours you can go on around the valley. The first inhabitants of Yosemite were the American Indians and there is a historical centre which tells you about them, which I'm quite interested in. I also want to visit the Happy Isles, three islets where you can see 'dramatic natural processes at work' - the rapids of the Merced River to the quiet trickling of water through a fen or marsh. I shall take some time just to sit admiring the wonderful views and there are plenty of places where I can get a drink and some lunch. Today I took a packed lunch from the hostel. The hostel is very well run and equipped. They have a lovely wooden building which houses a cafe and soft sofas where you can sit and relax with a hot chocolate (or something stronger)! There are lots of people of all ages staying here and from many nations. Had a chat over dinner with an American couple from San Francisco. What else? The temperature dropped dramatically in the night and, as we are only under canvas, I got very cold and so didn't sleep so well. Will wrap up warmer tonight. Time for a shower. We catch a bus here on Monday morning at 6.30am for Las Vegas. What contrasts I have seen in the last few days - from city to mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Wonderful! Love to all.