Yosemite National Park is one of those beautiful parks under National Park Service of US Department of the Interior whose mission is "To Protect America's Great Outdoors". And, they do their job really well. A peek at the numbers gives us some idea of the scale. The park is spread over 700,000 acres (1000+ square miles), around 4 million people visited in 2009 and the budget for 2009 was over 28 million USD. All this is about just one of those many such parks. These guys are really resource rich.
Yosemite, a grand valley with great waterfalls (though almost dry after July), boulders, bike trails, hikes, lakes, winter sports, camp-sites etc., makes a perfect weekend getaway. Ideal visit should include at least one night camping in the wilds. As the above numbers speak for themselves, it is hard to get a booking for a camp-site. So, we planned just a day's visit. We started very early in the morning (at 5 AM), as it is a 4 hours drive from our Hotel, and reached the park by 10 AM. Spent some time in a nearly dry, still beautiful waterfall and played around the boulders. Overwhelmed with the number of hiking options, we struggled a bit to choose a couple of them. Almost all trails lead to one of those peaks around the valley and the grand views from peak tickle a handful of philosophical bones, as usual :)
After a late, hard-to-name continental lunch in a restaurant on the floor of the valley, we just had a couple of hours left before it gets dark. While we were on a random walk to spend those 2 hours, we got to know that there is some 'Mirror Lake' near by. There is something really mystic about that lake. Though a reflection in still water is just natural, the reflection in the Mirror Lake is crystal clear, almost like a mirror. May be something to do with the type of sand at the bottom or purity of water. Though, we reached just before dusk, still could witness the miracle.
Another 5 hour long drive brought us back to the Hotel. And, it was mid-night.