Amazing Kids! Magazine

Yosemite National Park

By Natalie Brady, Jr. Assistant Editor

Imagine sitting in a car, driving up to an entrance. There’s a little booth with a little green sign that says, “OPEN”. There are trees surrounding you: giant trees that are hundreds of times bigger than you are. Where are you?

You’re in Yosemite National Park.

Once you’re through the gate, it takes a while to get to the valley floor. When you arrive at your hotel, you immediately go to the front desk to see what you can do. What can you do here, in Yosemite National Park, in California?

The main reason why you’re here is probably to sightsee. Yosemite is one of the first wilderness parks in the USA, and is best known for its waterfalls. You can also find, however, deep valleys, meadows, giant sequoias, mountains… and much, much more!

Yosemite Half Dome (click to see image)


There are many big and famous rocks in Yosemite: for example, Half Dome. Half Dome rises nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level. Half Dome is a Yosemite icon, and is eighty-seven million years old. It is very hard to hike, and if you’re out of shape or unprepared, don’t even try. There’s nothing you can do to guarantee your safety, but some people find it exhilarating and fun. When the Native Americans still dominated Yosemite, they had a legend of Half Dome: the Legend of Tissayack.

The legend goes like this:

Many, many generations ago, there dwelt in the arid desert around Mono Lake a Native American couple. Learning from other Native Americans of the beautiful and fertile Valley of Ahwahnee, they decided to go there and make it their dwelling place. They began their journey into the Sierra Nevada towards Yosemite Valley, he carrying deer skins, and she holding a baby cradle in her arms and carrying a heavy basket of acorns on her back for food. Tissayack, the husband, was way ahead of his wife, yelled at her to keep up. The basket of acorns was very heavy, and she quickly caught up to her husband, a trail of acorns falling out behind her. Pretty soon, she fell behind him again, and he yelled at her to keep up, and, once again, she ran to catch up, leaving another trail of acorns. Soon enough, she was even farther behind him, and her husband yelled at her again to catch up. This time, seeing the lake ahead, she ran as fast as she could past her husband and towards the lake. She bent down and drank the whole lake, for she was so thirsty.

When her husband got there, the lake was gone. “Why did you drink the whole lake?” he cried. “How could you?” For this was what they had hiked for. He was so angry and his wife replied frantically, “You kept yelling at me to keep up when you were carrying barely nothing while I was carrying a heavy basket of acorns!” and she threw her basket of acorns at him, creating Basket Dome. She began to cry and threw her baby at her husband, creating the Royal Arches. Because they had brought anger into Yosemite, God became upset at the couple, and turned the two into stone. Tissayack became North Dome and she became Half Dome. The Mono Lake was the tears she cried.

If you look closely at Half Dome, you can see the face of the wife. It looks as if her head is bent back and her mouth is open and she is crying, as black marks run down Half Dome: her tears. The flat part of Half Dome is her mouth open and the round is her head bent back. The Oak trees on Half Dome are the acorns she dropped as she ran to catch up with her husband. That is the legend of Half Dome.

Yosemite El Capitan (click to see image)

On the other side of Half Dome is El Capitan. El Capitan is a 3,593-foot vertical wall of granite, and is one of Yosemite’s most memorable features. El Capitan provides some of the most challenging hiking opportunities in the lower forty-eight states. It is the world’s largest granite block. It is so tall that different parts of El Capitan experience different weather.

Moving on to the waterfalls: there are many wonderful waterfalls to see in Yosemite. Ribbon Falls is 1,612 feet high, and is the highest waterfall in the valley.

Bridalveil Falls is 626 feet – it is the height of a 62 story building! First called “Pohano” by the Indians, meaning “Puffing Wind”, it was renamed by James Mason Hutchings, “Bridalveil Falls”.

The most famous waterfall in Yosemite is Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is a double waterfall that falls 2,425 feet. There are three separate sections: the Upper Falls (1,430 feet), the Middle Falls (675 feet), and the Lower Falls (320 feet).

Glacier Point is another landmark with an altitude of 7,214 feet. Glacier Point is the place where you can see basically everything in the park, and is a beautiful place.

Mariposa Groves is where there are tons of giant sequoia trees. The largest group of these trees is in Mariposa Groves. The oldest known sequoia tree is the Grizzly Giant. Unlike any other tree, the giant sequoia needs fire to live, because without fire, the pine cones will not open to reveal their seeds and to plant more giant sequoias. So, the Mariposa Grove is set on fire regularly.

You can do many things in Yosemite National Park. You can take a Valley Tour that drives you around the whole valley, showing you some of the main features. You can take a photography tour that teaches you how to take better pictures, how to apply light to your pictures, and when to take the perfect picture of certain things. You can rent a bike and bike around, you can walk, or you can take a shuttle. There’s the Yosemite Village that has stores and food. There’s restaurants where you can eat and much, much more!

Yosemite National Park is a place where there are endless possibilities of things to see and things to do, and the things mentioned above are just the start of what you can see.