Tuolumne meadows is a pretty incredible place. I admit I now realize why John Muir was so fascinated with it.
Tioga pass (and more glaciers). I saw what I thought was a mountain goat on one of these rock spires (unfortunately didn't get to photograph it) but guess what, we don't have mountain goats here. Upon further research I bet what I saw was a female bighorn sheep which have horns similar to mountain goats. If I'm super super lucky, this was one of the very rare Sierra subspecies, but who knows.
Soda Springs is just that: Underground springs that bubble up soda water. I kid you not, this spring is carbonated. You can hear it fizzing and see it bubbling as you stand there. The red color is just iron deposits. skorzy said he tried it as a boyscout and it tastes like really bitter soda water, not very good at all. The white stuff you see surrounding the pools is sodium carbonate deposits and some extra mineral goodies.
The springs empty out into the stream which was so clear and deliciously cold looking, I wanted to jump right in. Except..yanno, the cold part, and the fact that I'm sure its frowned upon. We saw lots of trout surfacing and a couple of folks fishing. You can see Unicorn peak (left) and Cathedral peak (right) in these photos.
Lake Tenaya, a glacial lake
There's a steep trail that goes up to the base of the falls, which is worth it to fully appreciate its scale (617 ft). Later when we went to Glacier Point, we traveled up to the higher altitude where the source of the falls begins. You wouldn't know it until its right there that there's such a sheer drop down river.
Another thing you don't really think about when you think of glacier rocks is how polished and smooth they are. You can see the sunlight reflecting off of their surface, they're that smooth. That said, any small bit of moisture and they become slipperier than soap. That said, you really really really don't want to go rock hopping near a waterfall. I'm reminded of that "Death in Yosemite" book martes mentioned. Needless to say, there have been a lot of deaths caused by slipping on barely moist rocks, grippy shoes or not.
The Wawona tunnel view of the valley (2nd photo in this post) is an incredibly picturesque view of Yosemite, but now that I've seen Glacier Point, I'd say this is by far the best view of the whole valley if you're going for size reference. Acrophobes beware though, its a really really really long way down.
Here's a photo of Overhang Rock, which they have somewhat blocked off now due to too many people being stupid and falling off of it.
It doesn't look too steep in this photo, but I assure you, you do NOT want to fall off of this thing. Check out this old photo for a different view and a scale reference.
This just has me going..
This is definitely the place to be at sunset, but you should go early because parking is bad.
(Just looked down)
More to come!