One of the highlights of our California sojourn was a day spent at Yosemite National Park. Given the sparse crowds at Sequoia and Kings Canyon early in the season, we were unprepared for the mob scene we found at Yosemite. The place was swarming with tourists. Once we caught our first glimpse of the gorgeous setting with its backdrop of falls and stark rock outcroppings (especially El Capitan and Half Dome) and then followed the steep winding road down into the valley, we could see what drew the crowd: the unmatched vistas along with the ready accessibility of the park's delights and the fact that the park is geared to acommodate large numbers.
After our pleasantly remote hikes elsewhere, we felt a bit overwhelmed, but the numbers of other visitors didn't dampen our spirits nearly as much as our t-shirts were dampened by the refreshing spray from the lower falls, which you can walk to on a paved trail. We climbed above it all on a steep trail with 60 switchbacks that took us to Columbia Rock and an overview of the whole scene.