Yosemite — More Beautiful than the Himalayas?

Al Aistrope at Tuolumne Meadows. Photo 2011 by Barbara Falconer Newhall

That’s Al, barely visible between trees and rock on the trail at Yosemite. Photo 2011 by Barbara Falconer Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Is the Yosemite high country even more beautiful than the Himalayas?

My hiking pal Al Aistrope thinks so. The Himalayas’ claim to fame, of course, is all those high, spectacularly high, mountain peaks.

Yosemite, on the other hand, abounds in beautiful sights,large and small — rocks, trees, wildflowers, river beds, meadows and mountains.

Al knows whereof he speaks. He spends a lot of time in Nepal. Right now he’s in Katmandu, where he looks after orphans through his program Virtue’s Children Nepal. He’ll be having Christmas dinner with them.

Some day I’ll have to ask Al how his charity got that name. It’s probably something about the amazing loyalty and generosity Al has observed over the years among the orphan children he’s met there.

You can see Al in this picture. He’s very tiny between the rocks and the trees. For a closer look at Al, go to the Virtue’s Children Nepal website.

For more Sierra Nevada pix check out my earlier posts.

Pink wildflowers grow in rocks. Tuolemne. Photo By Barbara Falconer Newhall

There were so many wildflowers growing at Tuolemne Meadows last summer after the previous winter’s heavy snows that I can’t begin to identify this tiny beauty. Photo by Barbara Falconer Newhall




  1. I stumbled upon this blog through a random google search. I’ve done a fair amount of trekking in the Indian Himalayas and am Indian myself, but I do acknowledge that different people could have different tastes. One of my most cherished experiences was a day trek in the south coast of Turkey, with cows, wild flowers, and 2,000 year old Roman ruins for company. You couldn’t get a similar experience in the Himalayas, for sure.
    But here’s the question: if you were visiting the US for 3 weeks, and had to choose between Yosemite and Zion NP, which one would it be? If Yosemite has vistas similar to what I’d see in the Himalayas, then I’ll skip it and do Zion. I’m asking for free travel advice now – that’s mean.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Ron, This is a tough question indeed. Zion looks very unlike the Himalayas and Yosemite — strange looking red rocks. Yosemite is high mountain country and shares that setting with the Himalayas. Nonetheless, I’d recommend Yosemite, especially if you love mountain hiking. There is nothing in the world quite like the Yosemite Valley. Stay in the valley for a couple of nights and do some hiking up (and down again) the various trails — Yosemite Falls, Vernal, etc. Spring is nice because of the waterfalls, but a little crowded. Summer also lovely, but again lots of visitors. I like the fall — trails are a little dusty, but the weather is still mild in September and much less crowded. Enjoy!

  2. Treks in Himalayas i says:

    the Himalayas, home of the snow, is the most impressive system of mountains on the earth, and for centuries the setting for epic feats of exploration and mountain climbing / treks, are a world into themselves. Ascending the heights and being a part of the Himalayan landscape is an experience beyond comparison.

    Treks in Himalayas in India

    • This comment sounds like it’s coming from a comment bot, but since it says such nice things about the beautiful Himalayas, I’m letting it have its say. But I don’t know a thing about these folks, so buyer beware.

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