The next day, I was prepared for more cold weather (it was October), but the sun was out. As beautiful as the scenery was the day before, I was eager to see Yosemite on a clear day. We took a few small hikes, starting from Lower Yosemite Falls. From there, we wound over to the general store to buy a picnic lunch.
Almost everything in Yosemite Valley is connected by a shuttle system, and a lot of roads are closed to cars. I applaud the "no cars" rule, but the crowds and the shuttles are constant reminders that you aren't in the middle of nowhere. If you want more solitude, you will have to get out of the Valley.
After stocking up, we took the shuttle to the base of Vernal Falls for lunch. The squirrels were as eager to eat as we were. One squirrel in particular was very persistent, but we did our best not to feed the little fellow.
After picnicking, we hopped on a crowded shuttle to head over to the base of Mirror Lake trail. The lake is no more. Now it's just a sandy basin, which you can tramp around in—a surreal experience.
That night, we went to my cousin's wedding at the handsome Ahwahnee Hotel (which was in fact our whole reason for going to Yosemite). They are avid rock climbers, so after the ceremony, they took their first climb together as a married couple on a little rock outcrop across from the hotel.
I would love to go back to Yosemite with more time to spend—there were so many things I didn't get to see and do on this trip. It definitely deserves its place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.