This is our last US National Park, at least for a while, and what a way to finish. Even in the shoulder season (late November) there are a lot of people in the valley and it was the first place we visited where the visitor shuttles were still running.
Whether walking around in the iced meadows, waiting for the morning sun to reach them, or driving around the scenic loop in the valley (most other roads had closed this close to winter) it is easy to understand why this park is so popular.
A free photopgraphic tour by the Ansel Adams Gallery provided a 1.5hr walk around the meadow area inside the valley and pointed out several locations where Ansel Adams captured some of his most famous photos.
We eschewed our traditional hiking tent which has served us so well for an option that intrigued us, the Temp-RATE-ture canvas tents. These are unheated tents where you pay whatever the overnight minimum was (in Fahrenheit). We were too cheap for the All U Can Heat offer. I think our hiking tent is warmer, but it offered an extra level of psychological protection (the door has a lock!) against the bears. Try to ignore what the walls are made out of.
The bears in Yosemite have become used to humans and there are many warnings posted about the perils of leaving food in cars (the nicest consequence being it may get towed). Despite our concerns we didn't see one, even from the safety of our car. Perhaps they are thinking hibernatory thoughts by now.