Theimage (click to enlarge) is of Yosemite, based on a Google Earth type rendition.
This, to me, is heaven. Why? For these reasons:
The scenery is endless. This park is bigger than most counties, almost as big as Rhode Island.
Most visitors drive through the valley and say. "Wow!", and drive out. [The valley is pictured in the lower middle haf, center.]
In 1912, greedy San Francisco went looking for a water source. They found the Hetch Hetchy valley with a river running through it. So, they influenced Congress into letting them build a dam across that valley. If there was no dam, there would be a second Yosemite and more to marvel at.
There are trails almost everywhere. You can go to literally a hundred waterfalls, but there are many that the only way to get there is to hike in.
Radios, Cell Phones, and Pagers DO NOT WORK. How long has it been since you have been somewhere that you are out of reach of cell phones, faxes, pagers, and email? Of course, if you go backpacking into the back country, you must get a Permit from the Park Service. That way, they know to go looking for you if you do not return on time.
My personal preference is to rent a cabin or a roomin or around the Park, and drive to trailheads. Most hikes are optimal for exercise and time alloted. With another hiker, we hiked up Half Domeand returned to the Valley floor in ONE DAY. That is close to 20 miles. While that seems significant, the top of Half Dome is 4,800 feet above theValley floor. I have run easier marathons.
An experience in self-importance.
The top photo is of "El Capitan". You see this giant rock just after you come into the Valley. This is Valhalla for rock climbers. It is 3.000 feet--straight up. Looking up that rock face, you are struck how small you really are, and how much of an effect you can have on your environment. Yosemite Falls is over 2,000 feet high, and about a mile east of the El Capitan formation.