Raft Rentals Open in Yosemite Valley, Hurrah

Commune with some glorious H2O in the national park.

THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT... Yosemite National Park's rocks get a lot of love. We're ga-ga over granite, and we moon over vast cliff faces, and we adore a good outcropping, especially if it is dramatic and frames the moon in an interesting way. We love the rock-based elements of the splendid Sierra Nevada destination for their drama, for their huge-o-sity, and for all of the various hues they can take on, throughout a single day. (Stare at Half Dome in the morning, and again near evening, and it appears to have changed its light-inspired wardrobe.) But here's the truth of it, and it isn't worth quibbling over a local craft beer at the bar at Yosemite Valley Lodge: Water is a longtime partner of Yosemite's rocky features. And we do mean "longtime," for water has been cascading over the sides of those famous sheer walls before any of us, here now, knew what water or a cliff might be. Which is all to say this: Keep going ga-ga over Glacier Point, because it deserves your ga-ga-ness, but prepare to marvel at the glorious and sparkly...

MERCED RIVER, for rafting rentals opened for the season in Yosemite Valley on Friday, May 11. Where to go to pick up a raft and paddles for you and your river-loving buds? The Half Dome Village Tour & Activities Kiosk. When to call upon the kiosk? It opens each day at 10 a.m. and closes it all down at 4 in the afternoon. How long will your fabulous "float" last? Oh, three miles, which is a good long stretch to soak in the trees, the sky, and, yes, all of those big cliffs that give the Y.V. the "Valley" part of its name. Speaking of your river-loving buds, a raft holds two to four people. Per person? The price is $27.50. All the very important details you should know? Plunge your paddle in the cool river and drift to this informative page now.

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