What are the Most Incredible Places You've ever Stood"? I've been there many times and I never get tired of it. It is a destination for three of my field trips every year. It is an easy thing to drag a bunch of students up there (you make it required and stuff them on a bus), but how does one get past the sheer elegance of the scenery and explain to students the grandeur of the geological story of Yosemite as well? Part of it is letting them find out for themselves.
It's a bit of a trick to take 40 students to Yosemite on a busy Saturday in May. Buses are allowed to park in only two or three spots in the valley, and an extended discussion of geology is not possible in a place like the Wawona Tunnel View (above and below). It's simply too crowded with noisy buses and motorcycles and hundreds of tourists enjoying a first view of the valley, and it's really not fair to have a bus parked there hogging a premium spot. So we park the bus at Yosemite Lodge, and I set them free to wander through the park...to an extent. We make appointments. They find their way through the valley floor on the free trams, and we meet each other at a few of the most important localities (principally the Happy Isles rockfall site and a vantage point where we can talk about Half Dome and Yosemite Falls). It works well most of the time because they get a sense of exploration to go with the "learning".