Room With a View: Yosemite


“You can’t always get what you want”

– Keith Richards/Mick Jagger

“You can always ask for what you want”
– Tim Bateman

Tim’s Story

Recently, I made online reservations at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel at Yosemite National Park.  After filling in all the required information, there was a space for special requests. I simply wrote, “I would like a room with a really great view.”


The first view, moonrise over El Capitan and Half Dome. Photo credit: Tim Bateman

I have seen hundreds of Ansel Adams images of Yosemite, but I had never been there. Driving in from Sacramento, the juxtaposition of things is always different from what you expect. The first distant view of half dome was a thrilling shock. From above Yosemite Valley, it suddenly appeared below a breathtaking, deep-blue afternoon sky with a nearly full moon rising above.

El Capitan. Photo credit: Tim Bateman

Ribbon Falls

Most of the park is still closed in the late winter, but the surprisingly small Yosemite Valley gave us memories for a lifetime in the few days we were there: El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls, Ribbon Falls, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, The Merced River, and of course, Tunnel Viewpoint.

Deborah was driving as we entered the valley for the first time. We were headed for The Majestic Lodge, but I kept commanding her to stop. I just had to keep getting out to take pictures. Little did I realize at the time how special this crystal clear day and deep blue skies were.

The Majestic Hotel

I always feel like a real golly-gee tourist when I walk into a grand hotel lodge at a national park. My head is on a swivel and my eyes are bugging out looking at everything.

“Focus,” Deborah said, “The registration windows are right there,” as she pointed.








The staff was very buttoned down in their traditional national park uniforms and extremely efficient in taking my information. I had a delightful lady  who used all the hospitality buzz words, such as “absolutely” and “my pleasure.” She then looked up at me and positively said, “I see you would like a room with a great view.” 

I sheepishly said, “There was a space for special requests, so I took the opportunity to ask.” 

Room 221

Our View from Room 221

She looked back at me with a twinkle in her eyes. “You are very lucky, “ she said. “A couple just checked out of 221 and I’m going to give it to you.” There was a very shy but confident smile on her face as she slowly slid the room key toward me.

I thanked her while silently experiencing the thrill of thinking I that may have gotten exactly what I had kind of jokingly requested. Maybe I was going to have a real surprise for Deborah when I opened the room door. A porter quickly and quietly appeared out of nowhere to take control of our luggage. I showed him our room key and his only comment was, “That is my favorite room in the whole lodge!”


The View

We had a wonderful time for three days in room 221 at The Majestic Hotel at Yosemite. Even though Deborah came down with a bad case of the flu, I think watching the many moods of Half Dome out the window was inspiring and healing. She slowly gained enough strength to enjoy the lodge, its architecture, its history, and its service.








The clear, deep blue sky the first day was beyond my imagination. The mood changes the second day lead to an evening snow. The next morning provided the clearing storm clouds that Adams could so dramatically capture in his images.

Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder


in a vast edifice of stone and space.
– Ansel Adams

Lesson Learned

In my short time, in just the Yosemite Valley section of the park, it was so easy to see why Adams spent so much time here and produced so many majestic images.

Now, to return again someday. You can be sure my special request will be for room 221. You can’t always, but sometimes you can get what you want.

Clearing Storm, Merced River. Photo credit: Tim Bateman

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