Yosemite National Park, California (Sep 14/14) – A wonderful place to visit. High expectations, high elevations… the eastern park entrance at Tioga Pass topped out at 9,980’, truly a long climb for Hobbes, thankfully the temperature was moderate. Coming in to Tuolumne Meadows the tall grasses reach out welcoming those who enter, and in awe… inspires one to continue on. John Muir, a Scottish-born American environmentalist (before it became popular), spoke of “going to the mountains is going home”. For N&J this quote speaks volumes.
click on pic to enlarge – right/left arrow to scroll thru the gallery
The first night was in the High Sierra at Porcupine Creek, a primitive campground. Larger RV’s need not come, they won’t fit. The camp is very rustic. Quiet, so quiet you heard yourself breath. Cool, clean air meant for a great night sleep. No bugs as well, anywhere… in Yosemite. The drive across the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to Yosemite Valley is extremely picturesque. The narrow highway ensures you drive slower, all the better to enjoy the scene and avoid hitting a bear. It wasn’t until the road dropped the 4000’ to the valley bottom in the western portion of the park that the smoke from the wildfire burning in the park was noticed. Amazingly the trip to the bottom was interspersed with tunnels, bridges & narrow curves; a credit to the early road builders…
Managed to secure a campsite at Upper Pine Campground in Yosemite Valley for a few nights. The thinking was that the parks would be quiet once September rolled in, the opposite is true. They are booked quite solidly for months. Luckily some reservations were cancelled last minute, N&J were able to scoop one. Included in the cost of staying at the park are the free shuttles that roam the valley all day. No need to drive any where, just catch a bus that run very regularly and get off at the numerous stops along the route. In addition bringing along the bikes allowed the opportunity to move freely along trails & pathways. One evening a live ‘one man’ performance of the life of John Muir was presented at the theatre in the village; bikes were used to transport N&J from the campground and back, although they managed to get lost in the darkness on the return portion. J worried that they would hit a bear or deer in the dark pleaded for N to slow down, N laughing hysterically scared away any wild animal in the valley.
Visited the mountain hotel called the ’The Ahwahnee’. Similar to the hotels built by Canadian Pacific Railway in the Canadian Rockies. This is where the rich come to play in the mountain parks. You had better be rich, after checking out the menu at the restaurant & bar, the prices were as lofty as the peaks surrounding it. The valley townsite had all the amenities: post office, coffee shops, grocery store, deli, etc… The food store was well equipped with a great selection of beer & wine too, good prices considering the location.
Hiked a number of trails. The most noticeable thing missing was water in the creeks, not much at all. The Yosemite Falls were completely dry. Usually a mountain of water drops over 2400’, not a trickle in fall, must wait till spring to see that show. On the trail to Vernal Falls the climb is very steep (over 2000’ in a few miles). This hike is rewarding once you reach the falls. Although the water level here is really low compared to spring season, the sheer drop & visual treat is awe inspiring.
Of course no day goes by without a swim. In this case the Merced River that flows the length of the Yosemite Valley was most enjoyable.
The water was cool (too cool according to the locals whose mouths were agape watching N&J jump in)… but refreshing nevertheless.