We traveled from Fresno to Yosemite over Route 41 but when the road restrictions changed so that vehicles of our overall length (50 feet) could not continue on it, we switched to Route 49 which the locals warned us was the steepest, curviest road of which they knew. The only saving grace was that it was newly paved and had fairly wide lanes. We have chugged up many hills and through many passes, but the locals were right! Very steep-so we had a slow ride up that one to Route 132 and finally onto Route 120 into the West Entrance of Yosemite.
Yosemite National Park was established in 1890 at the urging of John Muir. It is visited by over 3 million people annually and is one of the most popular parks in the Nation. With its domes, spires, rivers, falls, valleys and meadows you can understand why that is so. It is huge.. the size of Rhode Island so it takes a while to get anywhere you want to go within the park.
We had reserved our site on line in Hodgdon Meadow and couldn't tell from the website how sloped it would be. We had a terrible time trying to level it and never really could. But we thought it would be alright since the refrigerator was still working correctly. You see if you do not have the RV at a certain degree of being level, the refrigerator would shut down. That was our main concern.
|RV leveld at best we can on a 12 degree incline|
|Paula and Dale at Glacier Point|
|Nevada Falls (upper) and Vernal Falls (lower)|
The following day we went to explore Tuolomne Meadows in the northern section of the Park and yet another campground. There were no openings in this campgroud until the 21st so we took it for our last night in the park as that is on our route out of the park through Tioga Pass. Millions of years ago, Tuolmne Meadows was covered with a 2000 foot deep sea of ice. Today, in early spring it is full of wild flowers and there is an abundance of hiking trails from the area that lead to all other areas of the park. There are hikers everywhere with their backpacks, hiking sticks, tents and supplies. Unfortunately, the flowers are past but the tranquil green meadows remain and the visitors to the park took full advantage of its trails.
We drove on past the Meadows to the Dog Lake and Lembert Dome area where we had our picnic lunch and decided to climb the Lembert Dome. This was a steep climb of 850 foot gain over 1.4 miles but we made it before the rains, thunder and lightening started. Tim climbed up a little higher than the rest of us, but we all had wonderful views of the entire Tuolomne Meadows area, the surrounding domes, and the valleys below.
The rains started and the lightening held off while we donned our rain ponchos and made a bee line down the hills. We were also pelted with dime size hail stones. Thankfully, it cleared quickly.
On the way back to camp we stopped at the tranquil setting of Tenaya Lake which is an alpine lake nestled at the foot of the high sierras. There is a restoration project going on at the lake to increase parking, picnic areas and hiking trails around the lake for the enjoyment of the many park visitors.
We also stopped to see rock climbers on the domes near Olmstead Point. It is amazing to watch them move down those rocks so effortlessly belaying each other as they went. A very busy day ending with a wonderful evening with good friends.
August 17th- Friday
Unfortunately, our refrigerator stopped working and since there were no campsites at Hodgdon Meadow that were open, Tim left early to check out sites at Crane Flat and White Wolf campgrounds to no avail once again. Paula and Dale left after breakfast to continue their tour of the southwest. It was great to have had them with us for a couple of days.
When Tim returned with no level sites to be had, he made another attempt at Hodgdon Meadows and they agreed to give us a site that had been empty this entire time but that had been reserved for the "emergency" crews. We moved over hoping that the refrigerator would reset. No luck. We had to take the RV down to Modesto which was a two hour ride down and then two hours back. The RV service department took approximately 10 minutes to reset the refrigerator but we had lost a day in Yosemite.The good news is that they showed Tim how to reset it in the future in case it happens again.
August 18th- Saturday
Today we toured Yosemite Valley along with thousands of other people! The views were wonderful in the valley with the peaks and domes all around and the river flowing through it. We visited the Ansel Adams gallery, had lunch and made plans to come back into the valley on Monday when the crowds were less.
|Black Bear Cub|
August 20th- Monday
Today was our day to hike to Vernal Falls. We were pleased when we arrived in the valley early and it was not crowded at all. We parked in Curry Village, boarded the shuttle bus to Vernal Falls trailhead and we were off. Once we reached the Vernal Falls footbridge, you could see the Falls cascading over the rocks. This was a stopping point for many folks, but we decided to continue on the Mist Trail up to the Falls itself. The total elevation gain was 1000 feet over 1.2 miles up, a steep climb once again, but it was well worth the trip. The Falls were wonderful. We were happy that we went early as when the day wore on, it became extremely crowded on the trail. Once again, we stopped several places along the road back to the RV. It's hard not to when all around you is such beauty.
|Tim on Mist Trail to Vernal Falls|
|Kate and Tim at Vernal Falls|
August 21st- Tuesday
Today we drove the RV the 2 hours it takes to the Tuolomne Meadows Campground. We set up and leveled the RV and vegged for the day. I think our travels are catching up with us as we were both very tired today.
Yosemite is one of the most beautiful parks we have seen and it is also the most crowded. I have to say, though, that we were very disappointed in the campgrounds and the folks that staffed them. We have not had those issues in any of the other parks that we have visited this year. Also, on a sad note, there were two children swept away at the Vernal Falls Footbridge at the beginning of this week. They were able to extract the 10 year old, but his 6 year old brother has not been found as yet. The highest cause of death in the National Parks is drowning. It is hard for us to understand why any parent/guardian would allow his/her child to wade into a roaring river with the swiftness of the current and the ferociousness of the rocks so evident. Very sad indeed.