2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yosemite National Park

From our campsite at Greenly Hill, CA we ran through portions of the Stanislaus National Forest before getting to Yosemite. This is the Rim of the World overlook.
Like Sequoia and Kings Canyon, many roads and trails in Yosemite are still closed. The one I really would have like to go on was the Glacier Point Road. The overlook at the top has wonderful views of the valley.
We entered through the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station at an elevation of 4872'.
The road went past an huge area that had obviously burned in the past decade.
Our first view of El Capitan and Half Dome. El Capitan, on the middle left, is a massive granite monolith that stands 3,593' from base to summit at the west end of the valley. Half Dome, Yosemite's most distinctive monument, is in the middle.
We passed through two or three tunnels on our way down to the valley. They were well lit and no problem in a car but we saw several smaller motorhomes descending. The roads were too narrow with too many curves for me to be comfortable driving a motorhome into the park.
You might have to double click to enlarge this photo to see Bridalveil Fall. The following photo shows you what each feature is named.

Finally we got down to the Merced River.

From this spot you could see the waterfall in the following photo and Bridalveil Fall.
In this photo it is hard to see the waterfall but it was a great view in person. Just one of many unnamed falls along the road.
Besides the named views, there are many more that are just plain beautiful.

We tried to stop at the Bridalveil Fall hiking trail but cars were backed up trying to find parking spots. There was even a long line at the restrooms.
But all you had to do was look up to get a view of the fall.
This is the west entrance into Tunnel View. We had passed through it because there weren't any free parking spots on the right before we got to it.

But once past we continued west on Hwy 41 for a while. In this photo you can see where Hwys 120 and 140 enter the park.

Information about the tunnel.
Yes this is one of the most beautiful views in the valley. There was a porta-potty just to the right of where we took this photo. I bet there's not another porta-potty in the world that has a better view!
As we drove back east into Yosemite Valley, we passed by Bridalveil Fall again. You can see the mist rising off the bottom.

Just another one of those wonderful views along the road.
At the Yosemite Valley Vistor Center we learned about Galen Clark, the first European to lead the way toward making the valley a National Park.

Another early protector of the park was John Muir. This is a sculpture of him. Muir spent more than 40 years exploring the area.
While at the visitor center, we enjoyed their displays of how the valley was formed and its different flora and fauna.

We also watched the informative film, Spirit of Yosemite.
After touring the visitor center, we decided to start walking. First off was a walk to see The Ahwahnee. Well this sign says The Ahwahnee but this is actually just the entrance.
The Ahwahnee is an hotel where people stay while visiting the park.
There were so many trees in the front of the hotel that we couldn't get any good photos. Don't you just hate it when nature gets in the way of a good shot? LOL
So we walked through the hotel and out the back door to get these shots. The hotel lobby had neat Indian designs in the floor and several large fireplaces.
During our walk we saw this unnamed fall.
The park has shuttle buses that you can ride free.

We also saw one of the open-air trams making its rounds.

Then we got off the paved trail and walked the Lower Yosemite Fall trail. It lead us up behind Yosemite Village.
It was very rocky at several points but there was asphalt between the rocks in this stretch.
Then I noticed two deer to our left and maybe 50' away. They continued to walk slightly ahead of us before running to cross the trail so they were then on our right. I bet you have to enlarge this photo to see them. At one point I was maybe 20' from them.
Oh then we got to Lower Yosemite Fall. The sound of the water hitting the bottom was loud and there was a large amount of vapor in the air. It made for a chilly mist.

We were standing on a bridge where the water passed under and continued on downstream. It even looked cold!
We kept walking and then we could see Upper Yosemite Fall. Oh I wished these photos were even half as exciting as being there!
Then the trail turned and we headed downward. In front of us a man was stopped in the middle of the trail taking a photo. We turned and this is what we saw... both falls! But once again, it was so much more beautiful in person!
During our walk we also saw this Steller's Jay. It's a native of western North American and is a relative of the Blue Jay that I was used to seeing. Double click to enlarge so you can see his profile.

Going back through Yosemite Village, we stopped at the Yosemite Museum. After enjoying the Indian basketry inside, we wondered outside for a look at the Indian Village.
The next eight photos are in pairs. The first will show the explanation for the photo that follows.

I had told Nolan early in our walk that I needed to ask a ranger where the name Yosemite came from. Here's the explanation.
As we were leaving the village area in our car, the traffic backed up and people were stopping in the middle of the road. They jumped out of their vehicles with their cameras in hand. Yes there was a bear in the area. We didn't stop but Nolan was taking photos of the people and ended up getting a photo of the bear. Ok, you need a magnifying glass but just to the right of the man, back in the sunny area, you can see the bear. Of course you need to double click to enlarge the photo first. This park is definitely worth another visit when the roads are open.

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