Yosemite – Still as beautiful and busy as ever.

Ahh, Yosemite, the icon of the Sierras. Last time Rose & I visited we skipped the valley and hiked The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne back in 2013. I love the remoteness and solitude of the back-country but this time Jerry propositioned me with: “If I can get a campsite in the valley for Memorial Day, are you in?” I cringed as I said Yes, knowing full well that the valley will be something of a zoo over a long weekend.

We were going in early, replaced the Subi tow with a bike rack and headed out on the Wednesday.

Bikes suit the Navion, don’t you think?
Classic view as you exit the tunnel on the Wawona Road.

Came in from the south on Hwy 41 and rolled along the winding road which was nice and quiet. Tunnel coming up and my complacency is shattered as I see the yellow sign indicating 10′ 2″Clearance At the Curb! Wait a moment, aren’t we almost 12′ high? Holly Shit, Is the IT, The End? I digest liberal doses of “At the Curb” and veer towards the center line while slowing down dramatically. No crunching sounds as we enter the rounded cavity and I push oncoming traffic over to their curb while keeping my left wheels on the center line.

OK, panic over as we cruise through the valley to our Lower Pines, DBL03 campsite, that’s a double for our two RV’s and a couple of cars.

Upper Yosemite Falls in the morning shade.

Weather will be nice on the Thursday but a weak front moves in for Friday/Saturday so we decide on Yosemite Falls for our baptism hike, 2700′ in 3.6 miles. I think we were on the trail by 8am and it felt good to get the lungs and legs into synchronicity on the countless switchbacks or zig-zags that I grew up with in the Cape mountains.

Half Dome is the hidden backdrop.
Yosemite Creek, as the topo map indicates, flows over the rim but hits a ledge causing the water to aerate into a billowy cloud as it falls.
Rose and sister Ann at the top of the falls.
Just hanging our, Sierra style.

From the top of the falls you can cross the bridge and hike a mile further to the Yosemite Point for more views.

Yosemite Creek.
Half Dome from the Yosemite Point.
Looking down the valley.
With the sun sliding to the west the light favors the Dome as we retrace our steps downwards.
Chilly overcast morning as we set off for Mirror Lake.

Friday had light rain forecast so the whole group headed out for Mirror Lake. Jerry, like the good campsite host he is, supplied us with emergency poncho’s to ward off the drizzle.

On the trail to Mirror Lake.
I’m told that the lake has shrunk over time but the photo ops are still there.
More of Mirror lake.

In the afternoon we ride our bikes around the valley floor and stopped in at Lower Yosemite falls to stretch our legs. The short trail is busy. This easy hike attracts all the tour bus tourists to check off one more Yosemite attraction.

Lower below and Upper above.
I have enough photo’s of the falls so why not a few of the tourists?

Day 3, Saturday, is still a bit iffy weather wise and we head out on the Half Dome trail but will turnaround at the top of Nevada Falls, 4 miles in. The Lower Vernal Falls generate the flying spray for “Mist Trail” as it climbs up alongside the falls themselves.

Mist Trail.
Nice half moon rainbow looking back down the trail which comes up on the left side of the rainbow.
Out of the mist and into the trees.
Bridge over the Merced River at the top of Nevada Falls.

At the top of Nevada we opted for the slightly longer loop back along the John Muir Trail that traverses the opposite side of the valley.

Nice view of Nevada Falls. The trail climbs up the scree on the left side of the falls.
Liberty Cap watching over the falls.

Sunday, the good weather should be back and it’s time to get up to Glacier Point. Not going to drive the RV up there and that leaves us with Four Mile Trail which is actually 4.8 miles due to improvements to the original toll trail built in 1872.

On the trail by 9 am as we had to take a shuttle and short walk to get to the trailhead. We are now on the opposite side to Yosemite Falls and are rewarded with more grand views.

You guessed it, Yosemite Falls.
On the way up looking west to the valley mouth.
Classic view of Half Dome from Glacier Point with Clouds Rest peaking out from it’s left side.
Four Mile Trial switchbacks.

We reversed our route up and were back down before 1 pm. Today is zoo day in the valley and not even our shuttles could get through. We stood waiting at the Camp 4 stop, which is also the shuttle turn around point, got frustrated and started walking. Then we see a bus coming towards us (not the direction we want) but mange to get on before he fills up with returning hikers like ourselves. Had to ride it back to where we were waiting before heading off in the right direction.

Four full days of challenging hiking – well enjoyed by all.

Monday we broke camp and Rose & I pointed the RV up Tioga Pass to get over to Hwy 395 and take the back way home.

Tioga Lake for Lunch.
Parked alongside Tioga Lake.

A couple of days alongside June Lake and a visit to June Lake Brewing before heading down to Benton Hot Springs, a favorite of ours. This time we’re in in site #9.  The uniqueness, and what you pay for at $60 per night, is that each site has it’s own hot spring, all yours to go in at any time of day or night!

That’s the north end of the White Mountains.
Rose in her element.
Site #9.
Horses at Diaz Lake.

Last stop was down the road at Diaz Lake, just south of Lone Pine. First time there and had some horsy visitors from the pasture next door.

Categories Trips

3 thoughts on “Yosemite – Still as beautiful and busy as ever.”

  1. That looks really nice Andre. For a long time I’ve resisted going to Yosemite because of the reports of how crowded it was, but seeing your post has made me want to go. Thanks!

    1. Think of Zion main canyon, a circus. But either way it’s a fun visit. After the main valley you can always find some backcountry trail to get lost on.

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