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Published: August 26th 2012
An early farewell to LA with the expected traffic, but at least we were soon the freeway heading northbound. Trading the city mayhem for some wilderness calm....so we hoped!
Our journey was expected to be long but event free. We followed Georgia's recommendation to drop in on a "Trader Joes" store to get some supplies for a camp BBQ, and what a gem of a store that is. Might be a chain, but it clearly has health food at it's heart, and the food was nicely laid out.....think of an up market and more stylish Waitrose versus the normal stores being more Netto/Lidl style!
Another chain knocked off for lunch with a stop at an IHOP.....pretty tasty pancakes, even off they are mixed with combinations that make no normal sense ("Dad, why would you want eggs and bacon with your blueberry pancakes and ice cream ?" ....to which the only possible reply is "I have no idea"!
The things took a turn for the worse, when I noticed flashing lights in my rear-view mirror......uh oh! I pulled across as safely as I covainly oping in vain he might rush past me after some criminal, before realising I was
the criminal. Arse. To be fair, he was a very nice polite policeman, considering he had followed me at around 85 (in a 70 zone).....in his plainly marked car for about a mile. Ooops.
I was as contrite & polite as I could be (whilst naturally pointing out I was distracted by a question from the kids in the back....good family man, etc.....). He took pity, perhaps swayed by the fact that he would have to take me direct to court (being out of State & indeed out of The States) to administer a $400 fine......maybe by the fact that we had already driven almost 200 miles and still had more to go.....and gently let me off with an admonishment and a warning. Phew, who, what a scorcher!
We continued on our way, chastised by the experience but still able to point out this was another life lesson taught to our offspring.....
& so to Yosemite.
We got to the park mid afternoon, and headed straight to Mariposa Grove: a fabulous walk amongst some of the largest "living" things on the planet 😊 We had hoped to make it to Kings Canyon & Sequoia Grove,
but they added a 3+ hour excursion to an already long day, but it was grand to be hiking past the Grizzly Giant, the Batchelor & the 3 Graces amongst others in beautiful weather. "Very cool, very big", to quote those seeing them for the first time!!
After that refreshing stop, we continued our drive through the park to Yosemite Village, and more specifically, to the Curry Village "campsite". Actually,less camping, more getting to know your noisy neighbours in their tents next door.....but in fairness, we had proper beds, anthis was a lovely setting, overlooked by Half Dome in the twilight....
But we werehardly campers, and we weren't going to let talk of bears put us off a BBQ, oh no! So we set off to find a site we could prop up our wee unit, and found the area that had been indicated to us. However, we couldn't see any permanent grills as we expects, so we set up on a rock. 30 minutes later, with the lit now fading fast, we were cooking, and a rapid burger was enjoyed. During this time, some Park Rangers dropped past some dodgy geezers near us and told them they
could not have a fire.....but ignored us. They left, and suddenly we felt very lane, surrounded by thick trees. Time to douse the fire and dispose of the coals....but where to dispose of them? The bins nearby trash lined with plastic bags, and the coals still warm...
How about digging a small pit in the sand near the rock, and dousing them with sand as well as the little water we had? Yeah, that worked.
Then, as we were about to leave, Parkie swung past to ask if we knew about anyone having a fire? We mentioned the other guys, then left in a hurry.....lucky I hadn't taken time to add more fluids to dampen the ground.....
The stars were brilliant back at camp, and we settled to a fair night's slumber.....broken by the call of nature at about 4am (damn that beer!)....
Friday dawned, but after our long days travel, we didn't get moving until late morning.
We headed to the main village, and found an information desk with an enthusiastic Ranger who told us all about the free shuttle buses. They all run around the map points in order, she said. Great, we
should be able to see the Falls, the Ahwanhee Lodge and the Visitor Centre whilst the carr stays parked.....
But she lied! All except some buses that go their own ways......so we had a bit of a rush to head to the Hotel for their 1pm guided tour.....which was okay....and She popped up there as well. We didn't give her a chance to lie to us again, & I reckon our guide, Sam, had read the leaflet I read before we started......so we ducked out after 30 minutes and headed back on the bus to Lower Yosemite Falls.
Guess it's been a dry summer, as there was not a drop of water in sight there ! Ah well, I'm sure it will all be good by winter....
Back through the museum - native American playing instruments and making funky shapes with string......and then She was there again.....the ubiquitous Ranger, stalking us around the park. We had to get away.
So we took a drive......a long drive, 32 miles, to get about a mile away.
Although about 3,000 feet higher, up at Glacier Point. A long, twisty road. & disaster: our plans to enjoy the cafe
before sunset were rather scuppered by the fact that it had closed, and the shop was about to: bah ! Okay, so dinner would have to be an icecream.....surrounded by two chunky cookies (it came like that out of the pack, honest !!).
We walked along, enjoying the breathtaking views across - this was more like it ! At the end, we could peer over an edge and look directly down - 3,000 feet, remember! - so see our campsite way down below. What a spot !
We sat on the hot rock, wondering if we had arrived too early - sunset wasn't for another hour. The time passed quickly though, and a Ranger popped up to give an excellent talk about the area, the reason for the spectacular sunsets, as well as how darned lucky he was to have this gig. We think his parents were at the back (spotted them with him before he started).
Ended up spending a good couple of hours there - fabulous!
The road back was slower in the dark....especially when a line of us got stuck behind someone who decided 19mph was more than enough.....they ended up finally getting
out of the way when the cars ahead of us started flashing lights !
Our last night in camp was disturbed by ....no, not bears: noisy neighbours ! Inconsiderate campers making an unholy row banging their bear-box open & closed several times....it wasn't only us disturbed, we heard others telling them to "shhhh!"
Again up very early, to have a quick shower and a cheeky coffee & cinammon bun......and we were off, back heading west !
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