Going to Yosemite
Today began early as most all my days do, but to my surprise the rest of the family also got up early and we were on the road by 7am. It probably had something to do with how uncomfortable the hotel beds were. Regardless of the reason, we were headed to Yosemite and the extra time just meant more daylight hours to see more of the park.
We stopped at a local bagel shop and grabbed breakfast and hit the road. After reading a about the various ways to get in to Yosemite, we decided to take the scenic route. After all, we were here to see the sights. The scenic route takes us on the interstate for a few miles with tons of windmills on the hillside, then it takes us on the 'business route', but it is not the typical business route. This business route is along a back country road following a railroad track with hardly any businesses to be found. It had us questioning our decision - some one could get lost in there and never be found. I am still not sure how the business route and scenic route
are the same road, but we were following directions and ventured forward. A short while later we find ourselves among miles and miles of fruit orchards. From what we could tell, they were mostly oranges, strawberries, and apricots. It was a very remote area, for most of the time it was just us and the trees. An hour or so later we started to encounter the scenic part of the route. Rolling hills, lakes, non fruit trees, but still hardly any people. We were able to stop in the middle of the road for pictures and not impact any traffic or be fearful of getting ran over. Then the mountains come into view which only meant mountain roads were ahead. They are beautiful but stomach churning. We drove up and down a few going through the old mining towns of Coulterville and Mariposa and decide to get an early lunch for we were all tired of being in the car. After an hour or so, we were ready to once again get back to the twisting roads and find our hotel, hoping for an early check in.
The roads leading into Yosemite are only a small taste of what
lies ahead, but no less scary. These mountain roads have drops of thousands of feet with no guard rails to keep you from hitting the bottom. So terrifying at times but wonderful, you have to struggle between keeping an eye on the road and looking at the sights. Traffic is pretty much non existent for we are able to again just stop in the middle of the road, which is much safer than trying to pull off for those photo ops. A short while later we see it- Yosemite! And our hotel.
We go to check into the hotel, but our room is not ready so we opt for a different room so that we can be out of the car for a while. We stayed in Yosemite View Lodge which is right at the entrance to the park. It is a no-frills, no-fuss hotel. It is very basic, old and dated. The only thing it has going for it is the location. We had 3 options when booking a room for this part of the trip: Stay inside Yosemite spending $400-$500 per night, drive 1 to 2 hours each day to and from the hotel in a nearby
town to the park or stay at Yosemite View Lodge. The Lodge won out all reasoning.
After a a little rest we drive into the park. The weather forecast said it would be around 80 today, but the thermometer is reading 97. It is hot and bright! There are no clouds in the sky so the sun just reflects off the white rapids and white granite rock making everything so bright. We see many kayakers taking advantage of the warm temps and swift river. There is no opportunity for pics though, traffic has picked up and no pull outs. Besides, we have bigger things to go see.
Yosemite National Park is huge in both size and components. It had boulders bigger than houses, granites walls and cliffs taller than anything you have ever seen. It has waterfalls so massive that you can see them before ever hitting the trail and feel the spray long before reaching them. In every direction is this massive beauty that you just can't stop looking at. I had seen pictures of the 'highlights' in the park and read about them as well. But the pictures cannot express the enormous size of this place
and no amount of reading can prepare you to grasp what you are about to see. After looking in every direction at all the wonders of this park so far (only a few miles in), requiring you to look straight up many times, we stop to hike Bridal Veil Falls. It is a tall beautiful falls that can be seen from many areas of the park. It was here that we realize why traffic was so low on the roads - they were all at this waterfall! We did not linger - grabbed a few photos on moved on onward. We stopped at Tunnel View. It is a pullout at an overlook of some of the major pieces of the parks-granite walls, waterfalls, valleys, all in one picture. We took our photo but it can not show the massive size of these pieces. Then we moved on up the mountain to Glacier Point. It is a long windy road that has several pull outs and 2 major points of interest. They are overlooks of more of the components of the park - most notably half-dome, several waterfalls and Yosemite Valley. As expected, it is a jaw dropping sight-cannot begin to
describe it. It is here that the car riding and twisty roads have started taking an effect on me. Not my car-sick-prone kids and husband. No they are fine, it is me that is turning a little green. So we took some extra time here to let my mind and stomach settle a bit and it was a good thing we did. Just as we were leaving this area, we spot a brown bear hunting for food. We spent a little time watching him and then moved back down the mountain to the valley.
The valley is where all the other people were. This area gives you a more up close view of what we saw from Glacier Point, but no less disappointing. I don't think you can grow tired of looking at this place. We saw several deer and various birds ,but no more bears or the one animal on my wish list - the mountain lion. When leaving the valley we stop to watch the climbers on El Capitan. You cannot see them from the naked eye, but we think we spotted 6 of them. We zoomed in on the camera and took some photos. It takes
them 2to 3 days to climb this massive mountain which means they sleep by hanging from the mountain, don't think I would get much sleep if hanging by a cable tied to a wall 5 thousand feet off the ground. We then decide to call it a day. We go back to the hotel, grab a pizza and get some sleep in a real bed.
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