Up, Up, and Over
Today we went up, up, and over the park. After a good nights sleep, a buffet breakfast at the hotel and avoiding a minor emergency we were headed back into Yosemite. The minor emergency is one the kids said I had to include in the blog. Upon exiting the parking lot of the hotel, Donald had a minor panic attack. He said a few words, smoothly put the car in park, stepped outside and grabbed his coffee off the top of the car. Minor emergency avoided.
Today's travels took us along the Tioga Road which goes all the way across Yosemite National Park. Though it is less than 50 miles long, it is one of those crazy, curvy, no guard rail, 9000 feet up roads - so it took a while. With all roads in Yosemite offering exciting views, one can only imagine the vistas present on a road that goes above and across Yosemite.
It is so hard to not stop at every pullout available for each stop shows you something different. The varying landscapes alone are worth the drive and the open views of the park are just a bonus. One of
our first stops was at a small lake along the side of the road. The water was so clear you can see straight to the bottom and the water is so still that you see the reflections of the trees along the edge. After some photos we continued up traveling through areas that were mostly rock. Very little trees survive in that area. Part of that is due to varying climates. Tioga Road is under snow about 9 months of the year. We did see some snow today and had to hike in a little, but with the warm temps this week, I am certain it will be gone very soon. They receive a great deal of snow every year. That is what creates all the massive waterfalls in the heart of the park. It also creates dozens of lakes and ponds along the way. Most of those waterfalls and lakes will be dried up by the middle of the summer.
We made it to the other side after several more stops including the visitor center and a quick lunch. We were going to venture further out of the park to a ghost town, but decided it would not
be wise for it was still another hour away. And for every mile we head out of the park was another mile added to the route back. We had all been in the car too long, so it was a good decision to skip that part. We did stop and hike to a lake on the way back. It was the most solitude we have seen inside the park - seeing only 4 people during the one and a half mile trek. It was a very nice hike complete with areas of snow we hiked across and a beautiful lake to reward us at the end.
We searched for more wildlife, but they did not want to be found today. We decided to go back into the valley after exiting the Tioga Road to get some items for dinner. Yosemite Valley has a mini-Walmart type of store with everything from souvenirs to baked chicken, and the prices are very reasonable; especially for a store inside a national park. We grabbed dinner and breakfast for tomorrow and headed back to the hotel. But on our way out we see first responders, including 2 helicopters on the valley floor apparently responding
to an urgent need. It was right in front of El Capitan, so our fear is that one of the climbers was injured. We stopped to locate any remaining climbers on the massive mountain and then headed back out.
We ate dinner in our room and went to the lobby to catch up on emails, messages, our route for tomorrow, and our blog. They have a common area for wifi use, which has been handy. Cell service is extremely limited in the mountains which is forcing us to do without it. That is probably a blessing in disguise. Tomorrow we head back to the city - San Jose.
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