Yosemite has been on my bucket list as long as Glacier. It always seemed out of the way so I made sure it was a must-stop on the route. I have seen pictures since I was young and always heard about the infamous El Captian and the adventurous souls who choose to climb such things. I have to say that it was very different than I expected. I have seen a lot of canyons in various locations but never anything in Cali. The place is – if anything – a monument to this stunningly beautiful state.
We woke at 3 AM and started the 2 1/2-hour journey to Yosemite Valley. The route was a backtrack for the first part, including yesterday’s award-winning twisty path. Jake got car sick and threw up in my lap 😒. Poor puppy 🐶.
The drive in took us along a roaring Merced River. Several sections of the road were severely damaged but the detours were minimal.
Once in the park were headed to s vista known as Tunnel View (it’s at the opening of a tunnel) to watch the sunrise over Yosemite Valley at sunrise! We arrived with mere minutes to spare.
The drive through Yosemite Valley is a one-way loop. In the beginning, there was a big operation to remove huge large trees that succumbed to the winter flooding. Our first stop on the drive eastwards was at Swinging Bridge. The area was really flooded, with giant trees standing in the water. It offered incredible views of Upper Yosemite Falls.
From there we drove around the loop and were now moving westward. We stopped at the Village to hike to Yosemite Falls.
The Falls were roaring with water – it was a moving sight! No one I talked to who had visited before had seen it flowing like it was. A stunning sight!
The next stop was further east. I have heard about El Captain forever it seems. Apparently a big attraction for the scare-yourselves-to-death climbers. It is so big it’s really hard to believe. At least Jake thinks so!
If you look 180 degrees in the other direction is Cathedral Spires. Another magnificent view!
The final stop (before looking for merch!) was at Valley View. This is another view you see quite often of the valley looking east. On the right side, you can see an excellent view of Bridalveil Falls!
After picking up some great collectibles, we headed home around noon. The line to get in was long – according to the markers a ten-minute wait. I can only imagine what it would be like on the weekend! The park was pretty crowded around Yosemite Village and lodges but you could still find parking spots.
A great day – another 2 1/2 hours home! In the daylight, this time at least, Jake didn’t get sick!
On day 2 we took off and did some housekeeping. After lunch, Jake and I did a short (but steep) hike on the other side of the river from where we were staying.
The hike rose steeply to afford a great view of the campground and the south fork of the Tuolumne River. This is the river that flows out of Hetch Hetchy which I will visit tomorrow. We also saw many large trees with significant burn marks as well as others that suffered irrevocable damage.
Jake got the day off on our third, and last, day in the Yosemite area. I was heading for Hetch Hetchy, another part of Yosemite only 20 miles from here. It is the reservoir for San Francisco as well as a power generating plant. No dogs allowed!
Originally a canyon much like Yosemite Valley, it was converted in the early 1900s to a reservoir – much to the dismay of legendary John Muri who led an effort to keep it in its natural condition. The battle was legendary but the needs of San Fransisco came first at the time.
After the earthquake and fires of 1906, San Fransisco’s infrastructure was badly damaged and they needed a new source of water. Eventually, Congress stepped in and passed an act allowing the construction of the reservoir in a national park. It was built out several times since with an 88-foot extension and power generating station. There is an active campaign to restore the site to its natural condition.
I had a good hike with my new REI carbon fiber trekking poles. Even did some scrambling over rocks. I was rewarded, much like the desert, with a rainbow of color from the wildflowers. I crossed over the dam, under the tunnel, and up to the Teleelala and Wapama waterfalls. They were flowing prodigiously, to say the least.
On the way back the sun came up and I got some great shots of the waterfalls.
It was a great morning and felt good to have done a 4-mile hike with my new left knee. As a bonus, my right knee and back did not get very sore. I call that a win! Maybe I should quit while I am ahead!
Check another one off the bucket list! As the last evening comes, thunderstorms bark lightning. Maybe we will see rain for the first time since Lousiana! Hopefully not while I am breaking camp tomorrow morning! Next stop – Reno and Lake Tahoe.