Yosemite Roadtrip 2011
This is PART 3 – GET READY FOR MORE OF NATURE’S AWESOME BEAUTY!!!
To view PART 1 – click this link:
To view PART 2 – click this link:
PART 3 – Down in the Valley: Yosemite Valley
At the end of PART 2 we left off at Olmstead Point on Monday morning, heading down into Yosemite Valley, destination: Yosemite Lodge. More pictures from Olmstead Point:
The drive from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley takes about an hour and a half. There are lots of places to turnout and stop along the way. We stopped for pictures and used the facilities at a picnic area on our way to Yosemite Lodge.
We arrived at Yosemite Lodge too early in the day and even though we were able to check in, our room wouldn’t be ready for a few hours. We were given the Lodge WiFi password, which enables you to access park visitor information via your mobile device, nice technological extra for the “internet generation”. We thought about taking the Valley Tour, where you ride around in an open air bus, but instead we parked the car and hopped the shuttle to our first adventure, just past Curry Village: the hike to the base of Half Dome and what used to be Mirror Lake.
Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite’s most familiar rock formation, the crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor. On March 28, 2009, a large rock slide of 1,500,000 cubic feet occurred from Ahwiyah Point. The slide damaged a large area under the dome. No one was injured but hundreds of trees were knocked down and a portion of the Mirror Lake trail was buried. The slide registered an earthquake reading of 2.5 on the Richter scale.
Mirror Lake is a small, seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek between North Dome and Half Dome. It is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled most of Yosemite Valley at the end of the last Ice Age, and is close to disappearing due to sediment accumulation.
The road from the shuttle stop is only accessible by walking, bicycle or park transport for disabled visitors. It’s a nice hike, and of course, wherever you go in Yosemite, carry drinking water and prepare for changes in the weather. We hiked out to the picnic area at Mirror Lake, enjoyed the area for a time and then hike back and caught the shuttle bus to Yosemite Village. As you can see, it was a beautiful day, and the weather was warm. It was the Monday of the weekend after Labor Day, so schools were in session and the valley was less crowded than during the Summer season.
We visited the Visitor’s Center, the Ansel Adams Gallery and the Village Store. I grabbed a burger at the grill and we sat outside on the patio with German tourists. After lunch we hiked over to the base of Yosemite Falls.
Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America. It is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak. The total 2,425 feet from the top of the upper falls to the base of the lower falls qualifies Yosemite Falls as the sixth highest waterfall in the world.
After a short hike back to the Lodge we checked in again and got our room keys (no keycards here). The Yosemite Lodge is basically bare bones motel accomodations. After the flood, they took out most of the cabins, and now there are just a number of two-story motel buildings surrounding the Lodge proper and the shops and dining rooms. It’s definitely NOT the Ahwahnee Hotel, but compared to the tent cabins and communal shower at Tuolumne Lodge, it’s luxury. Actually it’s wonderful to have a warm bed, with a private shower and toilet, after roughing it in the rain and cold. We put our stuff in the room and then drove over to Sentinel Beach (yes there is a beach) and the less traveled end of the valley for some more sightseeing.
When you visit the valley to fully enjoy the park, be sure to get to the less traveled areas. At Sentinel Beach, we were almost alone, so we made friends with a Raven.
North Dome is a granite dome and is the southern summit of Indian Ridge on the northeastern wall of Yosemite Valley.
El Capitan is a granite monolith located on the north side of Yosemite Valley near its western end. It towers over Yosemite about 3,000 feet from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers.
We drove back to the lodge and had dinner at the dining hall/cafeteria. They have different food stations and there are lots of tasty choices and the food prices reflect the vendor monopoly in the park. I had the chicken sandwich and my stepbrother had fish. After dinner we went back to the room took showers and got cleaned up. Then we went over to the Mountain Room Bar and watched Monday Night Football and had a beer.
It was a clear night, the moon was full and there were many stars visible in the sky. So, before going to bed I went for a night hike around the Lodge. After a good night’s sleep, we woke up early, grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee at the dining hall/cafeteria and hit the road heading west out of the valley.
We stopped at the Wawona Tunnel View picture point on the way out and got some great pics.
The drive home was uneventful. We stopped for lunch at a diner along the freeway and I had a great breakfast. We hit some rain coming back into Los Angeles, but made good time and avoided the speed traps.
It was a great weekend! My stepbrother covered the cost of the tent cabin and lodge and I paid for the meals and gas. We had a great time (except for the altitude sickness) and saw a lot in the short time we were there. These are just a sampling of the pictures we took and the things we saw. It was great to get back to Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley and I’ll probably write about my previous trips another time. If you’ve made it all the way through please leave a comment or LIKE this if you liked it.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I encourage everyone to visit Yosemite National Park, because the pictures can’t compare to the wonders of nature experienced first hand.
Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com
RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>
The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)