Tag Archives: camping

Not Burning Man 2021

Not Burning Man! Breaking News!
Black Rock Desert, Nevada – August 2021
TTITD? TOTITD? Or just a radical simulation?

00Camp Envy

People will be out on The Playa (Black Rock Desert, Nevada) again this year!
Many more people this year then were at the “Pretend Burn” last year most likely.
Last year, the whole world was deep into the COVID-19 Pandemic
and the BMorg told people not to go, but of course people went….

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So this year, people have forgotten about the Pandemic and want to go.
There is NO BURNING MAN this year.
There wasn’t time or anyway to sell tickets and everything else.
Too many unknowns and TOO MUCH LIABILITY. AND NO CASH TOO.
So, hopefully they will be able to have Burning Man 2022… but who knows?

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“These rules are pretty specific.
It’s almost as if they know who’s showing up…”
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Practice the “Ten Principles” and also Consent (“the eleventh principle”)
AND ALWAYS SAFETY THIRD!
Safety for OTHERS, Safety for PLACE AND PROPERTY,
and then SAFETY THIRD! (for yourself)
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This letter is from Chelsea McKinney, Burning Man Project Manager from the
Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office
June 7, 2021
Good Morning,
You are being contacted because you have reached out with questions or you have submitted an application for a commercial or organized group Special Recreation Permit (SRP) to come out to the Black Rock Desert playa this summer.
I am writing to inform you that the Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office (BLM), has made decisions regarding the activities mentioned above. These decisions have been made with Public Health and Safety, and Resource Protection in mind, and we hope that you all and other visitors will respect these decisions. The decisions are:
No Organized Group SRPs will be authorized/issued.
People are still welcome to visit the Black Rock Desert playa and camp.
No Commercial/Vending SRPs will be authorized/issued. Camps must be self-sufficient. No deliveries, or services will be authorized. This includes porta-potties. Camps can get their own toilets, off of public land, and bring them out themselves, then return them. This must all be done by someone in your camp. No pumping services will be authorized.
The BLM will also be implementing Temporary Restrictions of the playa.
These restrictions include:
Commercial activities, as defined at 43 CFR 2932.5, are prohibited.
Camping use is limited to the flat and un-vegetated playa surface.
Building of structures is prohibited. A structure is defined as construction, placement or organization of parts, pieces, or objects that are not intended for sleeping, cooking, or protection from the elements, such as shade tents.
Ignition of fires other than a campfire is prohibited, unless specified by a fire prevention order. Campfires may only be burned in containers that are sturdily elevated six (6) inches above the playa surface and in a manner that does not pose a risk of fire debris falling onto the playa surface. Plastic and nonflammable materials may not be burned in campfires. Burning of construction materials, pallets, or wood with screws or nails is prohibited.
Possessing, discharging, using or allowing the use of fireworks, pyrotechnic or incendiary devices is prohibited.
Possessing, shooting, or causing to burn; explosives or explosive material, to include binary explosive targets is prohibited.
The discharge and dumping of grey water or black water onto the playa/ground surface is prohibited. Grey water is defined as water that has been used for cooking, washing, dishwashing, or bathing and/or contains soap, detergent, or food scraps/residue, regardless of whether such products are biodegradable or have been filtered or disinfected. Black water is defined as waste water containing feces, urine and/or flush water.
Depositing human waste (liquid and/or solid) on the playa/ground surface is prohibited.
Dumping or discharge of vehicle oil, petroleum products or other hazardous household, commercial or industrial refuse or waste onto the playa surface is prohibited. This applies to all recreational vehicles, trailers, motorhomes, port-a-potties, generators and other camp infrastructure.
Storage of over 20 gallons of fuel must include secondary containment capable of holding and preventing leaks and spills on the playa surface. Storage of less than 20 gallons must include a spill pad or other measures to prevent leaks and spills. Secondary containment is defined as capturing the entire contents of the largest tank in the containment area in the event of a leak or spill.
Unauthorized dumping or discharge of fresh water onto the playa surface in a manner that creates a hazard or nuisance is prohibited.
Aircraft landing, taking off, touch and go’s, and taxiing is prohibited. Aircraft is defined in Title 18, U.S.C., section 31 (a)(1) and includes lighter-than-aircraft and ultra-light craft. However, in an emergency, fixed wing aircraft and helicopters that are providing emergency medical services are not prohibited.
Possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage by the driver or operator of any motorized vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is in motion, is prohibited. An open container is defined as any bottle, can, or other container which contains an alcoholic beverage, if that container does not have a closed top or lid for which the seal has not been broken. If the container has been opened one or more times, and the lid or top has been replaced, that container is an open container. The possession of an open container includes any open container that is physically possessed by the driver or operator or is adjacent to and reachable by that driver or operator. This includes, but is not limited, to containers in a cup holder or rack adjacent to the driver or operator, containers on a vehicle floor next to the driver or operator, and containers on a seat or console area next to a driver or operator.
All motor vehicles must comply with the following requirements:
A. The operator of a motor vehicle must possess a valid driver’s license.
B. Motor vehicles and trailers must possess evidence of valid registration.
C. It is prohibited to ride on the top of or outside of the passenger compartment (the area intended for sitting inside a vehicle).
D. Motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle or golf cart, must be equipped with at least two working headlamps and at least two functioning red tail lamps. Motorcycles or golf carts require only one working headlamp and one working red taillight during night hours, from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise. Trailers pulled by motor vehicles must be equipped with at least two functioning tail lamps and at least two functioning brake lights.
E. Motor vehicles, including motorcycles or golf carts, must display a red, amber, or yellow light brake light visible to the rear in normal sunlight upon application of the brake.
F. Except for the flat and un-vegetated playa surface, all vehicle use is limited to designated vehicle routes (roads and ways).
G. Motor vehicle is defined as any device designed for and capable of travel over land and which is self-propelled by a motor.
H. Trailer means every vehicle without motive power designed to carry property or passengers wholly on its own structure and to be drawn by a motor vehicle, this includes camp trailers, pop-up trailers, 4’x7’ or larger flatbed trailers, enclosed cargo trailers, or RV style trailers.
The possession and or use of lasers is prohibited. A laser means any laser beam device or demonstration laser product that emits a single point of light amplified by the stimulated emission of radiation that is visible to the human eye.
The discharge of any firearm is prohibited within the flat and un-vegetated surface of the Black Rock Desert playa. Firearm means any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun or other device which is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the ignition of a propellant. Discharge means the expelling of a projectile from a firearm. Discharge of firearms outside of the flat and un-vegetated playa surface requires a safe back shooting across or towards roads and trails is prohibited.
The use or discharge of flame effects is prohibited. Flame effect is defined as the combustion of solids, liquids, or gases to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena. This includes all flames that are automated, switched, pressurized or having any other action than simply being lit on fire; as well as projects using propane or other liquid or gaseous fuels.
We also ask that everyone continue to follow Leave No Trace principles and follow all other state and local laws.
Please be respectful of the communities and services you use when coming to the Black Rock Desert playa.
Please use best judgement and know your limits. The BLM wants visitors to have a good time when visiting public land but we want you to be safe. Be aware that Emergency Services (medical, fire, law enforcement) are limited around the area.
I want to thank you all for reaching out and being responsible recreationists. I hope to see you out on the Black Rock Desert playa this summer. If you have questions please email me to schedule a time to talk. Thank you.
Chelsea McKinney
Burning Man Project Manager
Bureau of Land Management – Winnemucca District
Black Rock Field Office
5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
(775) 304-8216 mobile
(775) 623-1771 office
cmmckinney@blm.gov
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Please check with individual offices regarding customer services
available by phone or email and the status of recreation sites and facilities:
https://www.blm.gov/office/nevada-state-office
  • Nevada State Office 775-861-6400
  • Southern Nevada District 702-515-5000
  • Winnemucca District 775-623-1500

Nevada Health Response website: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

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As per The Bureau of Land Management in Nevada website:

Responsible recreation is essential to ensure your public lands remain open to multiple uses. Please remember to stay on existing routes and practice “Leave No Trace” principles while enjoying your public lands.

Nevada’s public lands are open to camping. There is no fee for dispersed, primitive camping, but there is a limit to the number of days one may camp in the same location. Dispersed, primitive camping is camping where there are no developed amenities such as water or toilets. Primitive campers are asked to follow the “Leave No Trace” land use ethics. Dispersed camping in a motorhome is allowed, but dumping black or gray water on public lands isn’t allowed. Some campground are established that requires a fee to manage it.

A person may not occupy undeveloped public lands or designated sites or areas for more than 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period.
Following the 14 days, a person and their personal property must relocate to a site outside of at least a 25 mile radius from the occupied site for a period of 14 days.

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The following Travel Guidelines have been developed for travelers entering, departing, or returning to the State of Nevada. Traveler must follow state and local requirements, and at a minimum, avoid large indoor gatherings, maintain social distancing, and always wear a face covering.

You should NOT travel if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not yet recovered
  • Have been presumptuously diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been potentially exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19

IF you travel, make sure to do the following:

  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol)
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

Before you decide to travel to or from Nevada, do an assessment of the following:

  • Do you live with someone who might be more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Are you more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

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Sunday, Temple Burn 2017
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Come on, baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire


YUPDATED: Friday, June 11, 2021 – 2:00am
We just ripped this pic from P. Mackey (who took this pic earlier today)
The Playa on Thursday, June 10, 2021
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Some “beginner” guidelines to get you started::
Please consult the Burning Man website for THE SURVIVAL GUIDE and other info.
There are some “rules and regulations” and even some LAWS that you need to know.
WE ARE NOT AN ATTORNEY.
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! Consult a licensed attorney.

Never burn anything directly on The Playa surface!
Use a Burn Platform or Burn Barrel for all pyrotechnics.
And technically you are not allowed to burn anything this year (as per the BLM)

Store fuel safely! Separate Fuel Safe Containment is required!
Make sure everything is ventilated properly!
(generators, fuel storage, cooking equipment, etc.)
Have charged fire-extinguishers and other fire-fighting equipment in your camp.

LEAVE NO TRACE! Pack it in, pack it out. LEAVE NO MOOP! (Matter Out Of Place)
There are no trash cans in the Black Rock Desert. Don’t let anything hit the ground.
Refer to the Burning Man website for more about LNT (Leave No Trace) and MOOP.

DON’T PEE OR POOP ON THE PLAYA! Seriously. Prepare for bodily functions.
It’s against the law to urinate/defecate on The Playa! There are serious FINES if caught!
Also, it’s fucking GROSS and OFFENSIVE and INCONSIDERATE, so don’t do it PLEASE.

Dispose of all fluids and materials, including gray water, by the appropriate means.
Again, DO NOT DUMP ON THE PLAYA! Evaporate Grey water properly.
Take the rest with you.

Drive safely and at a reasonable speed for the conditions.
Don’t drive erratically, ride on the roof or hang off the side of your vehicle.
DO NOT DRIVE WHILE INTOXICATED!  (“Buzzed” Driving is Drunk Driving!)

DON’T DRIVE ON WET PLAYA!
If it rains, do not drive until The Playa is completely dry.
Do not get stuck in The Playa Mud
it doesn’t just wash off and you may not recover your vehicle.
Towing from The Playa can get into the THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
(if you can get a tow truck to come out on The Playa,
most warranties and/or services end at the highway and they won’t service you)

Secure your load, inspect your trailer, have a backup plan.
EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING TO AND FROM THE PLAYA!
Obey all Traffic Laws and Vehicle Regulations! YOU MAY STILL BE PULLED OVER!
Nevada State Police, Reservation Police, Bureau of Land Management Police,
the FEDS, and other LEOs are just looking for a reason…..  DON’T GIVE THEM ONE!
Fines are high for all violations. You don’t want to go to jail in Nevada.
In the past they have harassed, searched, sniffed, and arrested Burners
using questionable and sometimes illegal tactics.
If you are stopped REMAIN SILENT!
DO NOT CONSENT TO SEARCH (even if you’re clean)
If you are searched GET NAMES AND BADGE NUMBERS!
They must identify themselves!
Get it on video if you can without antagonizing the situation!
USE THE ACLU APP!
If you are arrested: REMAIN SILENT! ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY!
Just STFU! Do not talk to officers. DO NOT TALK TO OFFICERS!
Once you are arrested
“ANYTHING YOU SAY, CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU!”
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY! ASK FOR AN ATTORNEY!
They cannot ask you anything else after that. REMAIN SILENT!
And do not try to talk your way out, it doesn’t work.
They want you to incriminate yourself.
DO NOT LIE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT! REMAIN SILENT!
ASK IF YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!
ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO!
If they say no, ASK IF YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!
REPEAT UNTIL THEY ARREST YOU OR LET YOU GO! REMAIN SILENT!
“I have been advised to remain silent. Am I under arrest? Am I free to go?”

Bring everything you need for RADICAL SELF RELIANCE and SURVIVAL!
The Nevada Desert can kill you.  Emergency Services are limited.
A HOSPITAL IS FAR AWAY!  If you are seriously injured you could die.
Have Medical and Travel Insurance for Medical Evacuation (by helicopter)!
Refer to the Burning Man SURVIVAL GUIDE for more info about NOT DYING.
1-2 Gallons of WATER per Person per Day is REQUIRED for SURVIVAL
Bring it with you! Use it wisely! STAY HYDRATED! PISS CLEAR!
Food. Shelter from the Elements – THE BLACK ROCK DESERT IS NO JOKE.
(SUN, EXTEME HEAT, WIND, WIND STORMS,
FREEZING COLD, PLAYA DUST, AND RAIN!
Prepare for the worst, you will probably experience it during your vacation.
Have FUN. Don’t die.

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YouTube:


Another UPDATE: Wednesday August 11, 2021:

DIY if you aren’t making the trip to The Playa:
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And if you’re still going to Northern Nevada,
expect SMOKE from the California and Oregon Wildfires!
AND THE COVID-19 DELTA VARIANT IS STILL SPREADING!

NOT BURNING MAN SUCKS. DON’T GO.

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Burning Man 2014 – Wake of the Flood on Monday



UPDATE Wednesday, August 18, 2021
For anyone going to the Black Rock Desert this month, be aware of these things:
– The Smoke from Fires in California and Oregon will impact your experience.
– The lack of infrastructure and contracted law enforcement,
porta-potties, and medical services.
– Cell reception is BAD.
You may be out of contact or have limited service on The Playa.
– The nearest Trauma-II Hospital is 141 miles away and a 3+ hour drive to Reno.

The Bureau of Land Management has published temporary restrictions, regulations,
and rules that will be in effect until October 31, 2021 to prevent Burning Man events.
If you are going to the Black Rock Desert, make sure you read and review the rules.

The Playa from the 8 Mile Gate Entrance today:
(pic by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office)
Note: No Black Rock Mountains visible!
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We won’t be there. But have a good time if you go. Don’t die.

The end of the road….



CV! Part 150! – THANK YOU! THANK YOU! 200000 HITS! And Our 8 Year Anniversary! And 1000 Blog Posts! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

CV! Part 150! – THANK YOU! THANK YOU! 200000 HITS!
Two Hundred Thousand Unsolicited Hits! THANK YOU LOYAL READERS!
And it’s Our 8 Year Anniversary! And 1000 Blog Posts!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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Thank you loyal readers! Thank you curious visitors!
Thank you to everyone who has visited us since we began this Blog in February 2013!
200000 is another number. But really we are surprised to still be here and at this place.

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200000 HITS!
Two Hundred Thousand Hits on this Blog!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
We don’t advertise. We don’t promote. We just publish our Blog Posts.
Obviously, people have found us here on the interweb over time.
200000 UNSOLICITED HITS!
And really we don’t even know how this number is actually calculated.
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WOW! THANK YOU LOYAL READERS! And thank you FAMILY!
We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you! Thank you!

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FIREWORKS!

TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND HITS!
HAPPINESS IS A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN GOAL! BE HAPPY TODAY!
The three key aspects that will lead to our well-being and happiness:
an end to poverty, a reduction of inequality, and the protection of our planet.

200000
TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND HITS!
DO NOT TRAVEL! STAY HOME AND STAY HEALTHY!

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And it’s also our 8 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
EIGHT YEARS! EIGHT! EIGHT YEARS MAN! (that’s a long time)
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We started this Blog in February of 2013. And we are still at it in 2021.

NOTE: We started this Blog Post in February 2013, and set it up at around 190000 Hits.
It sat for a month, while we gathered the final 10000 or so views to reach 200000.
And now it’s April, and we are finally there! WOO-HOO. Leave your comments below.

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And now we are at 200000 HITS!
Two Hundred Thousand Unsolicited Hits!
Eight years! 1000 Blog Posts! (or thereabouts)
A sh*tload of time and effort and imagination.
THANK YOU LOYAL READERS!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

NOTE: This is the pre-announced celebratory “200000 HITS” Blog Post!

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FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 

And we also reached 1000 Blog Posts too this month!
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This is also our 150th CoronaVirus Diary Blog Post.
COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the United States.
STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME!
ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT. ZERO CONTACT.
WEARAFUCKING(DOUBLE)MASK! WEARAFUCKING(DOUBLE)MASK!
We started chronicling our self-isolation and quarantine during the pandemic,
over a year ago in February and March of 2020.
We also got very political over the last two years. And we are not sorry at all.
DONALD TRUMP AND THE GOP TRAITORS REMAIN
A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO THE WORLD in April of 2021!

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READ OUR PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS!
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FIREWORKS!

DO NOT TRAVEL! STAY HOME AND STAY HEALTHY!
STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME! STAYTHEFUCKHOME!
WEARAFUCKINGMASK! WEARAFUCKINGMASK! WEARAFUCKINGMASK!

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One Year in Quarantine beginning March 11, 2020
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If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away!
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
You can also chat with them online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

NOTE:  if you TEXT 741741 when you are feeling depressed, suicidal or anxious, a crisis worker will text you back and continue to text with you? Many people, especially younger folks, do not like talking on the phone and would be more comfortable texting. It’s a free service to ANYONE: teens, adults, etc. who lives in the U.S. It’s run by The Crisis Text Line and is legit.

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BLACKLIVESMATTER! STOP POLICE BRUTALITY AND VIOLENCE!
STOP SYSTEMIC RACISM! STOP KILLING BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE!

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“Why then the world’s mine oyster, which I with sword will open.” 
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Throwback Thursday – Flashback Friday again.

Throwback Thursday! Flashback Friday!

Feeling grateful as I look at old photographs. Remembering the many trips and vacations I was fortunate to take and the wonderful places I visited growing up. Here are just a few:

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

Every year, Grandma would take all the grandkids to Anaheim for 2 days at Disneyland and a night at the Disneyland Hotel. Grandma also took me on many trips: Glacier National Park, Montana, Niagara Falls, Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton and all across Canada, London and Scotland. And of course Chicago and New York City:

New York City and Liberty Island with Grandma!

New York City and Liberty Island with Grandma!

I also traveled a lot with my family. Vacations to New York, Washington D.C., Virginia and Philadelphia in 1976 during the nation’s Bicentennial; Hawaii, Big Sur, Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, Lake Tahoe and northern California, San Diego, the Grand Canyon and “Four Corners”, Chicago, Kenosha, a very weird Thanksgiving in Arizona, Mammoth, Palm Springs (where my Grandparents retired), Park City, Utah and even Las Vegas.

Skeet shooting at the Greenhorn ranch

Skeet shooting at the Greenhorn Ranch in Northern California!

Scuba diving in Hawaii!

Scuba diving in Kona on the Big Island Hawaii!

Big Sur 1975 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hiking in Big Sur, California 1975

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite & Sequoia National Parks

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain

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I Posted This Travel Answer About Crater Lake!

Crater Lake is a volcanic caldera lake in southern Oregon. It’s the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and famous for its deep blue color, water clarity and elevation. The lake partly fills a nearly 4,000 feet deep caldera that was formed around 5,677 BC by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama.

Crater Lake, Oregon (photo from wikipedia.org)

Aerial View of Crater Lake, Oregon (photo from wikipedia.org)

Q: Place to stay at Crater Lake National Park? A: The best place to stay inside the park is the historic Crater Lake Lodge on the rim of the lake. Spend the extra money and get a room with a view if available! From the nps.gov website: http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/hours.htm Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is normally open mid May through mid October (2014 Operating Season is May 16 – October 12, 2013). Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be made on-line or by calling (888) 774-2728 Cabins At Mazama has 40 units and is located in the Mazama Village complex. It is open late May through early October (2014 Operating Season is May 23 – October 5, 2014). Reservations are recommended. (888) 774-2728 RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED! Accommodations for spring and summer book early and sell out fast! Check the nps.gov website for info. There are additional places to stay (motels and cabins for rent) and activities (rafting, fishing, horseback riding, and more) available outside the park near Lost Creek Lake, Prospect, Fort Klamath, along the Rogue River and Highway 62 down the mountain. http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

Travel Answers about Yosemite: Best Camping Sites in Yosemite Valley?

Yosemite National Park: Best camping sites in the Yosemite Valley area?

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Hi, I am looking for a camping site around the valley area. We are going to visit in mid June for 2 nights and are looking for a good spot to camp. Thanks!

A: Do you have a reservation? Most of the campsites in Upper, Lower, and North Pines Campground for summer are “sold out” before May! If you don’t have reservations, you can try to get a campsite in the valley on the day you are there, or there’s “Backpacker’s Camp” (Camp 4) which is “first-come/first-served”.

From the National Park Service website:

“Yosemite National Park has 13 campgrounds, of which up to seven are on a reservation system. From April through September, reservations are essential and even the first-come first-served campgrounds often fill by noon from May through September.

Campground Reservations

Reservations are required from about March 15 through November for Yosemite Valley’s car campgrounds and summer through fall for Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows. Campground reservations are available in blocks of one month at a time, up to five months in advance, on the 15th of each month at 7 am Pacific time. Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 am!”

Here is the link to the nps.gov site:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm

If you can’t get camping in the valley, there are campgrounds in the park on the rim (about an hour from the valley) and just outside the park as well.

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

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And a Follow Up Question:

Q: Hey Josh! Thanks so much for the super insightful answer. I found out that as you said, most campsites are fully booked. I found availability in the following: 1. Camp Wawona, 2. Silver Lake Campground, 3. Soquel Campground, 4. Crane Flat Campground. Do you know any of these ? Any thoughts? Thanks, Yaniv G. 

A: Check and see if Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite Valley is still available!

Camp Wawona is on the rim near the Wawona Hotel, Yosemite’s Badger Pass, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Glacier Point. Wawona is also close to Oakhurst which is a real town with markets, laundromats, restaurants, etc.

Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree - Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, CA (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree – Yosemite, CA (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Soquel Campground and Crane Flat Campground are farther away.

See my other Yosemite post for Hotels in the Valley.

 Half Dome - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, California – Spring 1985 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome from across the valley - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, California – Fall 2011 (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

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Travel Answers about Yosemite: How Many Days in Yosemite? Where to Stay?

Travel Answers about Yosemite: How Many Days in Yosemite? Where to Stay?

How many days in Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite Valley First snow of the season! (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley First snow of the season! (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Answer: It depends on how much of the park you want to explore. If you just want to see Yosemite Valley, you should allow at least three days. You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are because there are great things to do and day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience. Ride the Shuttlebus and walk the valley, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Yosemite Beach, hike to the top of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley, climb to the top of Half Dome or El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and the Ansel Adams Gallery and be sure to check out the The Ahwahnee Hotel.

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Wawona Point (and historic Wawona Hotel), the Mariposa Grove and Tuolomne Meadows Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees:

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwoods (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Try skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass (in winter), visit Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others just outside the park. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork of the Merced in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

View from the Visitor's Center - Lee Vining, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Visitor’s Center – Lee Vining, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website for more info.

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Good places to stay for families in the park?

Answer: In Yosemite Valley, the Ahwahnee Hotel is a luxury resort and the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is more of a family hotel/motel. Curry Village has tent cabins and some hotel/motel type rooms as well.

There are a few campgrounds with covered camp sites, tent sites and rv sites if you want the full experience of “roughing it”.

Wawona Hotel - Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Historic Wawona Hotel – Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

The historic Wawona Hotel and Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (tent cabins and campsites only) are both inside the park concessionaires on the rim of the valley. Near Wawona there is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees and skiing in winter at Yosemite’s Badger Pass and Toulomne Meadows and Tenaya Lake are worth the trip when the roads are open and there is a grove of Giant Sequoias there as well.

There are a number of hotels, condos for rent, cabins and campgrounds just outside the park too.

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Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA – Happy 4th of July Weekend! (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

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North to Alaska! I’m an Alaskan Certified Expert!

UPDATED April 1, 2017:

I was an Alaskan Certified Expert (ACE)

Alaska

Map of Alaska:

Certified by the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA)

Map of Alaska!

Alaska became the 49th State on January 3, 1959

“Seward’s Folly”?  Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million ($120 million adjusted for inflation).  Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. by area, measuring 663,268 square miles, and has a longer coastline than all the other states combined.  According to a 1998 report by the US Bureau of Land Management, approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the Federal Government as public lands.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the population of Alaska was 731,449 on July 1, 2012.

We watched a Grizzly Bear fish for Salmon in Katmai National Park on Periscope
(courtesy of Disney’s Magic cruiseship):

NOTE: I am no longer a Travel Agent, now I just write about travel and other things…

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YOSEMITE 2011 – Part 2 Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite Roadtrip 2011

This is PART 2!  To view PART 1: Roadtrip to Tuolumne Meadows – click this link:

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/yosemite-2011-part-1-road-trip-to-tuolumne-meadows/

To view PART 3: Down in the Valley, Yosemite Valley – click this link:

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/yosemite-2011-part-3-down-in-the-valley-yosemite-valley/

PART 2 – TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

Tuolumne River - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne River – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The hail passed, but the rain continued (off and on, from moderate to drizzle) and all that was left was the smell of wet wilderness and the cold of the afternoon.

Storm clouds over Tuolumne Meadows (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Storm clouds over Tuolumne Meadows (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Night #1 (Saturday): GOOD COOKING AT TUOLUMNE LODGE – It’s best to make your dinner reservation early, and you’ll probably still have to wait. If you’re a party of less than eight you’ll probably be seated with total strangers for dinner.  It’s part of the fun, and you get to meet other travelers over dinner.  We waited, but it wasn’t long before we were sat with a mother and her teenage daughter.  They were tent camping in the rain, hail and mud, and this dinner was also a way to find some shelter from the storm.  They told us it was better than sitting in their car.  I was very grateful we had the tent cabin.  The menu at the lodge is limited, usually meat/fish/vegetarian options with a few ala carte choices and the food is pricey, but it’s also tasty and considering where you are it’s first rate dining, so spend the money.

Just before dinner, I started to feel “not so good”, and during dinner it progressed to “sick”, ALTITUDE SICKNESS.  Traveling from almost sea level in Los Angeles to almost 10,000 feet can affect you in a very negative way.  I was sick and had to keep getting up during the night to go to the communal restroom, which was only a brief hike through the cold and rain.

The communal restroom and showers is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s concrete floor, flourescent lights, very basic in design and function, with divided facilities for men and women.  The Lodge staff keeps the area clean and provides towels for showering and shaving.  There are multiple toilets, shower stalls and sinks with mirrors.  It was cold, a little wet, kind of unpleasant, and being sick only made it more so.  The rough accommodations are offset by the extreme beauty of the natural environment, and for me the trade off is well worth it.  However, if you’re not ready to “rough it” a little, best to skip staying at the Tuolomne Lodge. 

THE WALK TO THE STORE AND HIKING TOULOUMNE MEADOWS.

The next day, we had better weather.  It was cold and cloudy, with a passing storm coming through mid-day. My stepbrother went for a long hike on the Mono Lake loop trail. While still recovering, I decided to take it easy and went for an easy hike to the Tuolumne Meadows store.  Here are pictures from that hike:

Tuolumne River - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne River – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The Tuolumne River flows nearly 150 miles from the central Sierra Nevada to the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. The river flows from the Sierra Crest on the west slope, through the Sierra foothills to its mouth near Modesto.

Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne Meadows – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Lembert Dome, Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Lembert Dome, Tuolumne Meadows – Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Lembert Dome is a granite dome rock formation that soars 800 feet above Tuolumne Meadows.  It was named for John Baptist Lembert who had a homestead in here in 1865. Climbers can scale the face from the parking lot just off the Tioga Road, but hikers can simply walk up the back side or take the challenging steeper trek up the face starting from just east of the parking lot.

Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne Meadows – Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuolumne Meadows is a gentle, dome-studded sub-alpine section in the eastern section of Yosemite. Its approximate elevation is 8619 feet.

Tuolomne River - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolomne River – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuolomne Meadows - Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolomne Meadows – Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Lembert Dome - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Lembert Dome – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuolomne Meadow - Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolomne Meadow – Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

I saw some deer on my hike to the store, but they were too far away for good pictures.

Deer in the meadow - Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Deer in the meadow – Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The walk takes you through the meadows, past the Tuolumne River and Lembert Dome to the store, which sells camping essentials, food and supplies.  Next door to the store is a restaurant/grill serving hamburgers, sandwiches and other simple fare.  I ordered a cheeseburger and had lunch at the picnic tables outside.  After lunch, I rode the shuttle bus back around the Tenaya Loop to Olmstead Point and then back to the Lodge.  During the ride, the sky opened up and a hard rain came down.

Cloudy skies at Olmstread Point - Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Cloudy skies at Olmstead Point (backside of Half Dome) – Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tenaya Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tenaya Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tenaya Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tenaya Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

When I got back to the Lodge, the storm had passed and I went hiking in the woods nearby.  I followed a family of deer (a doe and two fawns) for a little while and tried to take pictures but they were a little too far away to photograph.

Doe, a deer, a female deer - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Doe, a deer, a female deer – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Deer at Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Deer in the woods – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

My stepbrother came back from his hike around the Mono Lake loop trail and he took some great pictures. Here’s one.  I’m going to post more of them in a future blog.

Trail to Mono Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

Trail to Mono Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Night #2: Sunday Dinner we were sat with three other couples (a brother and sister and their spouses from the midwest, and a two women: one from Northern California and one from Belgium).  After another delicious dinner, there was a communal fire outside at the lodge, and we hung around and socialized the with other travelers.

Starting the communal fire  at the Lodge - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Starting the communal fire at the Tuolumne Lodge – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Monday morning early, we packed up the car and hit the road, destination: Yosemite Valley.  First stop was Tenaya Lake and we got some great shots of the morning mist on the water.

Mist on Tenaya Lake, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Mist on Tenaya Lake, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tenaya Lake is an alpine lake, located at an elevation of 8,150 feet.  The lake basin was formed by glacial action, which left a backdrop of light granite rocks.  It was named for Chief Tenaya, who met the Mariposa Brigade near the shores of the lake. Tenaya protested that the lake already had a name: Pie-we-ack, or “Lake of the Shining Rocks.”  This original name is now given to a granite dome east of the lake.

Blue Monday Mist on Tenaya Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Blue Monday Mist on Tenaya Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tenaya Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

Tenaya Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Next stop was Olmstead Point, a very popular picture and sightseeing spot named for Frederick Law Olmstead, with beautiful views of Tenaya Lake, the backside of Half Dome, granite rock formations and more of the wonders of nature.  As you can tell, the weather was perfect!  It was clean, cool and crisp with blue skies and warm sun.

Tenaya Lake from Olmstead Point, Yosemite (copyright 201 Joshua Weisel)

Tenaya Lake from Olmstead Point, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tenaya Lake - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

Tenaya Lake – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Granite dome near Olmstead Point - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Granite dome near Olmstead Point – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome from Olmstead Point - Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 Aaron Barth)

The backside of Half Dome from Olmstead Point – Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

To view PART 3: DOWN IN YOSEMITE VALLEY! Yosemite Valley – click this link:

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/yosemite-2011-part-3-down-in-the-valley-yosemite-valley/

Drive to the valley, Yosemite Lodge, hike to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Beach, Monday Night Football in the Mountain Lounge, Night #3, dinner at the lodge, the drive home, and breakfast at the diner.

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YOSEMITE 2011 – Part 1 Road Trip to Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite Roadtrip September 2011 – PART 1

My stepbrother invited me to road trip to Yosemite. The itinerary: two nights at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge and one night at Yosemite Lodge in the valley.  He arrived the night before and we woke up the next morning and hit the road early.  We traveled the 14 Freeway to Highway 395 freeway to the junction at the Interstate 120, with a stop for breakfast at Denny’s.

Big Sky on the 395 Freeway north - California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Big Sky on the 395 Freeway north – California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

We stopped at the Lee Vining Visitor Center, used the facilities and took in the sights.  (Right click and open the picture below in a new window)

Visitors Center - Lee Vining, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Visitors Center – Lee Vining, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

My step-brother heard that “you have to have lunch at the Mobil Gas Station” so we did.  Yes, there’s a grill and they serve food inside the gas station.  This is the last stop before heading up the mountain into the national park, and the closest “outside the park” place to eat and drink.  They also have live music on some nights (check the schedule, weather permitting).  My stepbrother is mostly vegetarian and ordered the fish taco plate with rice and beans and told me it was good.  We sat outside and ate lunch at the picnic tables with bikers from Germany.  I decided not to eat the gas station food based on the (over)pricing, and instead ate more of the food that we had packed for the drive.

Entering Yosemite – Tioga Pass (altitude 9945 feet)

Entering Yosemite - altitude (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Entering Yosemite – Tioga Pass – altitude 9945 feet (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The Tuolumne Lodge at Tuolumne Meadows is comprised of tent cabins and a campground served by the Lodge which has a very basic store and a dining room that serves great food.  No food is allowed in the tent cabins (and NEVER leave food in the car!),  Bear lockers are provided in the parking lot and there’s a picnic area up the road for outdoor dining.

Veiw from the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

View from the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The lodge has free coffee and tea service all day and a communal fire in the evenings (as scheduled, weather permitting). In addition to the scheduled meal service at breakfast and dinner, visitors can pre-order food for hiking or day trips from the kitchen.

The Lodge at Touloumne Meadows - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne Lodge – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The Tent Cabins sleep four and are the only housing option unless you want to tent camp at the campground.  It was cold and raining as we checked in and just as we got settled in to our deluxe accomodations, it began to HAIL.  The sound of the hail on the canvas roof was deafening.  Each tent cabin has a wood burning stove and the Lodge provides wood, kindling and newspaper for each unit.  We started a fire, got warmer and waited out the storm.

The view from the bed - It's HAILING outside. (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

View from the bed – Cold and HAILING outside! (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne Meadows – Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravell)

Continue to PART 2:  GOOD COOKING, ALTITUDE SICKNESS, NIGHT #1, THE WALK TO THE STORE AND HIKING TOULOUMNE MEADOWS.

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/yosemite-2011-part-2-tuolumne-meadows/

Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

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