Yosemite Roadtrip 2011
This is PART 2! To view PART 1: Roadtrip to Tuolumne Meadows – click this link:
To view PART 3: Down in the Valley, Yosemite Valley – click this link:
PART 2 – TUOLUMNE MEADOWS
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.
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:
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.
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 is a gentle, dome-studded sub-alpine section in the eastern section of Yosemite. Its approximate elevation is 8619 feet.
I saw some deer on my hike to the store, but they were too far away for good pictures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To view PART 3: DOWN IN YOSEMITE VALLEY! Yosemite Valley – click this link:
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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