Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yosemite National Park

We were happily visiting vineyards in Paso Robles when we realized that the weather forecast was looking good for the next few days ----and---we were not that far from Yosemite.
 We had known that Yosemite had closed due to storms this winter and also that two of the roads were still closed until recently from flooding and tree damage.  But , we left Paso Robles on Route 46 to Route 41. We were heading to one of our Escapee parks in Coarsegold.  Once there, we found out that Route 41 was clear, except for a short one lane section, into Yosemite---Yea!!!
 It didn't take long for some wonderful views.
Half Dome in the distance
 Even Lady Blue is enjoying the ride.
The brown sections are dead pine trees. We discovered that Yosemite was especially hit by bug infestations during the extended extreme drought.  The beetle has been here for a long time and the trees cope quite well in good weather by producing sap to force the beetles out of the tree.  But the drought keeps the trees from producing enough sap and the beetles have been destroying millions of the pines.  The damage is quite evident.
 What a great place to take pictures.
Skip any as you wish, but as soon you enter this space that is 
Yosemite Valley, you understand what has held visitors captive for centuries.
A view of Bridalveil Falls
 Who are those people?
El Capitan in the background
Oh--Jan and Bruce with Lady Blue.
Note that we lucked out with sunshine and warm temperatures.
As we are writing this it is only 48 degrees about 3,000 feet lower.
Yosemite Valley is about 4,000 foot elevation.
We were excited to not only find a spot for the night, but one spot available for three nights--no moving. Wow!
This picture is for Bailey--a Westfalia fan.  It is the only VW Westfalia we had seen with a solid raised roof. Note the European plate under the U.S. plate on the front.
On that subject, there were a number of RV rentals in the park. This one has the sleeping tent on the roof and inside would be a cooler, all kinds of bins, a stove and other necessities.
Our site was level and quite good for the senior rate of $13 per night.
The park was not at all crowded.
Jan and I walked the first day from the Upper Pines Campground all the way to Yosemite Falls and back--an easy walk.
No crowds on the sidewalks. As a matter of fact, no crowds driving the loop either.  Drivers were able to drive around the Valley and park at all the views along the way.  This was in the middle of March.
Good views of North Dome
Right away , from the bridge over the Merced river, we have views of Yosemite Falls.
Yes. North Dome again. 
With the Merced river in the foreground.
Looking up at the North Dome , what you see underneath are called the Royal Arches carved thousands of years ago.
 These are all views along the walking trail.
Again, Yosemite Falls in the distance.
This is just the Upper Falls.
With all of the snow this winter, the falls have been spectacular.
Looking back to Half Dome.
This day was great with blue sky and a bit of snow for contrasts.
The Upper Falls is 1,430 feet.
The entire Yosemite Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the world.
Bike, bus(free), or driving, this is the main entrance(near Yosemite Lodge) where you can look at the entire falls as you walk towards it. The total drop of the falls is 2, 425 feet.
The volume is quite loud.
And the temperature drops rapidly as you approach.
Hard to believe, but this water is entirely from snow melt.
Come August the falls most often become just a trickle or dry up completely . 
Winter visitors are often offered these views.
Speaking of winter visitors.
By the way, we follow a custom of offering to take pictures of families, friends , and couples so that everyone can be in the picture.  The custom often includes those people offering to take your picture.  What a great idea.
The thunder and mists at the foot of Lower Falls.
This is a good place for humility and perspective.
We don't know how we would have chosen pictures to take back in the 1960's with a film camera. 
In the village are a few shops and the Visitors Center.
We always enjoy the history and the films about the parks that are shown. Even with fewer people in the park, we see that many visitors have no idea of the films and resources they have available.
Yosemite has been visited for tens of thousands of years. Before the Europeans in the mid 1800's, there were the Ahwahneechee. In 1864, during some of the worst fighting of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln set aside Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove(Giant Sequoia) to the state of California. Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872. Yosemite became a national park in 1890.
Camping in Yosemite in the 1950's
The hero of the early parks system was John Muir on the right. This picture is from the visit of President Teddy Roosevelt in 1903. Roosevelt camped for three nights with Muir at different locations in the park, discussed natural resources, and was inspired to become one of the most ardent promoters of national lands and parks.
 One of the most quoted writings of John Muir above.
Yes, it is Yosemite Falls again. But on a different day, and the spray is even stronger. Also, you can see the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls.
Perhaps because the wind is stronger.
That day Jan and I were using our bikes to go around the bike loop.
From around the Swinging Bridge area , a good view of the falls with a reflection as a bonus.
Just off the bike trail, a view into snow covered mountains.
You can see the cars on the Valley Loop in the distance.
A late winter view from the Merced River.
A different perspective.
Our last day started with a bike ride and a quick flat tire.
But, we brought the bikes back to the campsite and started our hike--from the campground--up to Mirror Lake.
A recent tree fall requires a little climbing.
Where is the trail crew?
We know a few of you have climbed Half Dome.
From this view of North Dome, rock climbing does not call to our expertise.  However, there is a rock climbing and mountaineering school that exists here. This is the iconic birthplace of American rock climbing and the most famous climbing area in the world.
We saw some people practicing near Camp 4.
On the way out of the Valley, we have a better view of Bridalveil Falls across the Valley.
Even Lady Blue had a good visit to Yosemite.  Note this day a bit more hazy as we look back towards El Capitan. No rock climbers today.
If you have not caught us recently, the issue below from Paso Robles is new. And the next one, Morro Bay, is also recent.

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