Friday, April 22, 2011
Pictured are Janice and Tim at Yosemite. I know, it looks more like a movie backdrop.
The two days we spent in Pahrump after our return from Tulum were pretty quiet. The first morning we went for a big breakfast at Terrible’s Casino, right behind our RV park, where I had Two Eggs, Two Pancakes and Five Strips of Bacon for $2.99. Of course Janice had to blow the budget and had Bacon and Eggs with Toast and Hash Browns for $3.99. We toured Pahrump a little more and lazed around the pool in the afternoons.
On Tuesday morning we set out on the road for Mojave, California, about a five hour drive to the Sierra Hills RV Park. There we met a couple from Ontario who’d just come from Yosemite. We had taken Yosemite off of our radar because reports had it that there was still snow in the park. The Ontarions debunked that for us by reporting that there are a few snow patches in the shade but, otherwise it’s beautiful, with all the waterfalls at near to full volume, with balmy afternoons.
On Wednesday, headed for Fresno, or other points north, we were driving in the general direction of the park. It’s a boring drive through desert until we got near Bakersfield where we went through a mountain pass resplendent in natural green grass - something we hadn’t seen for months. Desert, desert, desert, desert, desert, desert - green!
We ended up in Madera, at the KOA, just thirty miles from the entrance to Yosemite. There they ripped us off for $45 a night plus $6 a day for internet, which we declined. We’re used to being spoiled with $15 to $20 a night using our Passport America.
In the middle of the night we woke to thunder, lightning and hail, but by morning it had turned to a slight drizzle. We were up early and on the road to the park by 8:30. It was still raining here and there, but there were a few bright spots.
By the time we got to the park it was still chilly but the sightings of Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan, on the way in, served to warm our cockles.
Pictured are Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan, a thousand foot sheer Granite cliff face. About five years ago I saw, on television, where a husband was filming his wife Base Jumping off of El Capitan - her chute never opened. I remember he was quite pragmatic about it, saying, “She died doing what she loved.”
We toured the Ansel Adams Gallery at Yosemite Village and when we returned outside, the sun broke out. We sat and enjoyed a packed lunch below a massive granite face.
Pictured are: The cliff face we looked up at while eating lunch, as well as a close-up and a wide angle of Yosemite Falls, also visible from our lunch spot.
The scenery all around us was truly incredible so we decided to take an easy, one-and-half-mile, hike to Mirror Lake. In recent years the lake has been filling with silt fairly rapidly and now looks more like a meandering river. Still beautiful though.
Pictured is the Merced River that winds peacefully through the valley floor before roiling it’s furious descent, at a steep 350 feet per mile, as it exits the park. Also pictured are a few shots along the trail to Mirror Lake.
When we reached the trailhead, which had been blocked by a huge rock slide in 2009, we returned via the meadows, pictured below.
After the Mirror Lake hike we drove to The Tunnel Lookout, where we had planned to hike to Inspiration Point, but the water was running over the rocks too fast so we decided to turn around.
Pictured is the Park, from the Inspiration Point Trail, with Bridal Veil Falls on the right and El Capitan on the left.
Pictured: As we exited the park I took this picture of Granite boulders forming an entrance to the park. Also, all along the sides of the road were these beautiful pink trees. They looked like wild cherry blossoms but the trees were weedier looking. I'm sure Rhelda can solve the question - what, exactly, are they?
We had been told about the Hite Point Trail, just outside the park, where the wildflowers were in bloom. I had been warned though that I might not like the trail because of the vertigo aspect. Sure enough, about an eighth of a mile in, I got the Heebie Jeebies and had to turn around. Janice snapped this picture as we returned to the truck.
Back at the KOA, our neighbours, Jerry and Cathy came over for a drink around the fire. He's a retired car dealer while she still works for the school district in Fresno. He was a pretty redneck Republican. Did I mention we saw a bumper sticker in Arizona that: Had a picture of a lion on one side and underneath said, "African Lion." On the other side was a picture of Barack Obama and said, "Lyin' African." Nice.
Friday morning we woke to sunshine and drove all the way to Vacaville, California and the Vineyard RV Park. We had planned to stay in Lodi but all the parks were full because of some military goings-on. Janice cooked tendrloin on the BBQ and then we had a camp fire. We're now only a couple of hours from the coast...