Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Friday, May 31, 2013

Return to Yosemite Valley

We spent Wednesday morning moving our rig to a shadier place. Poor Jim, it took him a couple of hours to get a satellite signal. We have a mountain in front of us. He finally had to add more cable and run it out into the field behind us before he got a signal.

Later in the afternoon, our neighbor at the other spot came by to see if we wanted to come over for wine and Chicken Foot. Well, of course we would. :) We had a great time getting to know Debbie and Rudy. Thanks again, hope our paths cross again!

Thursday morning, we went back in to Yosemite Valley. We knew it was much easier to take the shuttle rather than battle the traffic and fight for parking places. Our destination was the hike to Mirror Lake.

We got off the shuttle and headed up the trail along this stream.

Once again, we had some pretty views.

Mirror Lake is not nearly as big as it once was, but I did get this reflection of the mountain in the lake. Later this summer, the water will dry up and there will only be the meadow.

We were getting hungry and thought this would be a good location for lunch.

I looked in the water and saw a delicate cobweb between the rock and water and the reflection of the web in the water.

We were on our way back when we had to stop for these horseback riders to pass. They have the right of way on the trails.

We took one more look of the scenery here before we boarded the shuttle back to the Visitor Center.

We were heading down the trail for a view of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. On our way, we stopped at the museum and Indian village.

This was the chief's home.

Here is a view of the village.

We got turned around on the trail, but after a little detour we found the Lower Yosemite Falls.

We went to see the Upper Yosemite Falls and thought there must not be a vista where you can see both.

As we were walking away down the other side of the trail, Jim told me to turn around.

And there was the view we were looking for, both the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.

It looks like one falls, but there is a large pool by the rock in the middle, then the water falls down the Lower Falls. Spectacular!

We caught the shuttle heading back to the parking lot to head back to the rig. It was another fun day in the park.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wawona and Mariposa Grove

This morning we went back through Yosemite Valley and on to our destination of Wawona located by the south gate of Yosemite National Park.

We were able to stop by this waterfall on our way in to the valley. I don't know the name of this one, but it is still beautiful.

We turned right toward Wawona just before we got into Yosemite Valley and continued on the narrow two lane highway.

We arrived at the Wawona Hotel built in 1887 by the Washburn brothers. There is a swimming pool, 9 hole golf course and dining room. We walked around the hotel awhile and then drove over to Mariposa Grove. We had to turn around and go back to Wawona and take the shuttle because the two parking lots were full. I guess there are still a lot of people here.

We went back to Wawona and rode the shuttle back. Mariposa Grove is a grove of sequoia trees that was protected by the Yosemite Grant signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. You can take a tram around the forest for a fee, but we opted for the walking trail.

One of the things we learned about the sequoia tree is that when they grow close together as the ones below, they share each other's root systems.

We walked to the Great Grizzley, one of the oldest and largest trees in the park with a trunk that is over 30 feet in diameter.

After we got back from Mariposa Grove, we went over to the Pioneer History Center. Buildings with historical significance were moved together in one location in 1961.

You enter the center by crossing through this covered bridge which was originally built uncovered in 1857. The Washburn brothers used a New England model to cover it in 1875. It was used as the primary crossing over the South Fork area until 1931.

The buildings are located along a paved path. They are open on the weekends and summer with docents.

This was the Wells Fargo Office built upon the demand of the many visitors to the park in 1914. Here, visitors were able to make phone calls and send telegrams.

I'm pretty sure this is a Junco that I zoomed in on while we were there.

This cabin was built as a ranger patrol cabin. In 1914. The U.S. Calvary left Yosemite and the management of the park fell to 15 men. Buildings such as this were used to collect fees and inform visitors of park regulations.

It was time to head back, but on our way back into the Yosemite Valley, there is a long tunnel you go through.

When you exit the tunnel, you see this stupendous view of Yosemite Valley. To the right is Bridal Veil Fall. There is a parking lot located past the tunnel exit where we stopped to see the view.

The sun shone on Bridal Veil Fall creating a rainbow effect on the bottom.

We stopped at Bridal Veil one more time to get a better picture than we got the other day. It's always amazing how different they look at different times of the day.

We headed home. Tomorrow is going to be a stay at home and relax day. We are going to move the rig to a shadier place in the park. They are forecasting temperatures into the 90s this weekend.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hetch Hetchy Valley

We were certainly glad we decided not to go into Yosemite on Saturday and Sunday. There were signs outside the park warning of two hour delays in the valley.

The weekend was nice and cool with the highs in the seventies and the low in the high forties. In fact we went to an outdoor concert in the rv park and for the first time that I can remember wore jackets on Memorial Day weekend. I left thirty minutes early because I was cold.

Monday, we went to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the northwest corner of the park. The name comes from an American Indian word hatchhatchie meaning edible grasses.

We passed many cars, rvs, and trailers going the other way heading home from their Memorial Day weekend.

We had a small world moment when we talked to the park ranger who said she was from San Antonio too. We found out she was from the same area we had lived in and went to the same junior high our son went to and the same high school I had graduated from.

We made the drive downward to the valley and got our first glance at the dam and Wapama Fall. You can see Wapama Fall just above the middle of the reservoir on the right side of the picture.

As early as 1882, Hetch Hetchy Valley was looked at as a potential new reservoir. Preservationists led by John Muir wanted the valley to remain untouched. San Francisco was facing a water and power shortage. Dam supporters were convinced a reservoir would offer social and economic benefits. After the 1906 earthquake and fire, public sympathy was swayed for the reservoir and the first phase of the dam. Depending on which account you read, some say John Muir was so devastated about this, he died soon after.

We found a parking spot and walked over to the spillway. We passed another view of Wapama Fall.

There is a walkway over the dam where you can get great panoramic views from both sides.

As you walk over the walkway, you come to a tunnel that was originally used by trains to haul men and supplies. Now much of the trail to Wapama Fall is from that track.

We began our 5.5 mile round trip hike to the fall. After we went through the tunnel, we followed a trail around the lake with wonderful views.

Much of the trail was shaded, it started out pretty flat, but then we began an upward climb. The day was gorgeous with temperatures in the fifties.

We passed this lizard on our way

and more blooming wildflowers.

We followed the trail on top of boulders with little brooks running through them.

The trail continued along the reservoir. Because this is the drinking water for the San Francisco and the Bay Area, there is no boating or swimming.

We finally made it to the fall. It was spectacular and worth the journey! The fall is one of the tallest in North America plummeting over thousand foot granite cliffs.

Another view from the side.

Our "we were there" picture

We made our way back much quicker as the clouds were getting darker, winds picked up, and there were some rain drops on our way back. We really didn't want to get caught in rain with all the ups and downs and slick rocks on the trails. We made it back safely and never got too wet.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yosemite National Park Day 1

Thursday we made the drive to Yosemite Lakes a Thousand Trails rv park. We are only 5 miles from the Yosemite National Park gate and about 30 minutes from the Yosemite Valley. The drive was good except for the last 8 miles. We had a harrowing drive up around a very curvy narrow mountain road. I'm not sure which is worse, Jim driving the rig around it or me following watching how close the rig gets to the edge.

We did make it, checked in, chose our site and set up. We wanted to get in and set up before the influx of people coming in Friday for Memorial Day.

We knew we would probably not have cell phone coverage, but we also do not have wifi. The park wifi here is painfully slow, I cannot download pictures, so no telling when I can finally post my blogs.

We woke up Friday morning to a temperature of 39 degrees. It was kind of funny, I was watching a commercial about a Memorial Day sale with girls in bikinis and I had the fireplace on and was covered with a blanket. It warmed up quickly, but the highs will be in the 70's. Nice!

Since we had never been to Yosemite, we made an exploratory visit. We knew it would probably be crowded, but we just wanted to see how things were set up and get some maps and other information.

There were three cars in front of us at the gate, so we got in pretty quickly.

We drove to Yosemite Valley and through three tunnels.

The first thing we saw was Bridal Veil Fall. We were able to snag a parking place to walk up to the vista. Unfortunately, the sun was right in the middle and you couldn't see anything but spray. The picture was better from the parking lot.

Next, we passed by El Capitan.

We stopped at this luscious green meadow that had a boardwalk through it.

We spied this waterfall which turned out to be the Upper Yosemite Falls. Just gorgeous!

We went to the visitors center to see the film about the park and pick up some maps. The man checking us out asked how long we were staying. We told him two weeks and he said we'd be able to see a lot. He then told us the story of an early park visitor who asked someone if he only had an hour and a half to see the park, what should he see. He was told go out to the park, find a place to sit, look around, then cry. ;)

Luckily, we have more time to discover the beauty of this park. We're going to just relax the next few days and let the crowds have the park this weekend, then we'll continue our exploring on Tuesday.

Kings Canyon National Park-Canyon, Trees and a Bear, Oh My!

Today, we planned on going over to Kings Canyon National Park. We were told on Monday about a road we could take that would knock about an hour off our drive. We took it and after an hour and a half of curvy mountain roads later we were there.

We stopped at the Visitors Center to stamp my passport book and pick up some postcards, then head over to the General Grant, another giant sequoia in the park.

I caught this little squirrel watching the trees as well. :)

We walked around the path and one could not miss this giant tree which towers 268 feet high and is over 2000 years old.

We headed next into the Kings Canyon. As we began the journey down, we stopped at the vista above. That is the road winding down on the right and the river at the bottom in the center of the picture.

It was another winding mountain road with great views. I kept offering to drive, but Jim wouldn't let me. :)

We made it to the bottom and here is Kings River, lots of white water.

We stopped to eat lunch at Grizzly Falls.

We drove almost to the end of the road stopping at this meadow with the river running by it.

The road through the canyon ends, you turn around and go back the same way you came.

We got back to where we started and this time we took the road back through Sequoia National Park.

Just after we passed this giant grove of we noticed 4 people on the side of the road. After being in Yellowstone last year, we knew when you see things like that, there is possibly wildlife.

And yes there was! Is that a bear?

We spent 2 weeks in Yellowstone last year and never spotted a bear. Here was a black bear in a field about 20 yards from us just munching along. He wasn't too concerned with us.

We were so excited to see a bear in the wild! There is a lot of education in the parks about the bears. People are told to keep all food out of the bear's reach in order to save a bear's life. If a bear gets the taste for human food, many times they lose their fear of people and become more aggressive in the hunt for that food. Then, the bear has to be killed.

Our last stop was the General Sherman, the largest living thing in the world. There are people at the base of the tree that look like little dots.

Beautiful scenery, giant trees, and a bear, another great day!