The dust bowl abruptly turned back into mountains and we happily welcomed the stay on your toes twist and turns from the straight ahead monotony that was the farmland. We entered the park at around 1:30pm and stopped off at the wawona visitor center to see what campsites still had availability. Arriving into the park so late in the day without a campground was not the best idea, but we really had no other choice and I was hoping it was slow since the holiday weekend had just ended. My first choice, Camp IV, was full. I was prepared for this news, as Camp IV is a short hike from the climbing mecca El Capitan. We headed instead to my second pick, the bridalveil campground, located to the south and above Yosemite Valley. I would guess that only a third of the 110 campsites were occupied during our stay. We quickly set up camp and after a quick poll of available info headed out on a quick hike to the Mcgurk Meadow. Well we reached the meadow quickly and figured we could go a bit further and still get back before dark.Some passerbyes were coming back from Dewey point and said there were some incredible views to be had. We had no idea what or how far Dewey point was. The how far was quickly answered by a trail junction. It was another 2 miles out, we could do it, and I wasn’t too concerned about getting back before dark.
Sidenote, trail signs in yosemite are stamped out sheet metal in lieu of the wood with info burned/painted we are used to back east.
Dewey point turned out to be an excellent call. Turns out Dewey Point is an exposed outlook high above yosemite valley allowing for spectacular views to the north and east. By spectacular I mean goose bump inducing because sometimes I just can’t comprehend how awesome this planet we live on is, and that’s okay. I’ll let some pictures explain the rest, but even pictures can’t do this eden justice. As amazing as ansel adam’s photos are even those fall very short compared to viewing el capitan, half dome, and mountain ranges topping out well over 10,000 feet with your own eyes for the first time.
We returned back to camp just as all signs of light had retreated, and rewarded our 4hr/8 mile hike with a bottle of wine and stick of summer sausage. It was the perfect meal, and the wine did not attract any bears over the night. It was slightly unnerving needing to use bear lockers for all food and trash. It turned out to be a chilly night camping at 5,000 feet, it was worth sweating on top of my 20 degree bag all the other nights just to be toasty warm this one night. When we got up we turned on the car to check to the temp. Thirty Eight!! and yes that’s in Fahrenheit. Brrrrr. Camp was packed up quickly and our car warmed us up as we headed down into Yosemite valley for another day of hiking. As we descended and the sun rose the temp quickly rose to a more seasonal temp. On the way into the valley more prime photo ops were had.
It was unfortunate that most of the waterfalls were not running at this time of the year. This is the best we got.
Once in the valley we realized we had a good shot at a Camp IV spot and raced over to secure our evening lodging.
Yosemite point, high above our campsite on the north side of the valley was our target for the day. We gained about 3,000 ft in elevation over the 5 miles up. The trail for the most part was heavily constructed into the mountain, and not just a path over the terrain.
The Fog did not stay away for long. The clouds did make for some cool photos.
Once back in the valley we were more than ready for some adult beverages, and lucky for us the general store in town was stocked full of Cali brews. This is about the only plus of the commercialization and development that has infiltrated this wild and beautiful place. It really takes away from the experience when you see fat americans pushing a stroller with their fat kid down a paved path, and retire to a hotel with an olympic size swimming. pool. Our evening in camp IV was quite eventful. Shortly after falling asleep we were woken up by something barreling through our campsite brushing past our tent, followed by a park ranger with a jangling belt sprinting after the beast yelling “GO AWAY BEAR.” We could hear the ranger all night zig zagging across the camp site chasing away bears. GO AWAY BEAR. After successfully making it through the bear invasion we were up early and on the road. A line had already formed by people hoping to snag any vacated campsites. We had one last stop in Yosemite, the Mariposa Giant Sequoia Grove. Both our hikes in the park thus far had taken us past some very large trees, at least compared to our east coast standards, but standing next to the Giants really made you feel small.
A dead uprooted giant-oh that doesn’t look so big does it??
THIS BIG! That’s what I thought.
Our time at Yosemite had finally come to an end. There were people to see, and some fog-less coastline to enjoy. However, nothing seen on the rest of the trip could compete with the natural awe that Yosemite held.
After Yosemite we spent a night in Santa Barbara and San Diego. By the time we made it to San Diego we were both pretty shot from sitting in that notorious west coast traffic for more hours than i would like to recall. We attempted to snag a campsite at two different campgrounds right on the beach, but of course we were way too late, and just got a hotel room by the airport for our departure the next morning. I was successful in my mission to devour some fish tacos, which were amazing.
All in all, we traveled over 1,050 miles and a Google estimated 22 hours on the road.