Yosemite trip report

Old May 26th, 2004, 07:20 AM
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maj
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Yosemite trip report

Just got back from our vacation--absolutely beautiful. The weather couldn't have been better. J Correa described it perfectly. We arrived late afternoon Saturday, May 15th. The first falls we saw was Bridalveil from the parking lot--breathtaking. We then continued on the Southside Drive through the Valley using our Yosemite Road Guide (which we found indispensable--some of markers are hard to find,so it is easier to go by the mileage between posts). We bought it before our trip, which was a great help since the Visitor Center was closed when we arrived--and also you want to stop at all the sights on your way into the Visitor Center, which is in the middle of the Valley. Another pamphlet we bought which we thought was very helpful was the Map and Guide to Yosemite Valley ($2.50) which we bought at the Visitor Center, but I would get it before your trip if you can, especially if it is your first time there. We explored the Valley in our car and went to Tunnel View the first evening there. Since the next day was Sunday and we figured it would be crowded in the Valley, we went to Hetch Hetchy (did the Wapama and Tueeulala Falls hike) and drove Tioga Road stopping at different sights along the way (again using the Road Guide)--Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows to name a few. There was still snow piled along the road in some places.

Monday we parked our car in the day lot and took the shuttle. We walked to Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite Falls and just wandered around the Valley at different points. There are great photo points around Curry Village--listed as Vistas on that Map and Guide pamphlet. Then we went to Yosemite Lodge to make reservations for the Tour Bus to Glacier Point for the Panarama hike the next day. (it was $15 one way--but worth it). He told us we could park in the Yosemite Lodge parking lot (all tours were booked and started here--at least at that time of year).We then drove up to Glacier Point (unbelievable view) and took pictures in the evening. We then hiked to the summit of Sentinel Dome.(another great hike)

Tuesday we did the Panorama Trail. (after taking morning pictures at GLacier Point) Loved it. Saw our first snow plant. The trail to Nevada Falls is relatively easy (there is an elevation gain, but you just take your time--there was an 82 year old lady on the trail). When you get to Nevada Falls, you can go down the John Muir trail (which is longer, but was told it is much easier). We choose the Mist Trail route. It is more strenuous than we thought, but I wouldn't have missed it. (from the Mist Trail to top of Nevada Falls is mostly uphill with sometimes uneven rock steps--there was more than one group of people that we met at Nevada Falls who had climbed up and wanted to know if there was another way down.) When we got to the Happy Isles trailhead, we looked next to us and there was a bear. We saw bears, coyotes, marmots and deer while in Yosemite, as well as birds, hummingbirds, squirrels, etc.

Wednesday we needed gas (we had noticed it was about 40 cents a gallon cheaper at Crane Flat than it was in El Portal), so decided to do the Tuolumne Grove walk which was right across the street from the gas station. It was the only thing we did that we could have done without. Mainly because we were going to Sequoia and Mariposa Grove which were much better for seeing the sequoias--plus we were sore from the day before and the hike to the grove is downhill one mile (and back up). Once there, it probably would be nice, except there were many signposts with nothing on them yet--so we just saw a couple of big trees and walked back up the hill. There is a good viewpoint by the tunnel on Big Oak Flat Road that a man there said he thought was the best view in the area--there were always cars there, so you can't miss it.

We then spent the rest of the day in the Valley--saw rock climbers on El Capitan, went to the exhibits, wandered in the meadows, took pictures, etc. We were planning to but never did take the tram tour--we were having such a good time exploring by ourselves--but can understand that it would be very interesting, especially if you are limited because of time and take it when you first arrive. It is much more interesting when you know what you are looking at. (which we pretty much did by the time we left--it was fun to look up at Glacier Point and know that you had been there looking down). We did enjoy the commentary on the tour bus to Glacier Point.

Thursday we stopped at Wawona and Mariposa Grove on our way to Sequoia/Kings Canyon. We took the shuttle to the Grove and the tour up to the upper grove and walked back down through the lower grove.

We stayed at Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal and found it very convenient for us. (it was easy to get to the road to Glacier Point and Tioga Road. It only takes about 15 minutes to get to the Valley and the road by the Arch Rock entrance is beautiful. In the summer, there may be lines at the entrance to the park and if you are going to spend most of your time in the Valley--it would be easier probably to stay in the Valley. We had no problem with parking and driving in the Valley (although the shuttle buses were always pretty full--even at that time of year).

Sorry this is so long--it was a great trip!

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Old May 26th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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Great trip report. And you saw a bear at Happy Isles - wow.

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Old May 26th, 2004, 08:26 AM
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Not too long at all, maj. Very good report. Thanks for taking the time to share with fodorsites. We'll be there for our first visit there Oct 1-3, so your info and details much appreciated. From comments of others, it sounds like we won't see as much water and views of falls like you had []. But looking so to seeing all the other beautiful things of God's creation there.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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maj
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Ibaboyd

If I'm not mistaken, I think Bridalveil, Nevada and Vernal Falls are some of the falls that are there all the time (although not as full). You get good views of Nevada and Vernal Falls from Glacier Point and actually when you walk to the base of Bridalveil Falls (which is a short walk--although uphill), you may get a better view of those falls from up close. We weren't able to take pictures there because it was so misty (actually it was wet). You are right--there is so much beauty there-- you will have a great trip.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 11:17 AM
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We were there a couple years ago in November - Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls still had water in them. The other falls in the valley were dry. Mirror Lake was dry - well a little swampy in parts, but definitely not a "lake". It was worth the walk up to it though - it's a really beautiful spot and the lake bed was interesting to wander around on.

One thing that was really nice about fall was that there weren't a whole lot of people in the valley. We didn't have to go very far from Yosemite Village to be totally alone.

If the cool weather comes early, you might have some terrific fall colors.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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maj,

Thanks for a great trip report and it isn't too long at all. I'm going online to the Yellowstone site as soon as I finish this to order the books/pamphlets you recommended. We plan to do the same Panorama hike our first full day in the Park, including the Mist Trail part. Harder, yes, but I think worth it from what I've heard.

Thanks again for the helpful info. I can hardly wait for June 23rd to get here. That will be our first day in Yosemite.
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