Yosemite trip report - end of December

Dec 30th, 2011, 02:14 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
Yosemite trip report - end of December

It's just about unheard of for both Tioga and Glacier Point roads to be open this time of year - but they are, as are all of the passes across the Sierra. When I heard about Tenaya Lake being both iced over and accessible, I just had to see it. I was off work Wednesday and yesterday so drove down after work on Tuesday and came back home yesterday.

We didn't spend much time in the Valley. Bridalveil Falls was a slim ribbon and Yosemite Falls was barely flowing - although some of the higher elevation falls were humungous icicles. We spent most of our short visit in the higher elevations.

Tenaya Lake was a blast. It's under about six inches of ice which my BF, newly moved here from the Midwest, assured me was thick enough to support a SUV. Having lived in mild winter climates for a long time, it took me a while to really believe this to be possible. But once I really believed it, boy did I have fun.

There were about 50 people on the ice near us - and quite a few more over other sections of the lake. Activities ranged from ice skating to hockey games to attempting to ski on the lake (that didn't look to be too successful) to dog walking to sitting on lounge chairs while enjoying a beer. Everyone seemed to be having a great time - it was like being a kid again, playing on the ice.

Tuolumne Meadows had a light dusting of snow. Some people were hiking there. Also saw people going up Lembert Dome. We didn't make it any further east than this due to time limitations. And I wanted to spend a lot of time playing on the lake.

Although the road is open all the way to Glacier Point, some of the trails are closed due to snow. The trail to Taft Point was closed but we were able to hike out to Sentinel Dome. There's a creek crossing at the beginning of the hike - which is completely frozen. Extremely cool looking. A little bit of snow on parts of the trail but it was still very easy to hike.

The weather was cold first thing in the morning but warmed up quickly. Got up to the 50s both days.

There were quite a few people there and I bet it'll be crowded for the New Year's weekend. But lodging rates will drop by next week. If you can go there before the snow finally hits - go!
Shanti is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 02:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,461
Thanks for the report! Sounds wonderful!
elberko is online now  
Dec 30th, 2011, 03:31 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 13
Where did you fly into?
travelertime is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 03:39 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 70,537
That would be great to see! Thanks for the TR
starrs is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 04:21 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,390
travelertime: They didn't need to fly -- they live here

shanti: Sounds wonderful. Not only is it nearly unheard of for the roads to be open . . . Even more unusual that Tioga Pass was closed in Oct and then re-opened. NOTHING like last year's huge snow pack!

I was also going to drive down (on Wed afternoon, not tues) and might have run in to you but woke up wed AM w/ a hellacious sinus infection.
janisj is online now  
Dec 30th, 2011, 04:47 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
Yep, we get to drive. I sometimes feel like it's such a hassle - having to drive for four hours. Then I meet people there who traveled from Turkey and Brazil and remind myself of how lucky I am.

Janis - I hope you feel better soon - and are able to make it down to Yosemite before it finally snows.
Shanti is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 04:55 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
"The weather was cold first thing in the morning but warmed up quickly. Got up to the 50s both days"

Not exactly what I would think would be safe to try standing on a lake or creek of ice- not sure though, might have been fine.
spirobulldog is offline  
Dec 30th, 2011, 05:40 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
I wouldn't go out on a creek or river in those conditions, spirobulldog. There was still an obvious current in the river and the ice was very thin. Actually, I wouldn't go out on the river even if the temperature stayed below freezing - I'd be worried about falling thru the ice - although the water was only a couple inches deep so it wouldn't have been dangerous. Just really cold and soaking wet feet.

But there was about six inches of ice on top of Lake Tenaya. So even with some melting, there was still plenty enough ice so that it was safe (according to my boyfriend, the cold weather expert). Although I imagine all that melting ice made for lousy skating later in the afternoon. But some of the photos taken earlier in the afternoon looked great - with patches of water reflecting the surrounding mountains in the photos.

Then all the water would freeze again at night, so the ice stayed nice and thick on Lake Tenaya.
Shanti is offline  
Dec 31st, 2011, 05:04 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,044
Wonderful report. Sounds like you had a great time.
Placename is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 06:12 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5
Wow! This is one unusual Holiday season - Ice Skating on Tenaya. What a rare experience - thanks for sharing!
JohnSimsom is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 07:52 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,044
You had a rare treat. Usually that area is inacessible by now.
Placename is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 10:35 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,797
I hope you took lots of pictures!
Nikki is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:03 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
I did - and here's a few of them: http://suewallace.zenfolio.com/p1036439552
Shanti is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:54 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,797
Gorgeous!
Nikki is online now  
Jan 4th, 2012, 01:07 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
We were in Yosemite at the end of November and Glacier Point road was closed! We did drive up to Tuolumne Meadows because Tioga Pass had been reopened. My pictures show a lot more snow up at Tenaya Lake which was not even beginning to freeze over when we were there on November 28th! The waterfalls were going pretty good for us better because it had snowed just a week before.

I hope we get some SNOW soon!

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 07:06 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
I so enjoyed your trip report and your pictures, Shanti. The sunset pictures are breathtaking! I am so glad you two had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing.
LoveItaly is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
BillJ
United States
15
Jul 21st, 2011 04:00 PM
ktmc
United States
5
Nov 4th, 2009 12:36 PM
FLtraveler
United States
8
Jun 13th, 2005 07:52 PM
sueoz
United States
5
May 11th, 2005 06:39 AM
Lila Thiele
United States
6
Sep 5th, 2002 10:49 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:03 PM.