22 July 2008

We ate breakfeast at the Awahnee Hotel. The dining area looked pretty fancy and the food was good. There were lodgepole supports in the ceiling. We both ate the buffet, which had a good selection of food. There was an omelet chief at the buffet that fixed an omelet for you with whatever you wanted in it. We both got omelets along with many other things.  The fruit was very good.

Next we rented bikes at a place in Curry Village. The bikes had no gear changes and they had coaster brakes. We rode the bike trails around the valley. We went into some of the meadows and looked around. We turned the bikes in and walked to the Taqueria in Curry Village. Teagan got taco supreme, which turned out to be a lot of food. Richard got a chicken burrito.

After lunch we decided to hike some of the valley loop. We parked near El Capitan. We walked west along the Valley Floor Trail and crossed the Pohono Bridge. Then we hiked back to the El Capitan Bridge and back to the car. The trail was hard to follow in places because it wasnt well marked. We ended up walking along the road for short amounts of time.

We drove back to Curry Village to eat supper, but the lines were too long so we went to Yosemite Lodge and ate in the food court there. It was a little hectic with the lines and everything but eventually we got our food. Teagan got a bacon cheeseburger and Richard got black bean and beef soup.

We headed to the tent cabin for the evening.

21 July 2008

Richard awoke this morning to the sound of our naibors across the walkway. He thought it was just some boy opening a bear locker. The boy got out a cooler and Richard heard him set it on top of the bear locker. Then he heard the cooler fall. Then Teagan awoke when we heard someone yelling. we couldn’t tell exactly what she was saying, but it sounded something like “Pa.”  Richard thought he was calling for his dad.  It turned out it was an Asian women calling for her husband. When she was yelling Richard said “I think it might be a bear.” Teagan quickly got on her pants and shoes and opened the door. There was a bear and its cub across the walkway. Teagan stared in disbelieve for a few seconds. There were many other people gathered around taking pics and we did the same. The bear was eating food out of the cooler from the bear locker. After awhile the bear moved on and wondered elsewhere in the tent cabin area. Then we heard a employe chasing it off and Teagan saw a glimpse of him.  The women said she took the cooler out and the bear just came so she ran into her tent cabin and yelled.

Since we had been awaked on an exciting morning we decided to go eat breakfast at the coffee place. On our way there some ppl were looking at a deer in the parking lot. We looked and took some pics. It had antlers with velvet on them. Then we continue to eat breakfast.

After breakfeast, we drove around the valley looking at vistas for photographs.

Around 11am we rented a raft and rode it down the Mercedes River. We stopped at a beach for lunch and ate some sandwhiches. We continued down the river until we got to Sentinel Beach where the rafts end. We got in the water for a few mins. We rode a school bus back to the raft rental place and walked back to our tent cabin to change.

Next we went to the Visitor Center and watched The Spirit of Yosemite, a video about Yosemite. We looked at the Geology Exibit while we were there.

We drove around the valley again to take pics. We went to Valley View, Bridalvail Fall, and Tunnel View. We had been to Valley View before, but it looked like good lighting so we stopped anyway. Bridalvail Fall didnt have much water coming out. It was so little water, it pretty much fell wherever the wind blew it. We spent a good amount of time at Tunnel View taking pics and just looking at the cool senery.  Great view of the valley with El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and Cathedral Spires.

We headed back down to the valley and ate supper at the picnic area by Swinging Bridge.  We ate 2 packages of our backpacking food, Beef Strogaf and some chicken and noodles.  We headed back to the tent cabin for the night.

20 July 2008

We caught the Tuolemne Meadows shuttle in Curry Village at 8:00 a.m.  It took us to Yosemite Lodge where we transfered to the Glacier Point shuttle which left at 8:30.

The ride up was narrated by the driver.  He told us lots of information peppered with corny jokes.

We arrived at Glacier Point about 9:45. Just before we got there, we encounterd rain.  It had been overcast all morning.

The rain drove most of the passengers into the cafe/gift shop.  After the rain let up, we walked around the lookouts at Glacier Point which give views of Yosemite Valley and Tenaya Canyon.  It was still sprinkling occassionally.

We began our hike on the Panoramic Trail at about 9:50.  The trail descended slightly toward Ililouette Falls.  After we crossed the fall area, we headed upward about 800 feet in elevation to cross toward Nevada Falls.  Along the way, we got good views of the backside of Half Dome.

We spend some time at the top of Nevada Falls, and then descended along the Mist Trail toward Vernal Falls.  The descend was very steep along granite steps and rocks.

When we arrived at Vernal Falls, we looked at the top of the falls from the railing.  Then we descended along the very steep granite steps with a rail.

The trail took us to other views of Vernal Falls and the cascades.  There were several places where the trail crossed the Merced River on bridges.

We arrived at Happy Isles around 4:15 p.m.  We caught a shuttle back to Curry Village.

Teagan got an ice cream when we got back, then we showered.  After our showers, we ate at the Hamburger Shack.

Then we drove around the valley looking for wildlife and photographic opportunities.

Then back to the tent cabin for the evening.

19 July 2008

We waited for the valley shuttle to take us to the vistor’s center so we could catch the shuttle up to Glacier Point.  We waited for more than 10 minutes, but nothing came.  Since we were short on time, we drove over to the vistor’s center.  After looking around for a while, we didn’t see a shuttle, so we headed back toward the car.

We spotted a tour desk next to the Village Store, so we asked the person behind the counter where we were supposed to be for the shuttle.  She told us we should have been at Yosimite Lodge.  We rescheduled for tomorrow without any problems.

Now we had to decide what to do today since our plans for the day were blown.  We decided to hike the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail today, since we planned to do it anyway before we left.

We put the car in the day use parking lot and caught a shuttle to Camp 4, near where the trailhead is.  We found the trail after a little looking at 9:30 a.m.

The trail immediately starts up.  Teagan was not fully awake, and she was needing frequent breaks at the beginning.  Richard was doing fine to begin with.  The trail consisted of a sequence of switchbacks to begin with.  Then it leveled off and went down.  After that, the trail went up mercilessly.  Richard began to fade on this part, and Teagan was now fully awake and raring to go.  Eventually, Richard needed frequent breaks and lots of water.

Teagan went on to the overlook since Richard wasn’t sure he could, or even wanted to, make it to the top.  With about 0.2 mile left, Richard passed Teagan coming back down.  Teagan didn’t want to go back to the overlook, so we agreed that Teagan would find some shade on the way down and await Richard, who proceeded to the overlook.

The top of the trail leads to a pool of water and some cascades near where the fall begins.  Another part of the trail leads to the overlook.  The rails at the overlook have been moved back for safety to the point where you really can’t see much of the waterfall from behind the rails.

Richard headed back up the steps to leave the overlook and found Teagan at the top of the trail.  They proceeded down at 1:50 p.m.

The trip down was going much better than the trip up.  We were making good pace.  We just had to be careful we didn’t slip on any of the sandy rocks.  The temperature in the valley was about 98 degrees, but the occassional shade and breeze made the trail reasonably bearable.  Nevertheless, Richard began to feel nauseated and eventually threw up a lot of the water he had consumed.  After that, he felt a little better.

We proceeded down the trail and finished around 4:00 p.m. and headed to the shuttle stop.

The trail was 6.8 miles roundtrip with an advertised elevation increase of 2,500 feet.  That makes it a pretty steep trail.  It was a little more than Richard could handle, and near the limit of what Teagan could handle.  She was pushed a little on the trail.

We got back to the car and drove back to Curry Village.  Teagan got a cheeseburger at the bar there, then we headed back to the tent cabin where Richard collapsed.

After a rest period for Richard, and a texting period for Teagan, Richard found the showers and returned to see if Teagan wanted to eat again.

We headed to the buffet at the Dining Pavilion and had a good meal.  Then we returned to the tent to get ready for our hike tomorrow.

18 July 2008

After we got up, we headed to the Mountaineering Shop in Curry Village.  After everyone was geared up and listened to a brief talk by the instructor, the group of eight students headed to Yosemite Lodge using the shuttle.  The instructor met them at the shuttle stop and they headed to some nearby rocks used for climbing.

We started with doing a figure 8 knot, which i got frustrated with. then we did belaying and repelling on the ground which i was fine at. Jo showed us some techniques on a rock on the ground about how to move left and right, while Scott set up the ropes for us to climb. After we practiced some on the ground rock we did some real rock climbing. I was in a group with 2 moms. there was a climber, belayer, and back up belayer. My group started with the easiest climb. It was like a warm up for me, although i did get stuck on part of it temproarly. Next we did one that was harder. The hardest part of this one was the bottom of it, then it got easier. The instructor helped me with that one. We took a lunch break after that.

After lunch, my group did the Bake Sale climb. They call it that because its in the sun. It goes up to 90 ft. Richard came just in time to take pics of me. I got stuck on part, but eventually Jo told me something that helped and i went to the top. My feet were tired afterwards. A few mins after i got down, I went to climb the only one I hadnt done yet.  Scott belayed me. It was nearly vertical, with some cracks in the rock. so it was a lot of leaning in weird ways and stuff. The whole thing was pretty fun, especially the Bake Sale.

While Teagan was in rock climbing class, Richard worked on Teagan’s phone.  Then he explored the valley using the shuttle system.  He shopped a little, and around 1:30, headed to the climbing rocks.

Teagan was just beginning her 90 foot climb when he got there.  After she completed that, she did the remaing wall which was a nearly verticle ascent.

Once climbing class was over, we headed back to Curry Village to visit the climbing shop.  Then we got ready for a hike up to the Mirror Lake area.  We went a little past the lower lake, but it was getting late, so we headed back to the shuttle stop to got to supper.

We ate at Degnan’s Pizza Loft in Yosemite Village.  Its menu is nearly identical to the pizza place in Curry Village, but the wait is much shorter.

After we finished supper, we headed to Sentinel Bridge.  It was almost 8:00 p.m. when we got there and the light on Half Dome was very good.  We took a few photos and headed back to the tent cabin for the night.

17 July 2008

We went to the Ansel Adams Gallery for a photo walk at 9:00 a.m.  The walk went to Cook’s Meadow to begin with.  We took some pictures of Half Dome and talked about the rule of thirds.  Then we continued east in the valley and took some pictures of Lower Yosemite Falls.  Our last stop was a a bridge where we took some water pictures.

The walk finished at 11:00 a.m.  After that, we went to a quick lunch place in the village.  Then we headed to Lower Yosemite Falls trail to get a close look at it.

We, along with many others, went beyond the official trail up to the pool at the base of the falls.  This required some scrambling.

There were dozens of people there – some even swimming in the frigid pool.  After enjoying the view and taking pictures.  We headed down.

There was no official, or even common, way to get down or up.  It seemed like everyone just figured out how they wanted to go.

The path down we took led to a difficult leap across some water.  Teagan made the leap, but gradually slipped back down the rock.  She was hugging the rock all the way down, but she eventually ended up waist deep in one of the pools.  She was enjoying the chill of the dip briefly, and got back up on the rock with the help of someone who had gone ahead of her.

We retraced our steps to find a simpler way down.  After some exploring, and one ten foot jump, we got back to relative safety and continued back to the official trail.

We headed back to the village to get the car.  Then we headed to the raft rental location on the Merced River.  They were fully rented out for the day, so we headed to the Mountaineering School location in Curry Village to reserve a spot for Teagan in a class.  They had an opening for Friday, so we took that one.

Then we changed into our bathing suits and headed to Sentinel Beach.  The high temperature was around 97, so we were ready for a cool dip.

The water in the Merced River seemed about a cold as the Yosemite Falls water.  It took some time to decide to take the complete plunge, but we both swam in the river.  Richard got out and went to the car to get a camera to take pictures of Teagan swimming.

Then we headed back to Curry Village for showers and supper.  We ate at the buffet in the food pavillion and then headed to the Yosemite Theater for a play.

The actor was Lee Stetson, who was the same actor Richard saw in his 1985 visit to Yosemite.  The play was different, but he was still portraying John Muir.  The play was excellent.  We got Lee to sign a book of his we bought at the play.

Then we returned to Curry Village to get ready for bed.

16 July 2008

After breakfast, We packed up camp.  We were out of the campground about 11:00 a.m.

We headed east on the Tioga Road toward Yosemite Valley.  We stopped at Tenaya Lake for pictures and the great view.  Then we stopped at Olmstead Point for the same.  From the point, you get a good view
of Half Dome.  There was a short hike that descended from the parking lot there.

After that, we continued along the Tioga Road to the Tuolemne Grove.  We took the one mile hike down to the grove that descended 500 feet.  This grove of giant sequoias conatins about 25 trees.  Well, they were huge.  Its difficult to describe the feeling when viewing these giants.  The largest had a diameter of about 30 feet.  One dead trunk had a  pathway cut through big enough to drive a small wagon through.

The hike back out was a little strenuous, but it didn’t last long.  The whole hike took about 90 minutes.

Once back at the car, we continued toward the valley.  We stopped at the gas station in Crane Flat for a late lunch of pre-made sandwiches.  Then we continued on.

We arrived at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley and checked in to our tent cabin.  We picked up a few supplies at the Village Store and we ate pizza in Curry Village.

15 July 2008

We left the campsite and headed to the Lembert Dome parking area.  Our plan was to do a ranger-led all-day hike that went to Tuolemne Falls.  It turned out that it was led by Joanna Cooke, the same ranger who did the campfire program we attended a couple of nights ago.  There was another man, Tim, who went with us, but that was it.  It was fun not having many people along because we got more input on exactly what we did.

Along the hike we had good views of the Unicorn Peak, Cathedral Peak, Echo Peak, Echo Ridge, Fairview Dome, Pothole Dome, Mounts Dana and Gibb.  The hike was mostly level.  It began in a wooded area, then followed the Tuolemne River.  It took about 5 miles to get to Toulemne Falls.  We at snacks at the falls and took pictures.  Then we headed back.

Joanna gave us the option to take a different route back along a non-maintained user trail that followed the river on the opposite side.  This trail got us back to Tioga Rd. a little faster by way of Pothole Dome, where we took the shuttle back to the Lembert Dome parking area.

Along the hike we saw deer, marmot, vole, ground squirrels, and something that looked like a pika (it was a rodent with big ears and no tail).

We stopped at the store for firewood so we could build a camp fire on out last night of tent camping.  After supper, we got the fire going and roasted marshmellows.

14 July 2008

We left the campsite around 9:30 a.m. and headed for the Cathedral Lakes Trail.  It was a little difficult going uphill on the John Muir part of the trail.  Maybe it was the elevation that was getting to us.  We stopped a few times for breaks.

After an initial uphill part, the trail leveled off for a period, then headed uphill again.  We turned off the John Muir Trail at the Cathedral Lakes cutoff with about 0.5 miles to go.

The side trail to the lake was mostly downhill and level.  With the recent rain, the meadow around the lake was very muddy.  There were a few small streams to jump across.  At one of these, Richard jumped and landed with one foot deep in some mud.  As his momentum carried him forward, his shoe remained behind embedded in the mud.  It must have been amusing to watch him hopping back to the shoe on one foot to retrieve it.

Once at the lake, we ate a few snacks.  We were entertained by some high school summer workers in the park who were learning a dance to Crank That (Souldja Boy).  It was pretty funny.

As we returned to camp, a thunderstorm came on.  We stayed in the car for a while waiting for the rain to stop.  When the rain persisted, we went to the grill back on Tioga Rd. for some food.  Teagan got a cheeseburger and Richard got some chili.

There had been an landslide on the main road, and the traffic was backed up for as far as we could see, so we couldn’t get back to camp.  So we hung out in the store and bumped into our camping neighbors and chatted with them for a long while as we waited for the road to reopen.

Once the road was cleared, we returned to the campsite and walked around the campground.

13 July 2008

Richard went on a bird walk at 8:00 a.m. led by a California State Park ranger.  Richard left the walk early, around 9:20, to head back to the motel to pack up and head to Tuolemne Meadows.

We left the motel around 9:40 and headed up to the Tioga Pass.  We checked in at the campground and got a site.  Tuolemne Meadows campground usually does not fill up until the 15th when the reservations begin.

We decided to go on a hike before we set up the tent.  We went on the Lembert Dome Trail which was close to the campground.  It was supposed to be about 3 miles roundtrip and 850 feet gain in elevation.

The trail was very steep in parts, but was overall an easy hike.  The view from the top provided a 360 degree panoramic view of the high sierra.

We ate snacks at the top.  Then we headed west on the dome to get a good view of the meadow below.

The granite dome has no trail markings on it.  When we went on the return hike, Richard choose a path that descended too quickly and missed the trail.  So we ended up hiking back up the granite dome to find the trail.  This was a bit tiresome because the path back up was about a 30 degree slope.

We got back to the parking lot after 2.5 hours.  We spent 55 minutes getting to the top, 35 minutes at the top, and 50 minutes returning (thanks to the false start returning).

We came back to camp to set up the tent.  Just as we had everything laid out, a hail storm set in.  So we rather quickly finished the tent and dried out the inside.  It rained for over an hour.  Once the rain let up, we fixed some Kung Pao Chicken from a backpacker’s meal kit and ate around 6:30 p.m.

After supper, we went to the ranger program at 8:00 p.m.  It was on cayotes.  The ranger, Joanna Cooke, did a good job presenting information that was interesting to a wide span of ages.  She used the roadrunner cartoons as a unifying theme for the presentation.

We returned to the tent afterward and got ready for bed.