Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yosemite National Park

I am still working on getting caught up on the blog. We are boondocking in Jawbone Canyon, California. It is a beautiful place, but it has been very windy. We are heading to Death Valley NP tomorrow. We had a surprise visitor yesterday. I will write all about it in a coming entry.

March 14 was a busy day. Shannon and Brian were heading back into San Francisco to do more touring and to do the Alcatraz Island tour. They had made that reservation the first day they were in town and Tuesday was the first time slot available. The crazy thing about their day is while they were on the "Rock", they sold their house. Yep, they agreed to all terms of the purchase agreement on a cell call while on the island. Now that is memorable.

Kim and I also had a memorable day. We got to spend the entire day with Amelia. We just can't get enough of her at 1.5 years old. We also got the rig hooked up and drove from Oakland to a campground on the other side of the state. When I was planning this portion of the trip, I knew I wanted to find a spot near Yosemite NP. I also knew the weather could be a problem this time of year, so I wanted to stay at lower elevation. I found a spot that looked good on Lake McClure. We chose Horseshoe Bend Campground. The drive went well. Amelia slept the entire way. I really should have stopped for fuel, but we kept going. I had to deal with the fuel issue the next day.

The campground was pretty nice and almost empty. We didn't have reservations, so we had to move to a spot that was not reserved for the weekend. When I called the office, they told me about a 7 day rate at $20 per night, rather than the $28 I was expecting to pay. Cool, we decided to just stay 7 days. For the record, we had weak cell signal and spotty OTA TV. Here are a few shots of Horseshoe Bend:

We had fun playing with Amelia around the campground. She was non-stop once she woke up. Shannon and Brian had a rough time with traffic and finally joined us at around 9 PM.

We were up early the next day and headed out to Yosemite NP. The drive was only 73 miles, but took about 2 hours. The entry over Tioga pass was still closed. The drive is beautiful over to Mariposa, but the steep drop-offs are not Shannon's favorite. Then you follow the Merced river up to the Valley. The Merced was flowing at a very high rate and the cascades were just amazing. I was so glad for once I was not driving. I could just enjoy the scenery.

The Merced River
We all knew we were visiting Yosemite at a time of year when much of the park was closed. The valley was open and that was about it. Our plan is to visit many of the National Parks multiple times at different times of year. We know how much they change, and we want to see these awesome places in many different conditions. The good news about this time of year is the lack of crowds. It was spring break, so we had a few college kids, but we were able to find parking easily and the hiking trails were relatively quiet. This was Brian and Shannon's first visit to Yosemite. Kim and I have been before. The look on their faces the first time they saw the valley was worth the entire trip for us. The other great thing about visiting Yosemite this time of year is the snow on the peaks. It really adds to the viewing. And last but certainly not least is the waterfalls. They are flowing at the maximum. And add the amount of rain/snow that California has had this year. The waterfalls are off the chart!

Now for some pictures. I must have taken over 100 on that first day. I will post a few, but it is so tough to choose.

Horsetail Falls
The Next three are Bridal Veil Falls

It was thunderous! You could hear the water and ice pounding down on the rocks. I will never forget the sound.

Signature shot of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. See the rock to the left of the top of the falls? Remember that.

Signature shot of Half Dome

I will just have to stop there. Yosemite is AWESOME! I put it right up there with Glacier and Yellowstone as my favorites that I intend to visit over and over. I could just sit and look at the rocks and waterfalls all day long.

On the drive out of the park, you have to go under this rock. They say the clearance is 13'9", but it sure does not look like it.

It was a long day, but certainly memorable. We were not done with Yosemite. I always like to do one thing at each park on each visit to make it memorable. Brian wanted to do a hike. He is in great shape, but he has never done a difficult hike. He selected a hike that is rated "Very Strenuous". I warned him, but he was going, so I decided to go also. I will write about that unreal day in my next entry.


  1. Nice to spend that special time with family.
    I think I'd be driving on the other side of the road to be sure there was enough clearance.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Yeah Rick, that was my thought. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great waterfall shots! We have yet to be to Yosemite, it looks beautiful. We love visiting parks during the off season, less crowds and still so much to see!