Monday, October 8, 2012

DAY 48- Yosemite National Park...

I had been a bit concerned about visiting Yosemite National Park with all of the recent news concerning the Hantavirus there.  I got handed two extra pieces of literature at the entrance booth about the virus.  But there were still a lot of people going into the park so it couldn’t be that bad, could it?  Later I noticed signs all over warning about the virus too.  But the throngs of people were still coming in.
Photo- Warnings were posted almost everywhere in the Park.
It was busy constant driving traffic driving into the Park on the 17 miles stretch of curvy road that went from Oakhurst north to the south entrance of the park.  Didn’t these people know that it was Sunday morning?  They are supposed to be at church so that we “heathens” can have the roads to ourselves.  If I was in Utah, this would have been clear sailing but nope they must have all been “heathens”.  Yosemite National Park has over 3.7 million people that visit the park each year.  I was really hoping that this would be an off day for some of those people.

I stopped at the Wawona Visitor’s Center which was the first center I came to.  I went into the general store; mainly to get bottled water and maybe a snack in case I went on a hike.  I ended up purchasing a bumper sticker which I now have a growing collection on the back of my car.  Yeah, I’m one of THEM!  I gave into temptation and bought a cute t-shirt.  I also bought some more postcards to mail out.  I’ve got to keep the Popette, my dear older friend, updated about my where abouts.
Photo- About to enter the drive through tunnel just before the Tunnel View on the other side.

Next, I headed towards the tunnel and the Tunnel View which is probably Yosemite’s most famous pictures; thanks to Ansel Adam’s black and white photography.  When I got to driving tunnel I was surprised how long the tunnel was.  My car radio lost reception in it and I had my car lights on.  There were warning signs flashing towards the end of the tunnel to be prepared to slow down and stop. 
Photo- The breath taking Tunnel View at Yosemite.

And then I got the Tunnel View.  WOW!  I turned into a parking spot and got out to take photos.  I took a couple of photos and then just stood back in awe.  I asked a young couple to take my picture for me, and in return I took one of them in front of the view too.  I continued to stand there in awe.  While there a guy turns around and says, “Is this Yellowstone?”  I laughed and answered, “Well, they both start with a “Y”.  So you got that going for ya!”  We talked for a bit and his friend teased him that he couldn’t take him anywhere because he was always talking with anyone and everyone.  I took a picture of them in front of the view.  I wished them a wonderful day and continued on.

I was headed to the parking area near the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.  That’s where I had seen bike rentals and bike paths in the Park’s brochure.  I found a parking spot and headed towards the visitor’s center.  I walked over to the center and happened upon a bike/foot path.  Now we are talking!  I was getting excited to get a biking route map and get out on my bike.  In fact, as bikes went past me on the path I kept on thinking of going back for my bike in the car.  But I continued walking on to the center.

I walked into the center and immediately asked about cycling at the counter.  The woman noticed my Hurricane Ridge t-shirt and asked if I was from Washington State.  She was from that area originally.  We talked for a bit and then she gave me a bike map.  There’s only about 12 miles worth of bike paths and bike friendly low traffic roads in Yosemite; a majority of that is only in the Yosemite Valley area.  But I was still pumped about riding my bike in Yosemite.  I checked out some of the displays and read about the history of the Park in the visitor’s center.

I went next door to the Ansel Adams Gallery.  They had prints and cards you could purchase of Ansel Adam’s black and white photography; as well as a couple of original photos of Ansel Adams if you had a mere $12,000 laying around for the least expensive one.  The other original photo was $14,000.  It was way beyond my ability.  There was other artist original works and prints to view and purchase also.  They even had videos of people climbing El Capitan’s face.  There was pottery and jewelry made by artisans too.  It was a wonderful shop and yes, you could even take your dog in with you.  I was amazed at how many people had their dog with them at this park.
Photo- The dry Yosemite Falls.

I took the quick hike of Yosemite Falls.  I knew it would be dry this time of year but I still had a bit of hope that there would be a trickle of water at least.  Nope, no such luck of that.  It was very dry except for a patch of moss.  Kids were climbing on the rock areas that during the Spring would be filled with running water.
Photo- Oh dear!  A deer stopping traffic in Yosemite.
I was now excited and started to my car for my bike.  On the way, a deer was just walking down the road.  It wasn’t even phased by all of the people.  In fact, it stood in the middle of the road and stopped a Yosemite Parks Bus.  The bus didn’t honk and just sat there to wait for the deer to move on.  It was funny all of these people were crowded around taking a picture of the deer stopping the bus.  Yes, I was among the masses on this one.
Photo- Of me with my bike in Yosemite.

Off I went on my bike, along a pathway.  Slowly, in some areas where they were people walking but even then; I was all smiles because I was biking in Yosemite.  I just thought it was so cool.  I verged off over to the path to Mirror Lake.  While on the way to the beginning of the trail there was a sign that said all rental bikes must stop here.  I pulled over and asked a gal if that was all bikes or just the rentals.  She said she wasn’t sure.  Then, I saw a tandem bike go by down the hill.  I jumped back on my bike and up the hill I went.  I think it was because the rental bikes didn’t have any real gearing or braking.  I got off locked the bike up and walked the trail in my mountain biking cycling shoes; not the best thing to hike in.  I should have thought this through a little more. 
Photo- Mirror Lake -- more like Mirror Sands.

Well, Mirror Lake is a misnomer if there ever was.  It was a sandy with strips of grassy areas.  I guess it’s like a puddle in the winter time, but that’s as close as it gets.  I talked with a woman who said back in the 1960’s when she visited it there was a shallow lake and that they were predicting that it would eventually be a meadow.

Next, I rode on a road area where it’s closed except for the Park’s shuttles.  It was wonderful.  Then, I also managed to ride the rest of the available pathways.  Next, I rode my bike over to the Yosemite Lodge where I enjoyed a beer along with chips and salsa.  I had a tour guide that struck up a conversation with me.  He was teasing me and asked a friend he had been sitting with him how far Fresno was from where they were.  I think I would have had a date for the night if Fresno where I was staying for the night had been closer to Yosemite.

It was about 4pm when I got back to the car and I had to get on the road for Fresno soon or I would be driving in the dark.  I wasn’t looking forward to that.  So off I went back through Oakhurst and off on Hwy 41 headed south.  I was on a race to get to Fresno before it got dark.  But every other hill, I came to had a California highway patrol car waiting.  So I set my cruise control to the speed limit and I did manage to get to Fresno about ½ hour before the sunset.

That also gave me a ½ hour to locate my hotel.  I only had a partial address of what street it was on and the name.  But I wasn’t concerned I figured I would find it and meanwhile I was checking out Fresno.  I’ve done this to a certain extent before and maybe I should be more stress but I’m not.  Quite often, things have a way of working out.  And they did; I managed to find the hotel and got checked in for the night.

No comments:

Post a Comment