I finally got (1) all the stuff cleaned up that suddenly appeared and had to be done, and (2) all the photos sorted, processed, labeled and uploaded; and I’m now finally ready to tell you about our weekend in Yosemite, over the weekend of March 30-31.
Driving over via highway 99 was just so-so. The sky had a light overcast; muggy and overcast but not really threatening. We couldn’t get a room in the valley for Thursday night so we stayed at Tenaya Lodge on Highway 41, just short of the Wawona Road. It’s a very nice facility and would be even nicer if its architect had thought to install soundproofing. We stayed on the first floor and the people above us sounded like a troop of Irish river dancers. Breakfast was very nice but dinner was loaded with salt, enough that we complained about it.
The next day we drove into Yosemite Valley and back out again. We stopped at Bridal Veil Falls and took a few photos:
Then we drove back out of the valley on Highway 140, along the Merced River, looking for wildflowers. My, did we find them. The poppies were out in force. Must have been all that rain earlier in the month.
We turned off the highway at Briceburg and took Bull Creek Road (intermittently paved) along the Merced; this is the old railroad grade, there are 3 campgrounds along the river that Jim likes to camp at. We had lunch by the river at McCabe Flat:
Then we drove on to Railroad Flat, where a hobbyist has built a new railroad trestle over a tributary of the Merced. Without it, hikers would have to scramble down the bank and ford the stream.
Friday was a gorgeous day, sunny and mild, exploding with wildflowers all over.
We stayed the next two nights in a “hard sided” cabin in Curry Village. I’ll show you the cabin a little later. These things are an institution. They were perfectly reasonable traveler accommodations in, say, 1935, and they haven’t really been updated much since then. The wash stand is in the room, not the bathroom, and the double beds were a little short for Jim’s taste.
We’ve always stayed either at the Lodge or the Ahwahnee; the people who stay in Curry Village are an entirely different group. More families; more students (some staying in the tent cabins); more international travelers. Fortunately, around 2 AM, I finally figured out how to turn on the ancient wall heater in the cabin and after that we were reasonably comfortable. Even after a warm and pleasant day, man, does it get cold at night in Curry Village!
Saturday was the reason we went – the Yosemite Conservancy‘s spring program. The day began crisp and sunny. At this point Jim and I separated and didn’t meet until 4:30 PM, and what a change. My first event was a “photographer’s walk” out into Cook’s meadow, where we mostly took photos of Yosemite Falls, which was blowing like a horse’s tail in a very strong, blustery, cold wind.
By the time we finished, the whole west end of the valley was covered with clouds and we figured the predicted storm was about there. My second trip, about an hour and a half later, was a stroll through the meadow, no photos, with a “what would John Muir do?” meditation from an admiring ranger. By that time it was so warm I removed my fleece layer and tied it around my waist. As I sat and ate lunch, it got colder and cloudier; fleece back on; and by 2 o’clock, my session on how to use trekking poles for mobility and balance began in a steady pouring rain. That was the end of that day’s photos. It poured continually until 4:30, when I dragged myself (after 5.6 miles, or roughly twice my normal max!) up to the Visitors’ Center in an increasing snow storm.
It snowed 3.5 inches that night, based on the accumulation on our car the next morning. Remember, the day before it probably hit 65°. Here’s the cabin photo next morning, it is still snowing:
It stopped snowing as we ate breakfast. The valley was stunning, covered with snow (be careful how you walk under trees, it’s melting fast) and fog. Here are the heights above Curry Village:
We drove out through the melting snow, stopping to take more photos on the way. If you’d like to browse the whole gallery, or see some of these larger, you’ll find it here: Yosemite March 2012. Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them.