Yosemite National Park

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, February 24, 2006

(See who doubted that we'd actually muster enough energy to go to Yosemite today? Shame on you!).

We'd run out of excuses today to not go to Yosemite, so we got up reasonably early to cover the 80 odd miles to the park. The weather was warming up again into the low sixties, so we were hoping that most of the snow would have melted. Although there were warnings about needing snow chains at the gate, we got passed the warden without having to lie about not having them and headed for the main section of the park. Despite thinking that the warm up would have melted the majority of the snow, this proved not to be the case and there was plenty of evidence of recent heavy snowfall (fortunately the roads were clear though).

Our first stop was at a lay-by alongside the Merced river, opening the car door to have an impromptu picnic of crisps and chocolate biscuits, we were greeted by the very loud roar of the water. I doubt that my insightful commentary on our camcorder footage will hardly be audible when we watch back what we filmed when we get home, which will be a real shame I think!

All the rocks in the river had a heavy coating of snow and I certainly wasn't going to risk my neck climbing down on them to test how cold the river was. Especially after I found out from Lynne that when she visited here ten years ago, she slipped on a rock in the river and broke her toe. We searched long and hard for some sort of plaque commemorating the event, but we never came across it! Sadly the original fall hadn't been filmed and dispatched to You've Been Framed, so I asked Lynne if she wouldn't mind recreating it later in the day.

Next we drove a short way to Bridalveil Falls, a waterfall that didn't look too tall from a distance, but turned out to be 62 storeys high. There was a path leading up to it, which allowed you to virtually stand underneath the waterfall, but it was covered in thick ice. Therefore Lynne and I had a particularly ungraceful climb up to the viewpoint, there were several points where I almost landed on my backside. For some strange reason the park had decided only to put a handrail for about 5ft on a fairly flat part of the trail, leaving the walker completely without support for other steeper parts of it. Still the views at the bottom more than made up for the potential danger (and the thought that you had to somehow get back down the same trail again).

After that, thanks to the weather suddenly turning much colder, it was a quick dash around the remaining viewpoints to take photos. There were some more spectacular falls and rivers, which are all there as a result of melted snow and ice, in Summer the same falls and rivers all run completely dry.

We then snuck back to Merced to sneak in a quick hour of free internet access at the library, booking into our next hotel at Turlock. We also found out that a couple of our flight times in the middle of the trip have changed, but nothing to cause us any problems. It did cause me a bit of heartache to see the length of some of the upcoming flights that we have. One particularly enticing day involves a 14 hour flight from Australia to South Africa, followed by a further 4 hour internal flight. That's not a day that I'm looking forward to at all.
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