Yo Yosemite

Trip Start Apr 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 19, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Popular Yosemite National Park gets nearly 4 million visitors a year and this year the numbers were swollen by 5 eager Aussies in their now not-so-shiny RV.  And when we arrived in the valley we could see why it is so popular - the setting is amazing!  Sheer cliffs of granite surround a green forested valley floor with a rushing river, ending in a glacier-shaped canyon. 

We stayed outside the park as all the park sites had been booked out for months.  Indeed, the private campground at Indian Flat had lost our reservation and we were grateful when they shoe-horned us in the last spot available.  Only half an hour’s drive to the park entrance is pretty good for Yosemite. 

We had a quiet day to begin with, checking out the visitor centre, watching the introductory film and signing up a junior ranger.  There was also an Indian Village.  Unfortunately the Indians had been kicked out of the park years ago before they could build a casino, but we did find a very helpful Indian “cultural interpreter” in the museum, who explained how obsidian arrowheads are made. 

Yosemite has an abundance of waterfalls and they are at their best right now.  The views in Yosemite valley are not that easy to see as the valley floor is mostly forested.  However, we walked to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls and were seriously impressed.  Even better than our waterfall at home during a summer storm!  And take a few steps back and you can see the Upper Yosemite Falls as well. 

We also checked out the Happy Isles, where there is another interpretive centre and a couple of islands midstream you can walk to.  The sun was shining, a perfect spot to be…happy.

The next day we hiked (no bushwalking here) to Vernal Falls, along with a hundred other happy hikers.  Vernal Falls has a serious amount of spray, so we were glad to have brought our rain jackets.  After lunch Karen and the girls went horseriding to Mirror Lake, while Richard walked there.  The horse riders got soaked by a brief summer storm and after getting changed into dry clothes were ready for a buffet dinner at nearby Curry Village.

Our third day involved driving to Glacier Point, which is high on a cliff overlooking Yosemite Valley.  From Glacier Point there are spectacular views across the valley and beyond.  Far down below you can just make out the toy cars and buses endlessly circling the loop road, and tiny inflatable rafts drifting down the river.  We went on a ranger walk to nearby Sentinel Dome and the ranger explained how plants conserving water is like good money management - some save, some are frugal and others just live within their means.

Our time in the park was just about perfect until the next morning when on a winding section of forested road, there was a loud bang as the passenger side mirror clipped a branch and shattered the passenger window.  Hannah was in the passenger seat at the time and received a shower of safety glass.  We cleaned up the glass and headed to a park exit, stopping briefly to see a black bear who was grazing in a roadside meadow.  We drove to the town of Merced, and after 5 fruitless inquiries, finally found a glass repair shop who agreed to replace the window the following morning.  Unfortunately, no-one in town has the special RV mirror we need, so it looks like no fun doing lane changes from now on.  
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Where I stayed
Indian Flat RV Park
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