Yosemite: Words cannot describe it

Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
Trip End Oct 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, September 28, 2009

About four hours from San Francisco, we stopped at Columbia, a restored 1870s gold-mining town which is now a state park. We expected it to be a bit more bustling, but many of the shops were shut – perhaps it only opens on the weekends in the off-season. Luckily for the treasures, the candy shop was open and we loaded up on old-fashioned rock candy, candied ginger (not as good as the Buderim variety!) and heavenly chocolate fudge. Other interesting original buildings included the bank, Wells Fargo office, museum and a wooden bowling lane which the treasures were able to play on.

It took another two hours to reach Yosemite Valley, where we were staying in a camping-style cabin (a trip made longer as we entered Yosemite National Park because we had to stop at every fabulous “vista point”). As we drove in from the west, we saw the result of the recent fires in the park – acres of decimated trees. Like the Australian bush though, Yosemite needs bushfires to reinvigorate itself.

We were late checking into Housekeeping Camp, but made it before sundown – a good thing as the only lighting in the camp comes from two small lightbulbs in each cabin. We were thrilled to find that we had been allocated a riverfront unit in “A” section (although it was a long hike to the
one shower block). Toilets, on the other hand are plentiful and close. The cabins are certainly basic – three block walls with a plastic curtain for privacy – and the whole site is very dirty, but it actually wasn’t quite as bad as I had been expecting.

After picking up our hired bed packs and setting up the cabin (making sure that all food and anything with a scent went into the bear lockers), we hopped in the car and drove a short distance to Curry Village for pizza dinner. T2 spotted our first wildlife – racoons foraging under the outdoor tables.

It is seriously difficult to put into words how stunningly beautiful Yosemite Valley is. It is surrounded on all sides by huge mountains, the most famous of which is Half Dome, which dominates many views from the valley. On the way in, we saw climbers using ropes on a vertical rockface. They looked like bugs on such a gigantic mountain.

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