Headed for Death Valley

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Grant Lake Resort, CA

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I figured that it might be difficult to find a free campsite in Yosemite National Park on Saturday, so I stopped at 'Millerton Lake State Recreation Area', two hours drive south of Yosemite.  There were some showers at the end of the day.  Two Mexican-American families decided to head home.  One of the men came over to me and said I could use the firewood they had left.  During the last shower I sat in my car and read the Fresno newspaper.  The top story concerned a local man, who had spent the last 35 years on death row.  He will have a re-trial, but his attorney said he will only be ready in 2015 because of the thousands of case papers he will have to read through.  The American judicial system sometimes seems strange to me.  Anyway, it turned out to be a great - and dry - night, and I enjoyed my campfire immensely - the biggest so far.  The next morning turned out to be warm and sunny, and I'm sure the two families must have regretted their decision to bolt out. 
I now headed for Yosemite and entered through the south entrance.  Close to the entrance is the 'Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias'.  The Latin name is Sequoiadendron giganteum.  The related coastal redwoods grow higher.  The Yosemite sequoias don't have the greatest basal diameters.  According to the information folder:  'So how did these trees [the ones in Yosemite, on the coast and in Mexico] capture the imagination of the world?  Simply stated, in total volume the giant sequoias are the largest living things known to humans.'  I then continued my drive inside the park to find a campground.  After a couple of miles I saw the most charming hotel, the Wawona Hotel.  I decided to spend the night there.  I apologize for succumbing to the temptation, but this is only the third night spent in a bed since I started the tour in mid-June.  The hotel opened in the 1850's and the existing wooden building dates back to 1879.  I had a steak dinner in the hotel's dining room.  The next day I drove up to Yosemite valley, an hour's drive along a narrow, winding road.  All campgrounds in the valley were full.  I, therefore, decided to exit the park through the eastern exit.  Earlier in the day snow had fallen in the mountains, and I saw my first snow this year.  I was worried that it might be very cold in the morning at the current altitude of 8-9.000 feet.  So, I ended up at a campground next to June Lake, north of Mammoth Lakes.  Another lucky choice.  Plenty of firewood, sunshine this morning (when the sun rose above the mountains).  Right now I'm at Lone Pine, the entry point to Death Valley, after driving south along Hwy 395.  The nearest KOA campground is 400 miles away in Utah, which I won't make today.  So, we'll see where I end up spending the night.          
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Vivian Merkel on

I am enjoying your travels VERY MUCH, almost as good as being there myself! Thanks for sharing your great experience. Especially interesting because we have been to quite a few of the places you are visitngl but long ago.
Vivian in ND

Marilyn Lee on

You are seeing some of the most gorgeous non-ocean sights California has to offer.
The Wawona hotel is famous, thanks for pix because I've never been inside. June Lake is another treasure, less discovered, and Lone Pine is one of the joys of
Route 395, amazing Eastern Sierra nature. Famous photographer Galen Rowell worked out of Bishop, captured the beauty of the whole area. Have fun!

Jens Gregersen on

Vivian, thanks for you very encouraging comments. I've written to Michael Johnson with a request for the article where he interviewed me. I'll post it on the blog with full credits. I don't seem to have your e-mail address. Mine is: greger@nbi.dk.

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