Yosemite National Park

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Quality Inn Mammoth Lakes
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 12 -  We wake up in Fresno, temps in the high 80's and head out toward Yosemite National Park 2 hours away. We will drive about 215 miles today. When I wake up each day I am always a little disoriented. It takes me a minute or two to figure out which room, which hotel, which town I am in today.

We stop for lunch in Oakhurst for the best barbecue I have ever eaten! We would have stayed here in this town last night, but the hotel prices are high here.  We drive another 30 minutes to the park entrance.

We pay $20 vehicle fee and enter the park from the South entrance where Mariposa Grove, giant Sequoias, are located. There are many large Sequoias right there around the parking lot that we explore.We learn (from another tourist) that the open top tram costs over $50, is a very dusty ride and goes pretty fast so you can't get out and see trees or take pictures We decide to walk a little into the Grove instead. It is a large grove and we know we do not have time to walk the whole grove (4-6 miles), but we walked about half a mile into the grove seeing some of the huge trees. The most impressive was the roots of a tree that had fallen hundreds of years ago. I am happy that we get to see the large Redwoods.

There are 4 main roads/areas in Yosemite (Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley and Tioga Road that runs across the entire park).  We can't see it all, but have been told to go to Glacier Point.

We head toward Glacier Point not knowing what we will see. After traveling for almost an hour within the park we arrive at Glacier Point. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE!  We are about 7200 feet high, looking down into the valley below. There are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE cliffs and waterfalls that we are viewing from this view point. I cannot describe how large and close the rounded boulder cliffs are and how far down we are looking to the valley below. We see huge waterfalls below us that look like the size of pencils.

We take tons of pictures and walk to several of the different viewpoints to see the cliffs and valley. I am so glad we drove to Glacier Point. It has to be the best part of this whole park!

As we drive back down from Glacier Point we encounter a coyote (or perhaps it is a wolf) that is standing in the road holding a deer leg in it's mouth!!!  It just looks at us like, "I dare you to take my deer leg!"  I scramble to get the camera on and it walks beside the car, looking at Art and stops behind our car. I snap a picture or two before it runs away. I added the picture of him to our photo album.

One amazing thing to us is how there are NO guard rails in the park. There are many places that if you do not turn the wheel, you drive right off the cliff. There is hardly any shoulder in some places as well. It terrifies me when we encounter these places and there are a lot of them! But the beauty of it all makes it worth it!

We drive on seeing a couple of deer (one a huge buck). We encounter a family stopped on the side of the road taking a picture of a brown bear. It is far away and our cameras do not capture a good picture due to the lighting and distance.

We drive a very short distance into the Yosemite Valley and look UP to see the same huge mountains we were looking down on from Glacier Point.  More pictures of course. Amazing!!! We have no time to continue throughout the whole valley. We pass an occasional campground.

It is getting late in the day and we head for the Tioga Pass road. It will take us 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to our exit from the park and we know the elevation is very high there. The road winds higher and higher along the edge of the mountains.  The view continue to amaze us and we lose time stopping to take pictures. Before long it is getting dark and we get to the beautiful Yosemite lake, Taneya, right at dusk, too dark to see well, but I get a quick picture anyway.

We finish the last 10-15 miles or so, driving in the dark, wishing we could see it all!  After we exit the park, we have about a 3000 foot drop to make it down to Mammoth Lakes where we will spend the night. This is the scariest part of all for me. It is steep, sharp drop offs so there are reflectors every few feet.. NO GUARD RAILS. This takes us about 30 minutes to descend and I do NOT like this part!

As we drive toward Mammoth Lakes it turns into a 4 lane highway, but we encounter NO CARS. I feel like we are in the middle of nowhere in the dark and wonder if there IS a town ahead.

We finally make it to Mammoth Lakes, where we will stay at the Quality Inn. We are told to remove EVERYTHING from our car with an odor, including lotions, because the bears will tear into the cars with odors. Again we find that we have no air conditioning, a fan and an open window. It takes just a little bit to cool down the room. The air outside is very cool.

Next door is a John's pizza, the only place in town that is open. So we get dinner there and finally end the day.  IT WAS AN AWESOME DAY!

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Linda Reese on

Sharon, I am following you and Art every day and feel like I have been on this fantastic journey right along with you. Keep the great pictures coming. I enjoy seeing where you are and what you have seen. Keep safe. Love, Linda

srhodes on

Thanks for letting me know. We have had an amazing journey!

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