July 5th to 7th 2017: I last visited Yosemite 51 years ago with my now long deceased parents when I was 11. One memory I have is of sitting on a rock in a red t-shirt by Mirror Lake. I don’t know why for so many of us it is important to us to revisit old places and memories (and why some memories stick and others don’t) from our past but ‘it just is’. I guess it keeps us connected with our roots.
Anyway, no visit to California was going to miss out on the chance to revisit that childhood memory and maybe even find that rock and sit on it again. To stay in the park needs a booking up to a year in advance so we got as close as we could and stayed at Yosemite Pines RV Resort which is 24 miles from the park entrance. There is a bus into the park from outside but we opted to drive in with the motorhome and I was glad we did. The site was pretty okay but there was what turned out in the end to be an fortunate mix up with our booking as someone was still in our spot when we arrived.
Although we had to wait over an hour for them to clear out it did result in us meeting another great group of Californians (of which more in the next blog post) and after this and Cisco (see post Independence Day) I am officially declaring California the friendliest (and most expensive) state to date!
Anyway, back to Yosemite…
You need to be in the park early as spots fill up fast for parking. We left just before 7am and drove straight in at around 7:30am. I was told that there had been up to a 2 hour wait just to get in the park earlier in the week. Once through the entrance it was a further 17 miles of tight and twisty but spectacular driving to get to Yosemite Valley where we parked fairly easily just below Yosemite Falls. By the time we arrived traffic was already getting heavy and parking spaces disappearing.
From this spot it was a half a mile to walk to see the lower falls. If you wished to hike up to the upper falls it was a steep 2,700 ft climb and allow 6 to 8 hours there and back.
What was possible from here was a four and a half mile hike each way to Mirror Lake which is what I opted to do. It was a relatively easy up and down walk through the woods and plenty of shade and took about 90 minutes each way – stunning scenery all the way.
So, here is Mirror Lake. Very different from when I was there 50 years ago – the long drought they have had means it its much smaller and trees have gained root in the lake but it is still beautiful with Half `Dome in the background.
But what about that rock? This is my best guess – I wish I had a digital copy of that old photo to confirm it but if nothing else ~I managed the red shirt!
It was a very hot day and the great thing about having made the effort to take the motorhome in was that I could shower immediately after the walk and get a decent cup of coffee to revive me. I find myself a bit out of practice on the walking front 😀
Being school holidays, the park was exceptionally busy and having ‘touched my stone’ I actually felt one day was enough. Especially as we would be visiting Yellowstone in late August when it would be much quieter. It would be great (although somewhat unlikely) to come back in another 50 years out of school holiday time and see it again. And so, we changed our travel plans around entirely. Needing to be in Arnold CA on July 11th we now had three days to kill. If some crazy friendly Americans invite you to come and park outside their house for three night how could you refuse? And so it was that we had probably the best weekend of our trip when we left Yosemite to travel back down South to Camarillo just North of LA – completely the opposite direction to which we had intended to travel but what is a plan if it cannot be changed?
The antics of that weekend will be revealed tomorrow!