We made it to Yosemite!

Hello!  Hello!

Gosh, it’s been awhile trying to get this post written and posted.  Posting requires a fast internet connection to handle all the downloading and uploading of photos and that just hasn’t been available since leaving the Coast and even as I type this, the last of the photos seem to be having difficulty getting over the finish line.  Perhaps it’s the heat?  When I began, the temperature was 113 degrees.  I see it is now a balmy 105 here in Bakersfield, CA.

But, here we are at long last. The Yosemite Post.  Apologies here at the beginning.  This post took so long to get off the ground, so to speak, I didn’t have it in me to go back through to edit it, so please forgive the typos etc.  Perhaps when I have faster internet I’ll come back and clean it up.

Elo and I arrived Yosemite Valley this past Monday morning.  It was a beautiful day, as were all the days we had there.  The temps were definitely on the hot side (mid 90s) and the winds blew the Dixie Fire smoke our way at some point, so some days were hazy, but overall, it was really great.

I will say, first and foremost, I am glad I delayed my visit until the Park was at partial capacity, because I can’t imagine it any more full than it was.  Like most parks we have visited, there are tons of folks jockeying for position at all parking lots, side of the road spots, Visitors Centers, trailheads, restrooms, etc.  I will tell you too, I read in official park literature a note about being sure to use restrooms when you see them and take water and food in your car because Valley traffic jams can last up to 2-3 HOURS!  

Like I said, I’m pleased we specifically chose a year with limited admittance since while parking lots and trails were full, we always found a spot and could find some solitude with a little effort AND we never ran into a traffic jam other than the little bit of road construction coming into the Valley, which held us up 15 minutes at the most.  

Elo and I sometimes joke if a particular photo is “Banner Worthy”.  Turns out, one of her shots wins the prize for this post.  She took the banner shot while out and about on her bike one day.  It’s one of the many meadows with the granite walls rising up to the Heavens.

Yosemite Valley is at 4000ft elevation.  The granite walls are generally 3000ft.  And just a side note, most all Park Visitors stay and play in the Valley, which is why its so crowded.  Public Service Announcement:  Yosemite has so much more to offer than just the Valley.

Back to the Banner Shot discussion.  Take a look at one of my submissions for the banner photo, however its Elo’s in for the well deserved Win!

Half Dome

Here we are entering the Park and then the Valley.  And below that are some shots I took during a bike ride we took shortly after arrival.

Arriving Yosemite

We have entered the Valley and are in the small road construction traffic.  What a view!

Elo with the nose of El Cap

Yosemite Falls, Upper and Lower.  Dwindling due to the drought and time of season

El Capitan.  The top shot is the left hand side and the next shot below is a continuation of the wall on the right. 

At more than 1/2 a mile high and 1 mile wide, El Cap is the tallest exposed vertical face of granite on earth.  It is more than twice the height of the Empire State Building.  

There are 250 established routes up El Cap’s face, the most difficult being The Dawn Wall which was first ascended in 2016 and is still regarded as one of the most difficult climbs on earth.

El Cap was first climbed in 1957 and took 45 days over the course of a year using fixed ropes and other gear. Today, climbers take an average of 3 to 5 days to reach the summit using ropes for protection and hanging cots attached to the wall for sleeping mid-climb.

In 2017, Alex Honnold became the first and only climber to ascend the face without ropes or protection of any kind.  It took him 3 hours and 56 minutes from base to summit, a feat documented in the film, Free Solo, which I can recommend.

After spending a couple of days in the Valley, Elo and I headed up to Toulumne Meadows (elevation 8,600), which is one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada and was by far my favorite thing about Yosemite and not just because it was 20 degrees cooler!

Elo made a friend in the Village Store who taught us how to say, Toulumne.  Here goes.

To all o you?

No!

To all o me?

Yes!!!  To all o me!

That’s how you say it, To All O Me.  Accent on the All.

 

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir, 1877

I couldn’t agree more.

‘John Muir first came to these meadows in 1869 as a sheepherder.  He was so moved by Tuolumne Meadows that he returned there throughout his life.’

“Thousands of people, Native Americans, pioneers, sightseers, and rangers have traveled through the meadows and returned often.  It was here that conservationist John Muir introduced his friends to the mountain wilderness and began the discussion that created Yosemite National Park in 1890.  In 1892, Muir founded the Sierra Club to encourage others to explore, protect, and cherish their new park.

Check out the Tuolumne Meadows pics below.  Though the skies are hazy from the fire, it was still breathtaking.

Elo and I spent 4 and 5 nights respectively in the Upper Pines Campground in the Valley.  Next time, I will come on a swing season and stay up at Tuolumne Meadows much of the time, but where we were was just fine and thank goodness for the Merced River which runs through the Valley. It was so hot, many folks spent their afternoons swimming and lounging in the river.  This is the quiet spot Elo found for us just a short walk from our campsite.

Oooooo, how refreshing the cold water was, especially since we hadn’t had a shower since I don’t know when!  Along this walk, we spotted a cinnamon colored black bear, we creatively called Cinnamon 😉 and another day saw a black bear who had gotten separated from her juvenile cubs. A whole mess of Rangers were out and about trying to reunite them.  It took hours due to all the crowds.

I forgot to tell you we walked just a little bit on the John Muir Trail on the way back from the Tuolumne Meadows.   Here are a couple of shots from that bit of gorgousness.

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

OK.  I give up on the last photo.  It doesn’t seem to want to upload, so you’ll get two of the one.  I’ll add the other one another time when the WIFI isn’t gasping for its last breath. (As you can see, I was able to upload the second John Muir Trail photo, isn’t the beauty spectacular?)

Suffice it to say, Elo and I really enjoyed Yosemite and were happy the crowds were somewhat reduced AND we can totally see what all the Hubbub is about. It really is a quite a breathtaking place, everywhere you look. 

Yosemite seemed the perfect bookend to our joint travel in favor of solo travel.  Yes, upon finishing our time in Yosemite, we are charting our own courses home.  I, by way of Sequoia National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Elo to Joshua Tree…she has been wanting to go since U2 made that great album a coon’s age ago. I hope her tires don’t melt in all this crazy, well above normal, heat!

I’m reminded of that song.  You know the one.  That song that is not by Third Eye Blind, but everyone thinks it is?  Something about it’s closing time and “Every New Beginning is some other Beginning’s End.”  That’s us!

We have so enjoyed the many gifts of traveling together and will have a treasure chest of shared memories for the rest of our days.   Now it’s time for each of us to open to the many gifts of solo travel.  In my experience, solo travel can be rejuvenating, healing, peaceful, empowering, challenging, and life changing. May we both benefit in the highest ways possible.  HUZZAH!

I have asked Elo to send me photos of her trip East so I might share them here.  I think we’d all like to follow her adventures, as well as mine, so hopefully she’ll comply.  

I spent yesterday and today in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, so stay tuned for that post.

Until next time…

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Comments:

  • Heather

    August 15, 2021

    Yosemite is so beautiful! Hope you both have wonderful solo journeys……

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 16, 2021

      It really is, I agree. There’s something about that valley with the river running through it and the granite walls rising up 300 feet all around. I look forward to returning in the Fall or Spring and maybe catching some climbers on the wall. Summer is apparently too hot for climbing, so tried as we might, we saw no climbers other than beginners taking lessons. What a place to learn!

      reply...
  • Rusty Hunt

    August 15, 2021

    What a beautiful place! I love keeping up with your travels through this blog. Makes me want to take a trip out west.

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 16, 2021

      It is beautiful! Get your car and get on our here!

      reply...
  • Tena

    August 15, 2021

    Your photos make my heart sing! I can almost feel being there, too. Thank you.

    reply...
  • Anonymous

    August 15, 2021

    Love the pics. Awesome!

    reply...
    • Margie

      August 16, 2021

      Thanks, whoever you are! Appreciate you following along.

      reply...

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