As mentioned in my last post, we did drive to Glacier Point after lunch on Tuesday. From the vista is a grand view of the Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. I can't get over how beautiful this place is. There is no way to appreciate this National Park in a weekend. If you come, you will only be wasting your time unless you plan to stay at least a week. We will have seen almost everything we wanted to in two weeks, however, we are old so we take a day off after each big outing. If you want to be on the go everyday, all day long, it can be done in one week.
On Thursday we took a relatively long trip to Tuolumne Meadows in the northern portion of the park. It was only around 55 miles but took almost 2 hours, not because of traffic (that was rather light), but because of the winding road, steep grades, and stopping for photos. Tuolumne Meadows is at an altitude of about 8,500 feet while Yosemite Valley is around 4,000 feet. The park facilities (camp grounds, visitor center, store, etc.) all closed for the winter today, September 23, so we made the trip just in time.
Continuing on to Tioga Pass, a few miles beyond the park's eastern gate, we reached an altitude of about 10,000 feet above sea level. The scenery on the drive was fantastic as usual and I had to pass up some photo ops because of the time. The trip took us a total of 7 hours including our stops.
We broke our rule of resting every other day and took the same route on Friday as we did on Thursday, with the exception that we went all the way to Bodie, one of the country's best preserved ghost towns. It was a product of the 49'er gold strike. Prospectors found gold on land that became Bodie in 1859. By the 1870's Bodie supported three breweries and almost a hundred saloons and dance halls along a one mile long main street. There were only two church's in Bodie. I suppose that tells you that it was a rather wild place. There was even a red light district. In 1879 the population of Bodie was about 10,000. Two fires, one in the late 1800's and the other in 1934 reduced the number of buildings to about 150 by the time the mine played out and the town was abandoned. There are now about 100 buildings still standing.
Bodie is a California State Park and is maintained in a state of "arrested decay". In other words, there has been no reconstruction of buildings or safety modifications made. You see the town pretty much the way it was when the last person left. Many of the towns peoples' possessions that they could not take with them are still right where they left them.
From Bodie we drove south on CA-395 to the South Tufa Beach on Mono Lake. Mono Lake was an inland sea many eons ago. It is feed by springs and snow melt but has no outlet, other than an aqueduct that provides water to Los Angeles. The lake is very salty so the aqueduct collects the water before it actually reaches the lake. Due to the salt and alkalinity of the water, large limestone formations developed around under water springs. After the aqueduct was built the water level of the lake was drastically reduced, exposing these "Tufa" formations, which do look a little "other-worldly".
This afternoon we are driving over to see the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which provides San Francisco with water. It is said to have been as dramatic as Yosemite Valley before the dam was built. Hetch Hetchy is not very far from the campground. On the way back we are stopping at Evergreen Lodge for dinner. If you recall, we ate lunch there the day after we arrived in Yosemite. A great place.
Tomorrow we are heading down to the southern end of the park and the Mariposa Grove, a large grove of Giant Sequoias.
I have a lot of photos from the above excursions to post, however the internet is extremely slow today so I will have to post them later. Time to get ready for our drive to Hetch Hetchy.
This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have
- Robert & Carol Ann Martin
- Nacogdoches, TX, United States
- I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).