© 2015 mlsmith.us   All rights reserved
Yosemite 2014

Trip Summary

The Smith-Ferguson Family
What better time to revisit Yosemite than on the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act of 1864.  The Yosemite Grant was the first land grant to protect wild lands for the enjoyment of people and became the basis of our National Park system.

We scheduled this visit to Yosemite for late September so as to avoid the summer crowding that is so prevalent, especially in Yosemite Valley.

Day 1

Coming from Los Angeles, we stopped for lunch in Fresno before heading on to Oakhurst where we were staying. Oakhurst is on Highway 41 just outside of the Southern entrance to the park. After we checked into the hotel we still had several hours of daylight so we drove on into the park and visited Mariposa Grove.

Although California is in a severe drought, there was a light rain falling which was making the park rangers (and the trees!) very happy. We were dressed in So. Cal "formal" - namely shorts and tee-shirts and threw on a windbreaker just to keep the damp off, however, many of the other visitors were wearing ponchos purchased from one of the park's gift shops. Some of the tourists were not so happy to be inconvenienced by the rain, but most were in good spirits.

We tromped around for a couple of hours and had a wonderful time.

Day 2

We allocated our first full day in the park to visit Glacier Point and the surrounding areas. Glacier Point is an overlook with a fantastic view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, as well as Yosemite's high country. For whatever reason, we had never visited Glacier Point in any of our previous trips. The view of Yosemite Valley and looking straight across at Half Dome were absolutely spectacular.

Going as we did in late September, we had no difficulty visiting Glacier Point, although the facilities (parking lots in particular!) were pretty much at capacity.

After leaving Glacier Point and driving back to Wawona Road, we still had a lot of daylight left and considered driving into Yosemite Valley. However, we decided instead to reserve a full day to visit the valley and instead returned to the hotel in Oakhurst. We had time for a nap and then a good dinner in Oakhurst.

Day 3

Our second full day in the park was dedicated to Yosemite Valley. Visiting in the off season made this the most pleasurable trip into Yosemite Valley that I have ever had. We took our time enjoying the valley loop and making many stops along the way to take pictures or just enjoy the majesty of the scenery. At the visitor's center, we picked up a couple of extra things to round out a picnic lunch that we enjoyed from a day-use picnic area with a view of El Capitan.

Leaving the valley we took Highway 120 to the West. Without realizing it, this path took us through the devastation caused by the Rim fire in 2013.

The Rim fire burned over 402 square miles of the Stanislaus National Forest. Even a year later the destruction left in the wake of the fire paints a surreal and largely inhospitable landscape.

Instead of continuing on Highway 120 into Groveland, we decided to "take the road less traveled" and instead turned off onto county road J20. (J20 led us to Smith Station Rd. How could we resist? [G])

J20 eventually dropped us onto Highway 49 near Coulterville. This was another first for me as I hadn't been on Highway 49 South of Coulterville before. Driving on this stretch of Highway 49 was not too bad although the road was a little twisty in places. All in all it was kind of an interesting drive.

Eventually, Highway 49 bisects Lake McClure. Lake McClure is a manmade lake a little South and East of the Don Pedro Reservoir and is fed by the Merced River. The very low level of the lake was yet additional evidence of the drought: When we stopped at the Lake McClure / Bagby Recreation area, the bottom of the boat launch ramp was (at least) 30-feet above the level of the lake. Dry times for California!

Day 4

The next day was our last day in Yosemite for this trip. On this day, we again left Oakhurst and entered the park from the South and drove back to the Yosemite Valley loop.

For us, it was once around the park to try and set the experience in our minds (and take a few more pictures), try to see what wed missed, and then back to Tioga Road (Highway 120).

This time we headed east to get a different view of the park along the way and visit Olmstead Point and Tuolumne Meadows. Olmstead Point was as breathtaking as always - we spent the better part of an hour gazing back into the park and discussing "what was what" and where we'd been.

Unfortunately, it was late enough in the season (and dry because of the drought) that the campground at Tuolumne Meadows was closed. Also closed was the Yosemite School of Mountaineering (always a favorite stop of mine) and the nearby facilities. Although disappointed, we consoled ourselves by reviewing some of the new and wonderful things we'd seen - along with adding some "must do" items to our next visit.

Besides, since we were "in the neighborhood" we stopped in Bishop for a couple of days "on the way home".

Bishop is one of our oldest and most frequented family favorites - as you will notice from other entries here.

mlsmith.us
© 2015 mlsmith.us   All rights reserved
Yosemite 2014

Trip Summary

The Smith-Ferguson Family
What better time to revisit Yosemite than on the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act of 1864.  The Yosemite Grant was the first land grant to protect wild lands for the enjoyment of people and became the basis of our National Park system.

We scheduled this visit to Yosemite for late September so as to avoid the summer crowding that is so prevalent, especially in Yosemite Valley.

Day 1

Coming from Los Angeles, we stopped for lunch in Fresno before heading on to Oakhurst where we were staying. Oakhurst is on Highway 41 just outside of the Southern entrance to the park. After we checked into the hotel we still had several hours of daylight so we drove on into the park and visited Mariposa Grove.

Although California is in a severe drought, there was a light rain falling which was making the park rangers (and the trees!) very happy. We were dressed in So. Cal "formal" - namely shorts and tee-shirts and threw on a windbreaker just to keep the damp off, however, many of the other visitors were wearing ponchos purchased from one of the park's gift shops. Some of the tourists were not so happy to be inconvenienced by the rain, but most were in good spirits.

We tromped around for a couple of hours and had a wonderful time.

Day 2

We allocated our first full day in the park to visit Glacier Point and the surrounding areas. Glacier Point is an overlook with a fantastic view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, as well as Yosemite's high country. For whatever reason, we had never visited Glacier Point in any of our previous trips. The view of Yosemite Valley and looking straight across at Half Dome were absolutely spectacular.

Going as we did in late September, we had no difficulty visiting Glacier Point, although the facilities (parking lots in particular!) were pretty much at capacity.

After leaving Glacier Point and driving back to Wawona Road, we still had a lot of daylight left and considered driving into Yosemite Valley. However, we decided instead to reserve a full day to visit the valley and instead returned to the hotel in Oakhurst. We had time for a nap and then a good dinner in Oakhurst.

Day 3

Our second full day in the park was dedicated to Yosemite Valley. Visiting in the off season made this the most pleasurable trip into Yosemite Valley that I have ever had. We took our time enjoying the valley loop and making many stops along the way to take pictures or just enjoy the majesty of the scenery. At the visitor's center, we picked up a couple of extra things to round out a picnic lunch that we enjoyed from a day-use picnic area with a view of El Capitan.

Leaving the valley we took Highway 120 to the West. Without realizing it, this path took us through the devastation caused by the Rim fire in 2013.

The Rim fire burned over 402 square miles of the Stanislaus National Forest. Even a year later the destruction left in the wake of the fire paints a surreal and largely inhospitable landscape.

Instead of continuing on Highway 120 into Groveland, we decided to "take the road less traveled" and instead turned off onto county road J20. (J20 led us to Smith Station Rd. How could we resist? [G])

J20 eventually dropped us onto Highway 49 near Coulterville. This was another first for me as I hadn't been on Highway 49 South of Coulterville before. Driving on this stretch of Highway 49 was not too bad although the road was a little twisty in places. All in all it was kind of an interesting drive.

Eventually, Highway 49 bisects Lake McClure. Lake McClure is a manmade lake a little South and East of the Don Pedro Reservoir and is fed by the Merced River. The very low level of the lake was yet additional evidence of the drought: When we stopped at the Lake McClure / Bagby Recreation area, the bottom of the boat launch ramp was (at least) 30-feet above the level of the lake. Dry times for California!

Day 4

The next day was our last day in Yosemite for this trip. On this day, we again left Oakhurst and entered the park from the South and drove back to the Yosemite Valley loop.

For us, it was once around the park to try and set the experience in our minds (and take a few more pictures), try to see what wed missed, and then back to Tioga Road (Highway 120).

This time we headed east to get a different view of the park along the way and visit Olmstead Point and Tuolumne Meadows. Olmstead Point was as breathtaking as always - we spent the better part of an hour gazing back into the park and discussing "what was what" and where we'd been.

Unfortunately, it was late enough in the season (and dry because of the drought) that the campground at Tuolumne Meadows was closed. Also closed was the Yosemite School of Mountaineering (always a favorite stop of mine) and the nearby facilities. Although disappointed, we consoled ourselves by reviewing some of the new and wonderful things we'd seen - along with adding some "must do" items to our next visit.

Besides, since we were "in the neighborhood" we stopped in Bishop for a couple of days "on the way home".

Bishop is one of our oldest and most frequented family favorites - as you will notice from other entries here.