Yosemite, California Sept 16- morning of Sept 18

It took about 3.5 hours to get to Yosemite National Park from where I currently live near Monterey. Most of the drive is bland, flat farmland. I arrived in the park in the early afternoon, drove to Curry Village (a section of camps in the Yosemite Valley floor), parked, then rode the shuttle to my trail head for Vernal Falls. This is a steep hike, but I figured it made a good warm-up for my first day. I got to the bottom of the falls, where there is a bridge, and I took out my camera. The silly thing wouldn't work. Changed batteries, still wouldn't work. Lovely. So after taking some pictures of other people with their camera for them, they offered to take pictures of me. I explain my camera situation, and they offered to take one on their film and email it to me. I agree, and have yet to get that email. Oh well, but I'm sorry to say that I have NO pictures from my first day in Yosemite!

After hiking Vernal Falls, it was getting late in the afternoon, and I knew I had to drive up to Tioga Road (Rt 120) to the first-come, first-serve campgrounds. All the campgrounds in the valley floor are reservation, and most of those fill up well in advance. There is one campground in the valley that isn't by reservation, but it's a "hike-to", and since I'm camping in my car, that won't work. So off I go, after a little more riding in the Valley shuttle. The buses run every 10 minutes, go all over the valley, are free, and are emissions free-- good deal.

I drove to my first choice campground, White Wolf. There were several spots available, but many more taken. I found a little spot in the back, then walked all the way back to the front to pay, only to realize that I couldn't remember the spot number I had parked in. Doh! So I had to walk all the way back x2. When I went back to pay for real, I went up to the little convenience store they have there and bought a disposable camera (only had one without a flash!) and a sandwich/chips.

After eating my dinner, two women who were set up across from me called me over to hang out. I went and sat with them while they made chicken and spinach. Another woman showed up after a bit, with a caravan full of girls who where camping next to my site. The three women were in their 40's, and seemed rather wild. They were quite entertaining. Then they got out their pot, like it was nothing. This only made them goofier, and made one of them fart. She kept saying, "aye, catch a breath of smoke, whew!" Then she told of how when she was leaving the valley to come up here, she accidentally honked her horn, and these people looked at her like "what?" and she said she yelled out "sorry! I guess I was feeling horny!" As the fire died down, one of these three went to bed, and the fire at the site next to mine with all the girls was getting bigger. There were about 10 of them aged 19-30something. So me and the two 40-something year-old women went to join the girls. We roasted marshmallows, sang amazing grace and other church songs. These girls weren't all crazy like the older women, just normal girls/young women. We had girl talk till after midnight, then realized in the morning that two men were camping with their tent only a few feet from our "slumber party" and probly heard everything we said.

The girls were all planning to do Half Dome in the morning (Sep 17), and I was thinking about going with them, but then I hardly got any sleep. It was freezing cold, and I wasn't warm enough in my sleeping bag on the floor of my vehicle. This campground had showers, but I was too cold to think about that in the morning. I just braided my hair, put on some warm clothes, packed up, and headed out to check out the valley.

Here's my campsite, the morning of Sep 17.

Looking off the ridge of Rt 120.

Entering the valley. It is so breath-taking in person, I can't even begin to tell you.

Granite with beautiful carvings from a glacier are all over.

I parked in Curry Village again, and jumped on the shuttle. I decided to go to Yosemite Falls, to hike up to the Upper Falls.

Not much here in mid-September. This is just the lower falls. The upper falls were dry, so I didn't even bother with the hike. I decided to go to the musuems and shops around the valley.

There's me in a native dwelling that was at one of the musuems.

On my way out of the park, I decide to make a quick stop at Bridal Veil Falls, since it is a very short walk from the parking lot at it's base.

There I am at Bridal Veil Falls. I really do have a right arm and lower left leg, they are hiding.

I am thinking that I'd like to do Half Dome in the morning, and since that is such a strenuous hike, I decide I need a good nights sleep in a hotel. Problem is that it's Saturday, and unless I want to pay "an arm and a leg" ;), I know I've got to do some driving. I head north, and end up in the small foothill town of Sonora. It was very charming, even inspired me to write a poem-- check it out under my poem section.

Here's the Sunrise outside my hotel room at the Days Inn in Sonora. My room came with a microwave and refrigerator, so I went and bought a frozen breakfast, so I could eat something filling before my hike in the morning, and not have to stop at a restaraunt.

Now the drive back to Yosemite.

The New Don Pedro Reservoir on Rt. 40

Me at the New Don Pedro Reservoir (taken by a Harley Momma).

I park farther down from Curry Village and hike the half mile to the trail head.