Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park
Sunday July 13th, 2014
FitBit totals = 11.11 miles, 1050 AEG (105 floors)
Have done Mt Whitney and some of the Pacific Crest Trail in the high Sierras, but never been to Yosemite before. Got out my Ansel Adams photo books for inspiration http://www.anseladams.com/yosemite-gallery/#
Maybe a visit to the Ansel Adams Gallery in the Yosemite Village located between Visitor Center and Post Office? Some pre-trip research to consider;
Map of YOSE http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
YOSE park guide http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/yg14-5.pdf
Map of Yosemite Valley http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/u ... hikes1.pdf
Map of Glacier Point http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/u ... rhikes.pdf
Washburn Point (near Glacier Point) view http://hikearizona.com/photo=352303
The HPP image location plus my flipping thru Ansel Adams photo books put this as destination number one.
Yosemite NP waterfalls http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/waterfalls.htm
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/mgrove.pdf
And HAZ http://hikearizona.com/decoder=14777
Grizzly Giants in Mariposa Grove http://hikearizona.com/decoder=12794
With a planned business trip to 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino CA (see http://hikearizona.com/photo=432287
) and a base-camp to be established at Courtyard Cupertino Marriott, 10605 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino CA, 95014 ( see http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-ph ... cupertino/
), thought I'd "front-end" the trip with some exploration of Big Sur and Yosemite with a goal to capture long exposure dusk image of Bixby Bridge ( see http://parkerlab.bio.uci.edu/pictures/p ... bridge.jpg
) and an Ansel Adams-like shot of Yosemite Valley (see http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/four_ ... _point.jpg
Google maps indicated travel distance from Cupertino base-camp to Yosemite Village was 200 miles with 3 hours 45 minutes travel time.
Arrived back at the Cupertino base-camp just after midnight Sunday morning from exploring the Big Sur Coastline (see http://hikearizona.com/photoset=31233&start=0
). Had a 5am wake-up call and after fueling up on the in-room caffeine, hit the road for Yosemite via CA120 entrance by 6am. I arrived at the park entrance about 10-ish where my NPS annual pass comes thru once again allowing me to bypass the backed up line of vehicles tallying-up their entrance fee.
The arrival into Yosemite Valley reminded me a lot of Zion NP - pass thru a couple of tunnels and voila, there's the spectacular valley, except it's not sandstone, it's granite this time!
When you cross the Merced River, all the traffic veered left towards Yosemite Village. I veered right climbing up CA41 to the Glacier Point cut-off. From the intersection of CA41, the sign indicated 16 miles to Glacier Point. The tight curves and smooth road and sudden elevation changes had me pining for something more than my Nissan Maxima rental (maybe borrow one of the R8's or McLaren's from yesterday's Bixby Creek Bridge encounter?). First stop Washburn Point followed by Glacier Point. I had some time to explore the upper reaches of Four Mile Trail and Panorama Trail (a little note to self - if you want to escape the bus tour crowd at Glacier Point, check out these trails). Upon return I treated myself to lunch at the Tourist Shack beside Glacier Point - a Hagen Das plus the requisite purchase of a Yosemite Falls & Half Dome frig magnet. After my fill of Yosemite Valley eye-candy, I had the Sentinel Dome to Taft Point loop hike on the "to-do" list. Sentinel Dome was exhilarating - maybe saw a dozen people the entire time I lingered up on the dome for about an hour. I wasn't expecting solitude in Yosemite on a summer weekend, but truthfully there were far less people than I imagined there would be. Once again, all was right in the world.
As the afternoon progressed towards dinner time, I went down to the valley floor for some mini-explorations. This is where all the people were...
With the 6 o'clock hour ticked by, I had a choice - sunset back up on Glacier Point or go checkout the giant sequoia in Mariposa Grove. My mind voted for the giant sequoia, so I drove down CA140 following the Merced River towards the town of Mariposa...
Some final thoughts - hitting Glacier Point first was a good call. Having that initial overhead view of the entire Yosemite Valley is jaw-dropping. It put the entire landscape into context for me. Starting off from the valley floor probably would have hidden too many places. At least the view from above allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted to see down in the valley. Taking in a sunset from Glacier Point or Sentinel Dome is surely a treat - maybe next time...
Also, Mariposa Grove isn't anywhere near town of Mariposa CA. Missed out on giant sequoia trees, but did get to explore Merced River via CA140 - nice drive, complete with landslide http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 238394.pdf
( not a recent slide, happened in 2006... ). Fish Camp and Oakhurst on CA41 are the closest towns to the giant sequoias for future reference....
THE HAZ DESTINATIONS
HAZ Washburn Point http://hikearizona.com/decoder=19445
HAZ Glacier Point http://hikearizona.com/decoder=19446
HAZ Sentinel Dome http://hikearizona.com/decoder=14388
HAZ Taft Point http://hikearizona.com/decoder=14682
HAZ East Valley Floor http://hikearizona.com/decoder=12475
HAZ West Valley Floor http://hikearizona.com/decoder=15094
HAZ Panorama Trail (from Glacier Point) http://hikearizona.com/decoder=16106
HAZ Four Mile Trail (from Glacier Point) http://hikearizona.com/decoder=16719
I'll post some photos when I get the chance. Enjoy!