Monday, September 3, 2007

Yosemite National Park

We arrived in Yosemite National Park on a holiday weekend with no place to stay… others would have perished, but since we live in our car we are used to this kind of thing and we found a place to stay in the northern, less visited area of the park. The campground road practically required 4-wheel drive, but was packed with only a few spots left. We got set up and did a nice afternoon hike up to Elizabeth lake, which was in a nice alpine meadow. Yosemite has perhaps the most strict bear regulations that we have seen so far. Not because they have man-eater grizzlies as in Glacier, but because the black bears here are smart, aggressive and hungry. We saw some pictures at the ranger station of a Geo Metro that had been peeled open like a can of sardines by a hungry bear last week. It put its claws between the door window frame and the car frame and pulled it down… all for some banana peels and deodorant. Yum. Because of these aggressive bears you have to take everything with any sort of smell out of the car and put it in the steel bear containers at each campsite. This task was a bit annoying since as you can imagine we have a lot of sunscreen, food, toiletries, all kinds of stuff for living on the road for 3 months. Other parks let you leave this stuff in a hard-sided car or the trunk, but not here. We were skeptical of the bear precautions, but sure enough we heard one rummaging through a nearby campsite at about four in the morning on Saturday night… It sounded as if it cracked a soda and ate a bag of chips then chewed on a plastic water bottle for 20 minutes, but I can’t be sure, someone scared it off before we could peek out the tent door.

On Sunday we did a ridiculous hike up to Glacier Peak. 3500 feet of elevation change in just under 4.5 miles… The 97 switch backs on the trail provided spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley and Half Dome (see pics), but it was quite a workout and the 4 miles back down via the same trail may have permanently damaged us. Steep downhill hiking sounds easy, but it is the worst… Sara and I would much rather go up hill any day.

On Monday we woke up with plans to hike another day in Yosemite, but on the drive over decided we had had enough Yosemite, and headed out toward King’s Canyon/Sequoia National Park. Yosemite has great views and interesting topography with the massive granite peaks and domes, but overall the park wasn’t our favorite. We’ll need to come back in the spring/early summer when there is more water flowing; the park was a bit dry and didn’t quite live up to the waterfall paradise immortalized by Ansel Adams in so many of his photos.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you're heading away from the bears. The pics are spectacular and we're enjoying every posting. Probably be a big letdown when it all ends.
See U in mid Oct.


Julie Perilla said...

MMM... banana peals and deodorant, one of my favorite midnight snacks.