Monday, October 25, 2010

Yosemite National Park 18th &19th October 2010

we spent the morning on the porch of the Esmeralda Market sheltering from the rain and admiring the snow on the White mountains. At 1100 things looked brighter so packing up a wet tent we headed north to reach the 6, and at Benton joined the 120 towards Yosemite; a great road that climbs up into the national forest and has a great series of dips that last for 5 miles making the ride like a roller-coaster. At the junction with the 395 we turned north having our first views of the Sierra Nevada's. Turning back onto the 120 we started to climb up to the Tioga Pass at 9945 ft. with snow on the surrounding mountains but luckily for us the snow had melted from the road by the time we got there. Past Tuolumne Meadows and Olmsted Point with it's erratic rocks, down into the valley where we saw a couple of Coyotes, before entering the Yosemite Valley with it's towering granite cliffs, colourful trees, flood marker, and not so wild life. All the main camp sites were full but we were directed towards Camp 4 where the climbers hang out and found a pitch with a free bear locker (once we had emptied all the old beer and wine bottles) under the towering cliffs.
The next day we were packing up standing around the bike when Dom jumped out from behind a car. He had been sleeping at the other end of the site. We met him at Nakusp at the HU meeting and been talking on email since. He had been chasing us for weeks and we had been to the same places and had much the same pictures on out blogs, so it was really nice to see him. Hi Dom. After swapping stories we headed off towards Mariposa Grove near the south entrance to the park to see the giant sequoias but first stopped at Tunnel View to look hard at El Capitan. This hunk of granite is 3000 ft tall and climber take up to 5 days to climb it. You can't go home every night, you just hang off the rock having to pull up enough stuff to keep you alive for 5 days. We did see some people climbing it but they were so small they were really difficult to find. There can be up to 200 people hanging off this rock at any one time. I was told that 5 people had free climbed it in a day. Not bad going.
There were road works all the way down the Wawona road and it took us about 1.5 hours to do the 30 miles to the grove and when we arrived the car park was full and they weren't allowing any more cars up to the site. Luckily the nice man at the gate allowed our 2 motorbikes up and we were soon strolling amongst the giants. Looks like Jill is having a really bad hair day, and here she is again looking up the Grizzly Giant. They even cut a hole in one but this was the small one, the bigger one had fallen over a few years back, funny why that should happen. I then dragged Dom and Jill (now I have 2 people complaining at my route marches) up to see the Faithful Couple and the Clothespin tree which had a natural hole in caused by numerous fires over the ages. We didn't find the Sequoias as awe inspiring as the Redwoods. I think it was because the Sequoias were spaced out standing very much on there own. There wasn't the sense of quiet that enveloped you as in the Redwoods. Nice trees though. Mutiny followed and I wasn't allowed to go and visit the museum so we all headed back to the bikes, said our farewells and we followed Dom to Oakhurst, where he headed off towards Monterey to go whale watching and we took the 49 north west towards San Francisco, stopping for the night at Bagby Recreation Area camp site, where we decided to stay for 2 night as it was such a little gem by the Merced River with wild turkey and sun to dry out all our kit.

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