Monday, September 21, 2009

The Extremes of Yosemite...

We had a number of people tell us Yosemite was TOO crowded and they didn’t like it. We arrived at the East side at Lee Vining, CA and entered the Park after a huge pull up the mountains that was quite spectacular. I was worried about getting a spot to camp as it was close to 5:00 in the evening when we got there. However, there were spots and pretty soon we had the trailer parked at the Meadows Campground for $10 a night. Of course no electricity but still a nice place to put the trailer. We were on the opposite side of the Park to Yosemite Valley and it’s trademark sites such as El Capitan, Half Dome and the Falls. We were at about 8000 feet and the valley floor was close to 3000 so temperatures could be vastly different. On the first mornings we took of to Yosemite Valley and left our campground with temperatures close to 40. We entered the Valley some 1 ½ hours later and believe it or not temperatures in the 90’s that afternoon. I had to buy Beth shorts as she had not planned on this. We basically looked around and tried to see all of the historic hotels, sites, etc. the valley had to offer. It was in fact crowded and I have to say the crowds, fast food, etc. took away from the incredible natural beauty of this place. We both noticed a different feel to the service we received at Yosemite than other parks. It was far more indifferent and the very worst case were outhouses that basically were unfit for use. This condition I intend to write the head of the Park Service about as simply unacceptable at such a national treasure. We also noticed the percentage of foreign visitors was quite high particularly in this park. We did several hikes in the Meadows area and really quite beautiful with a wonderful mountain stream running through both or campground and the meadows. The John Muir Trail went along side the steam and we walked a good ways on it. We spent four nights in the park and the last morning it was 28 degrees with frost on the meadows. Unfortunately, the battery in the trailer had begun to fail and by morning we were unable to turn on the heater. By the way, I did replace the battery the next day but it was disappointing that the one that came with the trailer only had two months of life in it. So bottom line on Yosemite, extremely pretty with huge, and I mean huge granite rocks everywhere. El Capitan goes from the valley floor 3500 feet pretty much straight up. The attitude of Park employees, and maintenance were simply not good. It’s a conundrum in that you want people to use the parks but on the other hand you don’t go to a national park for a Disneyland-type experience.

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