We rolled out of Fresno fully stocked and ready for the next two weeks of our adventure in Yosemite National Park. Adventure is afoot, although not nearly as big as the African adventure in the Peace Corps our nephew Joe started this week, as he left his home in southwest Wisconsin in favor of 27 months in Burkina Fasa, Africa.
Friday night we drove to a couple boondocking spots near the Arch Rock entrance of Yosemite that looked good on the map, but in reality turned out not to be options. Luckily we both have flexible travel partners and travel plans, so we decided on the only dusty pullout/parking area alongside Highway 140 that does allow overnight parking and nestled into the canyon near the river for the night. To our surprise, all through the evening and night additional campers pulled in – everything from a van to a few tents pitched on the gravel! This is obviously a well known spot for folks looking for a free spot to spend the night close to the park. We both cringed when we broke the early morning stillness by firing up the big diesel engine to pull out, but at least we were the first to park the previous evening so they should have had some idea what they were getting into when they slotted in next to us.
As daylight broke, we drove up Highway 140 through the Arch Rock entrance into Yosemite, then out of Yosemite through the Big Oak Flat entrance on Highway 120 and back into the Stanislaus National Forest. Our quest – a spot high on sunshine and low on people. Bingo! Here we are at about 5,100 feet elevation with an expansive view of the valley and mountains all around. Temperatures are 80’s/50’s with abundant blue sky (and the necessary solar power), and the only sound is the wind in the treetops blended with a variety of birds. We’ve only seen three vehicles in three days, and two of those were Forest Service vehicles. Nirvana.
Sunday we hiked along the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir inside of the north end of Yosemite, a five mile trek to Wapama Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in North America at 1,000 feet. When we finished the hike, it was about 2 pm, with plenty of daylight and drinking water left. I think Jim would have been fine calling it a day, as a lot of people would! Earlier he had pointed out another shorter trail to Lookout Point…”it’s only a couple miles and we can take our time”, I said. A couple miles on a trail rated “moderate”, that is. The climb was worth it though as we had the point to ourselves with a beautiful view of the reservoir and waterfall, and mountains as far as we could see.
It’s time for a good night’s sleep to prepare for Monday morning conference calls and another week “at the office”.