Monday, June 20, 2011

Yosemite National Park!!!

Getting to Yosemite was like what going over the Golden Gate Bridge was on last summer's ride. I was really looking forward to Yosemite.

Since Yosemite is very popular, there was a long line of cars waiting to go through the Entrance Station. One of the advantages of being on a bike, I just scooted right up to the front of the line and took cuts. I told the ranger I hoped they didn't mind. She said, "Who cares, they can wait a little longer."

After paying my $10, I had a nice, about 4 mile downhill to Wawona. Then it was another 10 miles up before dropping down into the Yosemite Valley. As I came down into the valley, I got my first glimpses of El Capitan, Half Dome and a couple of waterfalls. SPECTACULAR!!! I also went through a really long tunnel--all downhill! There was more and more traffic. At the parking lot for Bridalveil Falls, there was a long line of cars waiting to park. Stella and I just rode right in. I locked her up and took the 1000 ft. walk to the base of the falls. The amount of water was incredible! There were places on the path where the water was running over it. The spray was refreshing and I was grateful for my waterproof camera! After taking photos and videos, I headed back to Stella.

As I came onto Southshore Dr. the traffic was, again, bumper to bumper. The traffic was barely moving so I just rode down the center of the 2-lane oneway road. It was a tight squeeze past some of the tour busses and RVs, but I made it to where I could get on the bike path.

I was headed to the North Pines Campground where I had heard there was a Hiker/Biker site. When I got to the kiosk for North Pines, there was no one there. However, there was a sign that said access to the "Backpacker Camp" through North Pines was closed due to nightly flooding. There was a map of how to get to the backpacker camp. It was somewhat unclear (due mostly to my unfamiliarity with the park) as to how I was supposed to go. I stopped and asked directions three times before I finally found it. When I got there, I chose an unoccupied site and paid for two nights (my first rest day in 18 days of riding). There was a sign saying everyone in the Backpacker Camp needed a Wilderness Permit. Well, I didn't have one of those. I set up my tent anyway as I didn't know where else to go. Later, the ranger came through asking to see everyone's permits. I told her I didn't have one as I was not hiking. I would be leaving the valley the day after tomorrow. She said I should be at Camp 4, but since I had paid and she was working both nights, I could stay.

The BP camp is next to the Merced River. Due to the warm temps in the daytime, the snowmelt causes the river to rise every afternoon/evening and flood part of the camp each night. It was quite fascinating to actually watch the waters rise and flood the trail to the North Pines campground as well as part of the sites in the BP Camp.

By the end of the evening, there were about 30 tents in the BP Camp (29 backpackers and 1 cyclist--me). I talked to a guy from Pennsylvania. He was doing several hikes in Yosemite. We noticed how most of the people in the camp were much younger than us.

Oh, and as an added bonus, when the wind blows just right, the smell from the vault toilets comes wafting over my campsite! How lucky is that!

No comments: