Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in the system, and there are two predictable outcomes: the views are extraordinary, and there are a lot of people.
We camped in Lee Vining in a pretty cool private RV campground (more on Lee Vining later), and the town is practically adjacent to Yosemite NP. But it is a haul to get to the Yosemite Valley area from Lee Vining. It would be like you were going to Disneyworld for the day and instead of staying in the park you had a 2-3 hour drive in on very curvy roads, and a 2-3 hour drive home at the end of the day. If we could have stayed in Yosemite Valley, that would have been ideal.
On our way driving to get to our first hike, we had a typical Slowsky event. We were driving up Tioga Pass, on our way into Yosemite from Lee Vining, when we see this homeless looking guy on this extremely steep climb – with a bike and trailer (loaded with gear), hitchhiking! Now, I don’t care what you say, that is damn interesting. What do we do? Stop, and pick him up.
Well,, this guy (Atticus) is about 24 years old and is biking his way from Phoenix to Seattle. At least he has the presence of mind to stick out his thumb and accept a ride with psychopaths like Karen and me, versus continue up this very steep climb.
The base of his climb was about 7,400 feet elevation, and he was heading for close to 10,000 feet. This is where we step in.
It turns out Atticus was a really interesting fellow. For a job, he works for an outfit in Phoenix that builds trails, and since it is summer in Phoenix he is taking time off to bike back home to Seattle. What, maybe 1,500 – 2,000 miles? No big deal. We gave him a break on about 20 miles. So we have that going for us: Total consciousness.
Anyway, Atticus couldn’t have been a nicer guy. He explained that he was anticipating paddling (sea kayaks) with his father from Seattle to Alaska. We love his enthusiasm, sense of adventure, alternative life route, and wish him the best of luck, success, and happiness. Way to go Atticus!
Compared to Atticus’ efforts, our activities look like chump change. Our first hike was Sentinel Dome, and the views were pretty amazing. It is a short 1 point something mile hike (one way) on a very easy but well populated trail. The hike was really beautiful, and the views from the top of Sentinel Dome were terrific.
We drove out to Glacier Point after our hike to the Sentinel Dome, and were treated to pretty outstanding views of Half Dome, Nevada Falls and just spectacular views all around.
Very briefly we visited the Yosemite Valley area – we could have spent days there, versus minutes. But you do what you can do sometimes.
We had been told by one of the park rangers that the Tuolumne Meadows is a beautiful area, so we headed that way and hiked the Dog Lake Trail – about a 3 mile (roundtrip) hike to a gorgeous lake and beautiful views.
Next time we visit Yosemite, we will definitely avoid peak season, and we will definitely camp in the canyon valley. But no matter how you do it, this place is drop-dead gorgeous.