Thursday, May 17, 2012
Up at dawn, we immediately set out on our latest attack on the
mountains... Ha, ha! Just kidding! We lingered over coffee and
peanut butter sandwiches and eventually wandered out of camp around
Yosemite Falls and Tioga Road
First we headed over to Lower Yosemite Fall. It's about a
ten-minute stroll to the base of the fall, where you're too close
and it's too wet to get a good picture. On the approach to the
fall, though, I got a great pic of both Lower and Upper Yosemite
Falls, a 2,425-foot drop in total.
Upper and Lower Yosemite
Then we started up the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail, which is a
brutally steep path, with over a hundred switchbacks in the first
mile. We didn't hike all the way to the top of Upper Yosemite, but
we went past Columbia Rock Viewpoint and to the base of the fall.
The views were outstanding.
From Columbia Rock
Half Dome from Columbia
In the afternoon, we drove out Tioga Pass Road as far as Mono Lake
and Lee Vining. The road goes eastward from the valley, up and up
and up through the High Sierras, and reaches the park boundary at
Tioga Pass, elevation 9,945 feet. This road just opened for the
season a week ago, and there was quite a bit of snow yet along the
road, with the highest-elevation lakes still frozen over.
The Sierras from Tioga
Tom plays in the
Olmstead Point was a highlight of the drive, with a wide view of
the valley from an unusual vantage point. Half Dome just doesn't
look like Half Dome from this angle! It was very windy and very
cold when we walked out to the point.
A different view of Half
Jana at Olmstead
Mono Lake is a
60-square-mile lake in the middle of the high desert that's three
times as salty as the ocean and 80 times as alkaline. It has no
natural outlet, only inlet streams. As the water evaporates, it
leaves salts and minerals behind. It looks otherworldly, like
something out of Star Trek.
The Sierras from Lee
We returned to Curry Village about 7:30 and feasted at the Pizza
Deck. We'd never gotten around to eating lunch today and were
famished! The power was out in the shower house tonight, so they
had it locked down. We'll have to hit them in the morning.
Note: Got gas today in Lee Vining, $4.99 a gallon. Ouch!
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