To all of my FB friends who urged me to go to Yosemite – THANK YOU!
And now let me start this post on a tangent: motel rooms. I have stayed in many a motel room on this trip. Priceline has been my best friend. I have paid around $60 and gotten a mansion like this- there were three TVs in this suite. THREE! One in the bathroom.
Before I reveal the final gem, let me say that there have been good and bad things about not having a schedule. I can come and go whenever I please. However, when it comes to getting a room on the weekend around any of the national parks in the summer, that presents somewhat of a challenge, as most of the motels and campsites have been booked WELL in advance. I was looking to find a place to stay Saturday night, before going to Yosemite on Sunday. I wanted to be near the East Entrance, which is challenging because there are only teeny tiny towns around there. Actually, they’re not really towns – they are “census-designated areas.” The closest one of those to the East Entrance is Lee Vining, CA. There was nothing available there. The next closest “census-designated area” was Bridgeport Jct, about 40 minutes from the East Entrance. I looked on Priceline and found a room in Bridgeport at the Bridgeport Inn. Priceline indicated “Double Room, Shared Bathroom.” I thought, hmmm, well, I’ve done the shared bathroom thing in NYC. That’s fine, I can live with that….it’s so close to Yosemite and there really isn’t another choice. It was available, they had free wi-fi, and the price wasn’t exorbitant. The Bridgeport Inn is an old historic Victorian Inn, built in 1877, with rooms in the Inn itself, as well as a modern motel square of rooms behind the Inn itself. I arrived there, checked in, and went up to my room. Folks, this was the TINIEST room I have EVER been in, even tinier than most NYC rooms. Ok, I was fine with that. I took out my laptop to start blogging, and the Wi-Fi did not work. Grrr….I needed a cup of coffee anyway so I went next door to a great little coffee cafe and did some work. I came back to the Inn and asked about the Wi-Fi. “Well, we’re here in the mountains, so no surprise that it doesn’t work,” was the answer to my inquiry. I replied “I just was next door at the coffee cafe and the Wi-Fi there worked just fine.” A shrug of the shoulders was all I got. So, I took a book up to my room to read. I needed to plug in my phone, and to my dismay discovered that there were NO ELECTRICAL OUTLETS in the room! So, I guess it didn’t matter that the Wi-Fi didn’t work since I wouldn’t be able to plug in my laptop!
Oh, and the shared bathroom??? Two bathrooms for 10 rooms upstairs. And folks, most those rooms had more than two people in them. So, I decided to just go to bed early. The next morning, I rose at 5am, opted not to take a shower in the communal shower, brushed my teeth, and got out of Dodge. I headed towards Yosemite and my adventure there. It was cold!!
I got there so early there were no rangers at the gate!!
As if you all don’t know already, I’m obsessed with rivers and creeks. Found a couple pretty shots
It seemed like I had the park all to myself. I started driving further and further towards Yosemite Valley. Got a couple of nice shots from Olmsted Point.
And then I saw this off in the distance:
I knew that there were alot of fires in the area – I’d even seen smoke and haze back at Crater Lake. This one was marked a “controlled burn.” As I got closer to the Yosemite Valley, the more hazy and smoky it got. Finally I drove through the tunnel, got out of my car to see the FAMOUS TUNNEL VIEW!! The one you see on every single postcard! El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall rising from Yosemite Valley, with Half Dome in the background!!! THE SHOT!!!!!
Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Oh, well, I thought I would still see some beautiful sights. And I did. Instead of me blathering on the the same ol’ superlatives, I’ll just post lots of pretty pictures! Yosemite is GORGEOUS!
Here in Yosemite Valley:
I talked to a ADORABLE little ranger at the Visitor’s Center. I mentioned the smoke and haze and she said, yes, today’s the haziest it’s been in weeks. She commented that it might clear as the day went on and said try the tunnel view later. As she was showing me a map of some spots, I noticed I’d driven RIGHT PAST Bridalveil Falls, and I said “How could I have missed that?” She gave me a look and said, “Well, there’s not much there.” She was right! And oh, yes, watch out for that strong current!!!
Ok, this is supposed to be a big waterfall!!! It’s been SO dry though.
No water at all!!!!
After walking around the Valley for a while and seeing the non-existent Bridalveil Falls, I got in my car to head for Glacier Point. This time I had a MUCH better view coming out of the Tunnel!
I found a parking spot at the Sentinel Dome Trailhead and got ready for a nice hike to that. Great hike with a FANTASTIC payoff at the end!
After that, I made the final push up to Glacier Point! WHOA!! Paula Head, you were RIGHT!!!
As I left Glacier Point, I stopped and took a shot of some pretty flowers.
And also got a much clearer view of El Capitan than I did in the morning!
Ok, and my final pass through the tunnel. I was rewarded with the best one yet. Fantastic visit, in my mind, second only to Glacier National Park.