Friday, September 30, 2011

US Holiday - Day 19 - San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

Day 19 - Tuesday 27th September
This was certainly an early start this morning. I wanted to be ready for the pickup to take me out to Yosemite. I was up around 6am and as I had packed and showered the night before it was just a matter of getting dressed and walking out of the room and checking out of the hotel. A small bus picked me up just before 6.30am and we then proceeded to pick up a few other passengers before heading to the Fisherman's Wharf.
At this point got off the smaller bus and picked up my tickets from a ticket window and waited for a bigger bus and more passengers to arrive. The bus then arrived and plonked myself on a seat. A few more passengers then got on the bus and then we were off. We headed west across the Oakland Bay Bridge. If a bad earthquake was to happen being on the lower deck of the bridge would not be the place to be but after a couple of minutes we were on the other side and the risk of death was reduced.
We travelled through Oakland and then onto the valley that runs a significant proportion of the California state. Couldn’t believe it was so dry, just amazes me time and time again. At around 10.30am we had our first stop and grabbed some breakfast. We then re-boarded the bus for the final leg through to Yosemite. Slowly but surely we started gaining some elevation. Almost straight away the scenery and terrain began to change. More trees started to appear and before long it started to dominate the view. By around mid day we had snaked our way close to the start of the Yosemite National Park and at this point we pulled into the hotel where I would be staying for the next two nights. Dropped off the bags before continuing into the national park itself.
The first stop in the park was a vantage point called Tunnel View. This has an elevated view back on the Yosemite Valley. All I can say is wow. I could spend time explaining what I saw here but simply Google image “Yosemite Valley” to get some idea. We then re-boarded the bus for the trip down into the valley again and onto the Yosemite Lodge where the bus dropped off all the passengers and I bid farewell to the rest of the bus.
Now by this time it was approaching 1.30pm and most people, including myself, into the café to grab some food. We had to line for a while and this was precious time that the passengers doing the single day trip were wasting as they had to be back on the bus just before 4pm. So I am very glad at this point to that I am spending the extra time.
After grabbing a burger I booked for tomorrow a “Grand Tour” of the park. This will take in Glacier Point and the Mariposa Grove. This then left me with plenty of time to explore the rest of the valley. The first stop was Yosemite Falls which is still flowing, albeit slowly, this late in the season. From there I snake my way through the valley stopping off to take photos as they appeared. I had a deer walk only a couple of metres in front of me. Some stupid idiot chased him with small camera which was a little annoying other wise I would have got a few more shots. Then you have the little squirrels and what looks like chipmunks scurrying about. Damian, I’ve figured that 5 chipmunks would be required to make a nice “Chipmunk Kebab”.
It was now getting later into the afternoon and the sun was positioning itself nicely to light up Half Dome and I got some good pics. Then it was getting to the point where I wanted to catch a bus back to the hotel and on my way to the appropriate bus stop I noticed a whole heap of people on a bridge looking at something. I then realised it was a bear in the river so quickly took some video and a few photos. A crowd then followed the bear as it made it’s way out of the water and along into a meadow. I always made sure that I positioned myself in relation to the bear and other people according to the Principle of Darwinianism. Let me give you some examples.
  • Bear – Large person – Me
  • Bear – Old Person – Me
  • Bear – Child – Me
Caught the bus back to the hotel, only about a 30 minute drive and checked in. The room is quite large. There are 2 singles in one room and then a double in another. Lots of space for one person. Didn’t last long and was asleep by about 9pm as it will be an early day tomorrow.

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