Friday, September 30, 2011

US Holiday - Day 20 - Yosemite National Park - Day 2

Day 20 - Wednesday 28th September

Another early morning today. Was up around 6.30am so that I could be ready and out at the bus stop out of the front of the hotel for the 7.21am bus to Yosemite NP. The bus is called the YART (Yosemite Area Regional Transport) and brings in people from outside the park, be them employees or people staying outside the park itself. Bus took about 30-40 minutes to get up into the park and dropped us off in front of Yosemite Lodge. I grabbed a coffee and danish and then waited for the bus to arrive and take me and fellow passengers on the "Grand Tour".

As I waited lots of people were joining tours or just walking about the Yosemite Lodge. I watched as a large group of "geriatrics" congregated right in front of me. Now you might think that I'm being a bit harsh, but wait. The leader of the group was looking around seeing if everyone was there. She then had the great idea of getting people to count out aloud starting from the number one. By the end of the counting she would know if everyone was present and accounted for. So I counted along with them, one, two, three, four ... and we got up to the number fifteen, then there was a pause followed by everyone laughing. The next person to call out their number, sixteen in this case, had forgotten where they got up to. Ah, some early morning entertainment.
By around 9am the bus was heading up to the first stop which was Glacier point. After a 90 minute drive to the top of Yosemite Valley we were then looking down on an amazing view. We were able to admire Half Dome and some of the water falls still flowing down into the valley. Words can't really describe, so I'm not going to waffle here.

After spending a 45 minutes at the Glacier Point we got back on the bus and headed to our next stop on the tour, the Wawona Hotel. Here we had lunch and I shared a table with a young English couple and a older American couple. We only there for about 45 minutes before looking to head to our next destination which will be the Mariposa Grove.

The Mariposa Grove contains giant sequoia trees. These are redwoods of enormous size, volume and age. One of the trees, Grizzly Giant, has an estimated age of 1900 years old and is 60+ metres tall. Again, I am not going to waste my time with words here, because they and even pictures won't do the trees any justice. You need to see them for yourself. Hard to believe though that these trees are still only half the size of the coastal redwoods.They must be amazing.

The last stop on the Grand Tour was the view from Tunnel View again. This time the sun was much lower in the sky and again, what a view. The tour finished around 5.30pm and was back on the YARTS bus to the hotel, returning at around 6.30pm. Grabbed some food and settled in for the evening.
Tomorrow will be the last day in Yosemite, will it be enough?

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