Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park. Thinking Google maps told me it was 400km away I was surprised to see it then would take 9 hours. Seems an awfully slow trip? And, we have a Mustang! The 400km were in fact miles so we did have a ways to go!
After a seriously hot transit of Death Valley Allison and I passed the western themed town of Lone Pine before crossing Tioga pass which was just about to close for the winter. The landscape changed dramatically as we descended into Yosemite. Barren desert to large pine trees and rocky outcrops. None more impressive than El Capitan, at 9000ft the iconic climbing destination.We stop at dusk to watch some climbers half way up wondering if they will spend the night on the face of El Capitan, most likely.
Arriving in Curry Village which is the main town in Yosemite. We check-in to what is basically a cabin covered in a tent like material. At check-in there is a video on loop of a large bear tearing the door off a car to presumably get to some food contained within. A fair warning to clear all the sweet smelly stuff out of your car. That bear would make short work of the convertible! It also advised to put anything a bear would like to eat inside our secure steel bear locker. I enquired a bear might like to eat me, should I go in the bear locker too?
It did indeed take the full 9 hours to get to Yosemite and we grudgingly fight the crowds to get some average burgers and chips. We stroll back to the cabin/tent and make a tentative break for the bathrooms. I hear a scream and duck around to the womens to find Allison now laughing as she dropped a whole bottle of perfume which smashed all over the floor. Now with the sweet perfume already tickling the noses of every available bear in Yosemite we feel it appropriate to notify a ranger. Strangely she dismissed our alarm? So we make a dash for our tent before Mr Grizzly shows up and tuck ourselves into bed.
Sequoia National Park
Having beaten the bears, beaten death valley, what would today hold?
We head off rather aimless as we just generally need to head to the coast. En route we stop in at a number of lookouts. It is quite cool in the air but we still go with the roof down. Effective for viewing the scenery as we get 180 degree views of Yosemite, meaning we don’t actually need to get out of the car at the lookouts!
We make our way to where the giant Sequoia (Sah-Koy-ya) trees are. I probably didn’t need to preface Sequoia trees with ‘giant’ as I don’t think I saw an ‘un-giant’ one. These trees were massive! Sequoia trees now surrounded us. We got out of the car for the first time that day and walked up towards the grand daddy of them all the ‘Grizzly Giant’. Along the way we walked beside a fallen Sequoia tree. It had lain there for 80 years yet it looked like it fell yesterday. Strange to think this had been here before most, if not all, of the park visitors here today had been born!
We arrive at the Grizzly Giant. This tree had been here for 1,800 years! It was looking a little more haggard than it’s surrounding siblings. Having survived a forest fire on average every 20 years will do that I suppose.