Monday, March 5, 2012

Dewey Point, Yosemite Valley & The Mariposa Grove

Judy and I had been planning a Yosemite winter trip for a long time and finally we were able to take it..........

Friday March 2nd: We packed up our belongings and hit the road to Oakhurst in the late morning. The drive up was great, little to no traffic and lots of road snacks (candy, yogurt, sunflower seeds, soda's, fruit, Sushi :o ). We made a pit stop at the Fresno REI to pick up an insulated mug for our snowshoeing coffee :). We checked into the Days Inn Oakhurst, then had a nice dinner at the Crab Cakes restaurant in town. Lobster, Calimari Steak and Carrot Cake. Good travel day, time to get rested up for tomorrow........

Saturday March 3rd: After a good nights rest, we were up and at em at 0600. We didn't leave the room until 0730 though, it was cold outside which slowed our progress. An overnight low of 28 degrees iced up everything outside and warming the truck up took a few minutes. The plan was to grab some breakfast at Subway then head up to Badger Pass inside Yosemite National Park. Problem was, Subway forgot to open on time, so plan B was Carls Jr. chicken sandwiches. Yosemite had received a foot and a half of new snow the past few days and chain restrictions were in place from Highway 41 to Badger Pass. We had the chains with us and even practiced putting them on before leaving. Once on the road, we found chains were not needed. We carefully worked our way to the Ski resort and arrived safe and sound at 0845.

We took out our backpacks and packed up all the essential winter gear, but the weather was turning very late spring like, warm and pleasant. The weather would turn out to be great the next two days. We strapped on our snowshoes and headed down the recently groomed Glacier Point Rd. to the Dewey Point Meadows turn off. We took our time the first mile. Judy had never been on snowshoes before so getting the timing and wider stance took some practice, but she got it down quick. She actually enjoyed the softer off trail snow to the groomed packed snow. There was a nice path through the snow, no navigation required today. We made good time through the meadows in good snow conditions. About two to three feet of nicely packed down powder.

Start Of The Snowshoe

Having Fun

Beautiful Conditions

We made it to Dewey Point at high noon and what a view. A visual treat. The vista's in all directions were outstanding. Particularly to the north and east. El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Ribbon Falls, North Dome, Tenaya Canyon, Clouds Rest, The Top Of Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Cathedral Peak, Unicorn Peak, Mt. Clark and the Clark Range. What a site. We ate our snacks and enjoyed our hot coffee. The REI mug really worked, five hours after pouring the coffee, we were sitting at the edge of a cliff enjoying a hot cup of joe. Good times indeed. After taking our Yosemite Portrait Photographs, we made our way back the way we came. We both had a great time. Judy was feeling so good she decided to fall/leap into the snow for fun :) We made it back to Badger Pass in time to have a chicken sandwich and some fries.

El Capitan From Dewey Point

Judy and I w/ Half Dome & Clouds Rest Behind

Half Dome & Clouds Rest

Cold Leap Of Faith

The next stage of our journey took us down to Yosemite Valley for some late afternoon and sunset photographs. We stopped off at Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, The General Store and the meadow next to Curry Village for Half Dome sunset photos. The weather was great and there were hardly any people in the valley. We were very pleasantly surprised, felt like we had the park to ourselves...well, mostly :)

Tunnel View

Zoomed In Tunnel View

Bridalveil Fall w/ Rainbow

Bridalveil Falls Straight On View

Bridalveil Falls Again :)

Half Dome

North Dome

Black & White Half Dome

Sunset Glow

After photographing and witnessing a beautiful sunset, we made the long drive back to Oakhurst. The drive actually went by fast, good company. We had ourselves a nice Turkey dinner, ate some Ice Cream and hit the sack. We would sleep well tonight. Today was a good day :)

Sunday March 4th: After a great night of rest we were ready to enjoy some more scenery and hiking in Yosemite. We packed up our belongings, checked out of our room and actually got breakfast at Subway. Apparently they open around seven, not at seven which is why we missed then yesterday. Today's plan was to head up to the Mariposa Grove just inside the park boundary. We have been to the Giant Sequoia groves of Sequoia National Park, but not to any of Yosemite's. We got to a mostly empty parking lot at 0930. Ah, got to love the winter, this same scene in the summer would be overwhelmingly crowded.

We set off to see "The Grizzly Giant", "Tunnel Tree" and the Upper Grove. The Sequoia's are a thing of might and beauty. Photos don't do justice to how majestic they truly are; The largest trees in the world. The Grizzly Giant is the fifth largest tree in the world. It was icy and a little snowy at the beginning of the trail, Judy wore micro spikes and I used poles for stability. It took us a few hours to hike a loop through the lower and upper groves, stopping to take photos and admire the scene all around us. In total we hiked 5.8 miles. When we arrived back at my truck, the parking lot looked alot like the summer, cars and people everywhere. The warm day brought the people up to the park in droves. We cleaned up and headed home at 1:00 pm. We made good time coming home, just missing a big rig turned over in Valencia and made it back at 6:00 pm. Overall a great weekend in the Sierra's. I really believe Judy will snowshoe with me again in the future, she liked it that much :) Gracias Mi Amor......

Giant Sequoia

View From Below



1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and sounds like a great time! We should all get together soon and plan a snowshoeing trip or some similar winter sport next winter - Colorado? Glad you guys had a great time and some great shots too. -Hazel