A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Yosemite - Lessons Learned!

It had been several years since we visited Yosemite and we heard the falls were spectacular this year - so we planned a trip. On Memorial Day weekend. That was our first mistake!

Apparently 4.2 million other people also planned to visit the park that weekend. Who knew?!? And the weather in California has been particularly sucky this year so the forecast was for rain and temps in the high 50's to low 60's. But away we went!

The first night we spent in Sonora at a great little hotel and it was very relaxing.

Got to Yosemite around 10:30am on Saturday, finding only 10 or so cars ahead of us in the line to get in. Great! Might not be so bad! We met up with Ed's brother, Kim (he works at the park) at 10:30 after easily finding a parking spot close to the center of the park. Piece of cake, we thought. We visited Yosemite Falls, walked on the paths, took photos, had a nice lunch at the lodge, walked some more. Beautiful day - the sun was actually shining! Then we walked back to the car and headed to Bridal Veil Falls. Here's where the fun started.

By the time we arrived at Bridal Veil, about half of the aforementioned 4.2 million people had arrived. Seems they just got a later start than we did. We managed to find a parking spot at the falls - mostly because people were driving past figuring there was no way they could park. But we did. And Ed had to pee. The line for the restroom was about 30 people deep. In spite of his brother's admonishments to "just go find a tree", Ed waited in line. After 15 minutes he said the heck with it and we took off. We walked half way to the falls (which, as an aside, is not a great thing to do when you really have to go!) but the water was so heavy that we were drenched so we couldn't get any closer.

Now we were going to take Kim back to his abode. More people had arrived. Ed still had to pee. Traffic was at a standstill. It was not pleasant. More cries of "for pete's sake just get out and find a tree" emanated from the back seat. But to no avail. Finally we spotted a legitimate restroom a short ways ahead so Ed got out and headed for the restroom while Kim jumped in the driver's seat and we coasted along. Luckily the line here was short so Ed managed to catch up with us a short way past the restroom and he and Kim switched places. At the same time a woman in the car next to us shouted to Kim, "Hey, will you come drive my car while I go pee?!?" He probably could have made a lot of money that day providing the service.

Anyway, we got him back to his place, managed to get out of the park and back to our hotel. Which is right on the river. It started to rain just as we left the park and poured all night. Our plan was for Kim to meet us at the hotel the next day and we would drive up Glacier Point (which had just opened for the season a few days before). 10:00 am the next morning Kim knocks on our door with the following report - thanks to the rain/snow of last night, Glacier Point is again closed. On top of that, Kim counted 105 cars trying to get into the park as he was leaving. Yes, he actually counted the cars.

After a series of "oh, shits" we decided on another plan. We'd go in to the park the back way! Yeah, no one else would think of that! We were so cool. So we drove a very long way, got close to the back entrance, and got in line. After 20 minutes or so a ranger was telling cars that there were no parking places left in the park. We figured we could always park by Kim's place or just drive through taking some photos and seeing the falls. So we stayed in line (did I mention that we made more than one mistake?). 45 minutes later we got to the entrance! Only to be told that the park was so crowded they weren't letting anyone else in! Oh, joy. We turned around and headed back to the hotel. Now the temperature on this road had dropped to 39 and it was snowing. Yes, snowing. Spring in California.

But, at least the drive was pretty. The weather cleared up after awhile. We had a nice lunch at a place called Pete's and a nice dinner at the hotel. And our balcony was right over the river so it was a great place to relax and read. Monday we came home.

Ed still wants to go back to Yosemite some time this year. During the summer, he said. When there might not be as many people, he said. I'm not even a California native and I know that's a crock!


Desert Diva said...

Wow, great photos! Sorry that your plans got a detour... :-(

Mellodee said...

So if I got this right, Ed's brother works at Yosemite (and lives there too??). Yet he didn't warn you that a holiday weeked was a lousy time to go to a National Park? Hmmmm, some sibling thing going on there, hun? :) I have read (not experienced myself, just read) that there are many lovely Parks that are not the rock stars (hahaha, unintended pun but it's a pretty good one, don't you think??)
Anyway, lots of other less spectacular than Yosemite and some of the others, but are pretty terrific anyway. The great thing is that those parks are never as crowded as the big ones! Just for your consideration, in case your husband ever manages to talk you in to going again! At least you weren't camping!! :)

p.s. Your word ver. is "ciani". How come Italians get Italian words?? lol!

ba and the boys said...

next time just go to disney. you know you will have fun there!