Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Ultimate Bike Trail - Yosemite Valley!

Hi all -- Dianne here.  Wednesday we made our second long trek back to Yosemite National Park.  When we planned this trip to California, we were excited to see the Escapees Park of the Sierra Co-op on the map so close to Yosemite, our destination.  (Being Escapees members, we can stay at these parks very inexpensively). 

 Well, it may look close on the map, but the reality is that it is about a two-hour drive from our camp site to Yosemite Valley -- Not what we expected, but worth it nonetheless.  Part of the problem is the current road resurfacing within the park.  No alternative but to stop traffic and use a pilot car to help the lanes of traffic take turns on one open lane.  The normal wait for each construction stop is about 15 minutes.

(Roger here...  Every trip to the park involved at least four of these stops for the round trip.  A little frustrating on a long day, but a good time to look at maps and decide where to park the car.)

Another little detail we didn't take into consideration were the twisty-curvy steep hills and grades along the route, with speed limits to match. 

 Gotta say, though, if you have to be stopped for road construction, this isn't a bad place to do it!

Roger had researched and found that there are miles of bike trails around Yosemite Valley.  (R:  all flat and all paved :-)  Rather than just drive or take a bus and get off at the various sites, we decided it would be a lot more fun to take our bikes.  What a great idea that was!  We parked the car near the Curry Village rental tents and took off on our bikes. 

 Although the signage left a lot to be desired, [R: A LOT to be desired -- with my concrete sequential skills -- (disease) -- I could really help them with this], once we figured out where the bike path was, it was great.  The bike path was paved, and a large portion of it followed a road that was closed to all vehicular traffic but service vehicles and those with handicap license plates.  

The valley was as awesome looking up as it was looking down on it from Glacier Point the week before.

There were bike racks strategically placed near the points of interest so that we could park and lock our bikes, then hike to see the highlights.

One of the first was a short hike to Bridal Veil falls.  We were expecting it to be dry, but it was flowing.  I can only imagine what it's like in the spring going at full force!

While biking along, we also saw this trail of mules being led along a hiking trail next to the river.

Here are a few of the more famous sites, from the valley perspective.  (R:  Adding to the fun was the thrill of keeping your balance while staring straight up.)

You can't visit Yosemite without learning more about John Muir.  

According to this plaque erected near Yosemite falls, John Muir lived for two years in a cabin at this site while he studied the area.  The quote on the plaque was very appropriate on this beautiful autumn day.

We were also surprised to see water flowing at Yosemite Falls; we expected it to be dry this time of year.

The short hike to the Lower Yosemite Falls had another surprise. 

 Not only was it a lovely trail, but resting very close to the trail -- but not noticed by most who walked by -- was this beautiful buck. 

 In fact, we walked right past him without realizing he was there until we saw a group of people stopping and taking photos.  He certainly blended in with his surroundings!

We really enjoyed our trips to Yosemite.  After hearing tales of the nightmare traffic and crowds in the summer, mid-October seems a great time to go.  The weather was perfect and the crowds weren't too bad.  I can see how it could be a whole different story on a weekend in summer, though.  I doubt that we'd have been able to zip along on the bike paths like we did, if they were choked with foot traffic.  

One final view of the Yosemite Valley.

The whippet photo of the day is Chaplin having a good whippet stretch after one of his many daily naps.  These are long, tall dogs when they stretch out!


Nancy and Bill said...

Wow, what a great bike ride!! We have that on our list already.

Sorry to hear Roger still has his "disease." We thought another year of retirement might have been the cure!!

Keep having fun and taking us places.........

Gin and Syl said...

I love the pictures but I'm sure they don't do it justice. How can you breathe with all the breath-taking views around you?