We spent Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is a spectacular national park which is primarily one big valley with dramatic glacier cliffs and peaks that rise to form a very rugged and picturesque mountain range – which is part of the Sierras. The top of the range is just over 8,500 feet which is not that much higher than Kosciusko at 7,300 feet but the glacier activity and size of the Sierras is far more spectacular.
We left Sequoia at 7am on the Monday which put us in Yosemite Valley for lunch. We spent Monday exploring the valley having a picnic lunch and swim on the Merced River which is the main river that runs through Yosemite Valley.
On Tuesday we drove the Tioga Road, which basically drives along the top of the Sierras and crosses Yosemite National Park, to Tuolumne Meadows. This was a two hour drive each way which at time was intimidating the way the road is cut into the mountain side and the size of the potential drop off. At Tuolumne Meadows the girls did a 2 hour walk with a Ranger and earned their Junior Ranger badges for Yosemite.
The only issue with Yosemite is people. I could not believe how many people there were – it is absolutely packed and given that there are only two very twisty roads that give you access to Yosemite the driving was time consuming and frustrating. We are staying in a motel in Mariposa just out of Yosemite as the affordable accommodation (<US$500 a night) within Yosemite was booked out. However if you do visit the place to try and get a cabin is Curry Village which is right in the middle of Yosemite Valley. It has the only feasible eating places however be aware that with its camping and cabins it caters for over 2,000 people and it is one of only many accommodation options within Yosemite – this will give you an idea of the number of people!
On the way from Sequoia to Yosemite we drove through Fresno. We very much liked the look and feel of this city. I made the mistake of calling into a Starbucks and while I was ordering coffee letting Kerrie go to the Pharmacy next door. Kerrie had never been to a US Pharmacy!!! For those that know her with her creams and ointments etc. and how big a US Pharmacy is, you can imagine it was sometime before me and the girls saw Kerrie again. Many dollars later she emerged with items that range from some gadget that squeezes all the toothpaste out of the tube to a cream that is both antiseptic and antibiotic!!!
Dinner Monday night in Mariposa was at the Pizza Factory in the main street. The great thing was that they still toss and spin the dough to make the pizza base which must make difference because the pizza base was really light and the pizza’s great. Dinner Tuesday was an all you can eat buffet at the Dining Hall at Curry Village in Yosemite. Molly and Emily are enjoying this all you can eat concept that a lot of restaurants have but Molly is still skinny as a rake.
This trip to Yosemite ends the National Park phase of our holiday. Coming up we now have our Indulgence phase as we head to Napa and San Francisco for the remainder of this week with Mud Baths, Wineries and key Restaurants booked and locked in. Next week we complete out holiday with the Beach phase making our way down the coast from Monterey to finish in Santa Monica (LA).