Friday, June 29: Yosemite
Last night we slept well. One woman went to bed the same time we did. Two other guys came in later, but they were amazingly quiet.
The biggest hassle was that they were sleeping in, so we needed to be rather quiet when we got up. Also, we didn’t have most of our luggage with us, so we didn’t have, for example, towels.
Michael was tired and wanted to sleep in, so Amy and I had a quiet breakfast. Then when we got Michael up, he wanted to have breakfast here (rather in the park), so right now he is eating, Amy is reading, and I’m typing this.
This was sort of a quiet day. We drove in, parked by the lodge, then rented bikes there, and started biking around the bike trail loop, stopping to take pictures here and there.
There wasn’t much choice in bikes. They were single-speed bikes with coaster-brakes, sort of like what Aunt Mary used to drive around the trailer park. The seats were not adjustable (without a wrench), so you just had to look around and find one that seemed to fit.
Amy liked hers, particularly with the wide seat and the upright stance. Michael got a Stingray style, which he thought was neat. I got one that was identical to Amy’s, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. It has been many decades since I used a coaster brake, and I found it strange that I couldn’t brake and put my feet down at the same time. The lack of gears made going up hills a pain, and I didn’t much care for the seat. Still, it got the job done.
They had a water bottle holder on the front handle bars. Amy could put her point-and-shoot inside the holder. I was wearing my backpack (with tripod and camera stuff inside, as well as water), but I managed to wrap the straps of my camera bag around the handle bars so it would hang down in front. It wasn’t the most convenient, but it was better than digging into the pack for every picture or hanging it around my neck and banging it with my knees each time.
When we got to Curry Village, we stopped and had lunch. Afterwards, we saw this deer browsing in the brush about only 5-6 feet away. It walked across a pathway, where a jogger almost ran into it. It was very much not afraid of people.
We then continued further and parked our bikes and walked up to Mirror Lake. It was more like a pool in the stream rather than a true lake. We hung out there for a while, and Michael played in the sand.
This is right below Half Dome, which is not as imposing as it is from further down the valley. From Mirror Lake, it only looks like a big sheer wall. You can’t see the dome aspect of it.
We saw a really strange sight. There was a small area, which sort of reminded me of a tiny grave yard. People had built cairns there--lots and lots of the. I’m guessing that there were 100-200 tiny piles of rocks in an area the size of a room. They were spaced maybe a foot apart. There were even some on tree branches!
Afterward, we continued on the loop until we got back to the lodge. After returning the bikes, we got some ice cream cones and looked at some Stellar Jays.
We walked a short distance to the viewing area for the lower Yosemite falls. Many pictures later, we went back to the food court at the lodge for dinner.
I made a quick hike down to the river to see if there were good pictures to be had. There weren’t. This time of day is very hard on photography. The valley is in the shadows, but the upper areas are still lit. With a single exposure, either the former will be too dark or the latter blown out.
It would be so nice to be staying in the valley, so that we could do some of the evening activities and still get to bed at a decent time. As it is now, It is about an hour from the mouth of the valley to the Bug Resort.
We did not take showers this morning, so we are taking them now.