Saturday, June 30: Yosemite
Adventures and Fiascos
Breakfast again. I’m eating a lot of eggs on this trip. There doesn’t seem to be that many other options. Amy threw the clothes into the washer before we came down for breakfast.
The orange juice here is interesting. It has a slightly different taste than what I’m used to. It must be the difference between Florida oranges and California ones (assuming that the oranges aren’t really coming from Brazil or somewhere).
I went to bed last night after taking a shower and my hair was totally frightful this morning. Right now the clothes are in the drier, so we have at least a half hour to kill.
The Bug Resort advertises a swimming hole and a waterfall. Looking at the map of the “resort”, the swimming hole is available after a fairly lengthy walk. The disclaimer on their map says “We do not recommend or deny access to the Hornet’s Nest swimming hole. Do not use these recreational assets of the property if you want to avoid dangerous, unsafe, slippery, steep, difficult trails & waterways.” That may be a lot of trying to cover themselves for liabilities, but it hardly seems like this is a prime usable asset of the “resort”.
Today was a cross between an adventure and fiasco, with “adventure” meaning “when things go wrong”. Another way to put it was that it was a day filled with decisions, most of which in hindsight were wrong.
Wrong decision #1: doing laundry this morning. That delayed our departure by about an hour. Let’s see...today is Saturday, the start of the weekend before the 4th of July. So by the time we got to the gate, there was a long line waiting to get in. We would turn off the engine, wait a while, start it up, drive forward a few car lengths, and repeat. We ended up sitting in that line for 40 minutes before getting in.
Then the next big problem was parking. I think we spent an hour and a quarter driving around looking for parking. Eventually we found a space out at the western end of the park, near El Capitan, where there was a bus stop. What we didn’t realize was that the bus that went out that way ran rather infrequently. But eventually it came and took us to Yosemite Village.
It was by then about 2pm, so we stopped at the deli and had lunch. Then we decided to walk to Curry Village to avoid the wait for the bus. That was mistake #2. The bus at that end of the park runs much more frequently, and it would have been faster and easier to take the bus.
We got to the rafting place at 2:50 to find that they were closing the renting at 3:00, so we just squeaked by.
The rafting was fun. We took turns paddling. Mike did a little “swimming”, although I just sat on the tube and dangled my left foot in the water. A few places there was some current and we almost got snagged by a tree. We aimed for the desired opening under a bridge, ended up bouncing off the bridge pier, and then going through the wrong opening, but we survived.
The biggest problem was that the water was low, so we had to aim carefully to try to find the deepest water. In a few places we had to get out and walk.
We got to the take out point around 5:30. At that point we had been planning to drive to the Mariposa area for an all-you-can-eat buffet that ran from 5 to 7, so it looked rather dicey. We debated walking from there to our car, which would have been 1 to 1.5 miles, but we decided to play it safe and take the busses. (Mistake #3)
Eventually the bus came, and people crowded on board. With the bus literally packed to the gills, there were still 4 people left behind that had to wait for the next bus.
That bus took us back to the rental place. Then we took another bus to the visitor’s center. We got there at 6:10. We found that the visitor’s center closed at 6. So we started waiting for the bus to take us back to El Capitan. We waited and waited. After maybe a half hour, a bus driver from a different bus told us that the El Capitan bus stops running at 6!
So now we were in deep do-do. There was really only one thing to be done. I would walk back (3.5 to 4) miles to get the car and then drive back and get Mike and Amy. At this point, the earlier 1 to 1.5 mile hike looked rather appealing. It was a little unnerving hiking with only a primitive map all by myself, but there was no real alternative.
I wasn’t thrilled hiking that distance in my Tevas, but that was all that I had. Fortunately, I don’t think I got any blisters, but my feet were sure dirty by the end.
Obviously at this point our original dinner plans were toast. So plan-B was to eat dinner back at the bug.
It took me about 1:05 to get to the car. I was amazed at how much faster the return trip (driving) was. When I got back and found Amy, it was about 8:00. Dinner at the bug ends at 9, and it was about an hour’s drive (modulo the traffic), so we decided on plan-C, to eat at the Lodge food court yet again.
We got back to the bug just after 10. We once again had three bunk-mates, with two of them this time from Poland. I took a quick shower to clean off my feet and legs in particular. We got to bed at 11. We hoped we could get out more quickly tomorrow. We planned to head for the high country rather than Yosemite valley, and hopefully avoid some of the crowds.
The crowds don’t bode well for the Grand Canyon or even worse, Yellowstone.