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Tuesday, July 03: Yosemite

Thursday, July 05: Yosemite to Death Valley

Wednesday, July 04: Yosemite

Walking would be easier than riding

Today will be our last day in the valley. We spend one more night here, and then tomorrow morning we head out to see the other half of the park (briefly) before continuing on to Death Valley.

I will be sorry to leave Yosemite. I can’t help feeling that we’re missing a big part of it. OTOH, we have the big Grand Canyon adventures ahead of us. Hopefully Amy will be up for the rafting and the hike down to Havasu Falls. Each day she is a bit more mobile than the last, so we’re hoping that will continue.


This was a sort of quiet day. Amy couldn’t do much hiking and Michael didn’t want to.

We got up at 7, but still we didnít leave the Bug until around 9, so we got to the park at 10:15. We parked in day parking, then took to the busses. Amy was a bit sore and didn’t bring her ibuprofen, so Mike and I got out at Curry Village and got some for her (and more sun screen). Then we jumped on the next bus. Amy had continued on to the Happy Isle Nature Center. She was waiting at the bus stop, so I just handed her the ibuprofen and stayed on the bus until we got to the stables. We got there right on time at 11.

We saw going down the road some strange recumbents. They were tricycles, with one wheel in front and two in the back, to each side of the rider. They were very strange. I had never seen one before.

We had to pay, fill out wavers, get helmets, watch a safety video, etc.

Then we were introduced to our mules (donkeys?). Some people got horses. Novices like Mike and I got mules. Personally, I couldn’t really tell the difference.

My mule “Val”
Mike on his mule

My beast (Val) was pretty docile (or as a horse person would say, comatose). For the most part I just sat there and let Val do what she wanted (which was generally the right thing). I only had to redirect her a few times when she wanted to stop and eat. Twice she stopped, and all of my kicking didn’t get her going. The first time, the mule behind me gave her a push, which got her going. The second, one of the guides pulled on her bridle.

Michael really liked the experience. I even saw him smiling. On the other hand, I found it somewhere between uncomfortable and painful. My legs (and in particular my left knee) really didn’t want to bend that way, and they certainly didn’t want to stay in that shape for two hours.

Michael riding his mule

We went up past Mirror Lake (Mirror Meadow?) on the other side of the creek from the bike path, then when the trail ended due to the rock fall, we turned around and came back down.

Jim at the end of the ride

When I tried getting out of the saddle, I literally could barely move. For the first 20-30 feet, I was sort of lurching and staggering, before my legs would work again.

I got Mike a bottle of soda, then we jumped on the next bus. Sort of. I called Amy and told her we would be on the next bus. She was one stop further along. The problem was that two busses came at almost the same time. The first bus let people off, but the driver said for people to get on the bus behind him (I guess his was crowded or something).

But then at the next stop, he did take on passengers, including Amy. At the following stop, she got off, came back, and got on our bus. We were all back together again.

We decided to have lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel--very ritzy. The lunch was fancy and over-priced, but it was neat to see how the upper crust lived.

Ahwahnee Hotel

By now it was mid-afternoon. Amy took the bus back to parking, and Mike and I walked. (I don’t think Mike likes the busses.)

Then we drove to Bridalveil Falls and walked about a quarter mile to the viewing area. Due to the wind and the long drop, the water gets blown all over the place rather than falling straight down.

Bridalveil Falls

We then stopped at a meadow (where we first stopped and viewed the falls on the first day), but then walked across to the Merced to get a better view of El Capitan. Unfortunately, it was in the sun, but the foreground was in the shade, so a good exposure was almost impossible.

El Capitan
El Capitan and the Merced River

We said farewell to Yosemite Valley, drove to the Bug, got a load of laundry in, then had dinner. Overall, I ate too much today--a medium breakfast, a big lunch, and a big dinner.

Right now the clothes are in the drier, and I’m typing this up. We pack up and head out tomorrow. Tomorrow night, we sleep in Death Valley.

Up to West Trip 2012 main page

Tuesday, July 03: Yosemite

Thursday, July 05: Yosemite to Death Valley