Steve at Glacier Point, with Half Dome in the background
STEVE ADAMS is touring California in a motorhome for a feature that will appear in Camping & Caravanning magazine later this year. Here’s his latest report from the road.
Mark Twain apparently once said there are two seasons in the Sierras – ‘the end of winter and the start of the next one’. Or words to that effect. I’m paraphrasing the coach driver/tour guide who probably paraphrased Twain, but I’m sure you get the message.
That said, after another day of glorious sunshine and 80º temperatures in Yosemite National Park, I’m happy to report that the Huckleberry Finn author’s tongue-in-cheek comment holds little water in 2014. Indeed the Park experienced such a mild winter this year that many of its magnificent waterfalls – fed by melting snow – are in danger of drying up before the summer season is over.
In mid-April they’re in full flow though, and a fabulous sight to behold. Yosemite contains three of the world’s ten biggest waterfalls, including the magnificent Yosemite Falls, which is viewable from almost everywhere in the valley and beyond. I was told this fact but didn’t need to be, as I’ve taken photographs from almost every possible angle and vantage point.
One of the park’s most impressive vistas is from Glacier Point, which the mild winter meant we were able to visit today. The roads leading up to it are usually closed until the end of May due to snow and ice – one of the hiking trails still is – but this year they opened on Monday.
Rather than take the RV along steep narrow roads and around hairpin bends we opted for the coach tour led by the driver/guide I quoted earlier. Aside from the time spent at the viewpoint where we all got out to take in the views, our ridiculously chatty host didn’t stop for breath throughout the four-hour drive. I managed to suppress the urge to offer him some advice involving the words quality and quantity, but the earache was more than worth it for the spectacular panoramas of the valley we enjoyed at the top, which including views of some of the world’s most famous granite in the form of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Our two days in Yosemite also included a 90-minute photography walk with an expert from the Ansel Adams Gallery (free at 9am most mornings, all you have to do is book), and a number of hikes mostly in and around the valley area. Along the way we enjoyed uniformly amazing scenery, the scent of pine trees, regular encounters with deer, squirrels and birdlife, and generally the most fantastic of times. As I said in my previous entry, things really did get better. It’s downhill – or rather west – from here though, as tomorrow we pack up for a day-long drive to the California coast. Wish me luck…
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