Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just a quick update from Park Sierra. We have been doing rig cleaning and repairs which is always a fairly boring subject. Because I am having carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand on Monday morning, (left hand was done last summer), I have been washing and waxing the RV, shampooing the carpet, etc. while I still have the use of both hands. Elaine's surgery on her right hand, for Dupeytin's Contracture, (left hand was also last summer), will be on June 30. By having this 10 day space, we can take care of each other in recovery, and also one of us will always be able to drive.
The weather here has been nice and warm, with only a few really hot days so far. On one of those days we drove up to Yosemite and the weather was just perfect. Two Australian visitors to the park, Art and Stella, rode up there with us because they don't have a tow car. This was an excellent time to go because with the huge snowpack from the winter melting now, the waterfalls are at their fullest. First we drove up to Glacier Point, because there are excellent views of Yosemite Valley and several of the waterfalls from up there. Some patches of snow were still on the ground as we climbed. The first overlook was Washburn. From this viewpoint we could see Vernal and Nevada Falls. Here is a picture of us sitting on the wall with those 2 falls in the background:

Glacier Point has amazing views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls (both upper and lower), the entire valley floor, and also Vernal and Nevada Falls. Here is a picture of us with Half Dome behind us.

This was a dome that was sheared off when glaciers carved out this valley sometime between 20,000 and 100,000 years ago. It is over 8,000 feet high, so just imagine how big the glaciers were! And here is a picture of both the upper and lower Yosemite Falls:

We drove down the mountain and towards the valley floor. Just after passing through a mile long tunnel, there is a place to pull over and park on the left where there is a spectacular view of the valley as you enter it. You can see El Capitan cliff on the left, Half Dome in the background, and Bridal Veil Falls on the right:

A little further along is a view of Horsetail Falls:

We stopped to hike a ½ mile trail to Bridal Veil Falls. Several bridges go over the rivers of water that are created when the falls hit the valley floor, and here is Elaine with the raging water behind her.

It was cool along here because after all, the water is from snow melt. There was so much mist created by the falling water hitting the ground that we would have been completely soaked if we had tried to hike any nearer.
One of the disadvantages of visiting Yosemite at this time is that it was packed with people and cars. There is a free shuttle to take people to various places in the valley, but people have to drive their cars into the valley to use the shuttles, so parking is a problem. We wanted to go inside at the Ahwahnee Lodge because it is historical and rustic, but we couldn’t find a place to park. Instead we drove to a picnic area for a picnic and then headed toward Mariposa Grove, which is full of majestic sequoia trees. Again, there was no parking so we were sent to an auxiliary parking area and then took the shuttle up to the grove. Sequoias grow in only a few places on earth because of their precise requirements for water, temperature, humidity, and sunshine. There are 75 places in California where they are found, but this is one of the largest. Thank goodness it was protected when Yosemite was created, because it really is located pretty far from the valley area where the waterfalls are. It is quite convenient for people who enter Yosemite on highway 41, which is what we did, of course, since that is the highway that runs right by Park Sierra. Here is a picture of one of the sequoia trees, which are always very tall (60 to 200 feet) and most are between 500 and 2000 years old, although the oldest one was 3,200 years old.

Some of them have fallen over, and here is a picture of Art, Stella & Elaine near the roots of one that fell in 1921.

There is a nice trail taking visitors by some of the largest or most interesting trees. There is also a tram tour, which lots of people were taking, but at more than $25 for an hour, we decided walking the trail was the best idea!
Besides that day trip, we also have entertained ourselves by having a couple of parties at our site. Ginny & Bob O’dell, former park members, were visiting so they had a party at our site, since we have a good spot for it. Then last week we had another one to welcome some neighbors back and also for the 3 Australian couples who were visiting.
This coming weekend, my daughter Laura, and her new guy, Dennis, will be visiting Park Sierra for the first time. I am hoping that I am far enough along in my recovery to be able to do some things with them other than just sitting around!

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