Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yosemite Winter Trip

We had planned a short ‘n’ sweet winter trip to Yosemite this year, and even despite some nagging distractions that threatened to derail our opportunity for escape, we got everything worked out and had a fine weekend. We had originally planned for an early departure on Thursday Feb 25th, a two night stay, returning late Saturday. Some things came up though, and Sue had to stay around most of the day on the 25th. Luckily, with some amazing diligence on the part of my lovely wife, things got shifted a few times and we were able to wind up changing our reservation at the Lodge, and stayed 3 nights returning late Sunday instead. I was impressed. The weather reports had storms coming in so we didn’t know what to expect, but this time of year that’s really not unusual. We packed up the snow chains, weatherized our gear, and made our getaway, arriving just after 6:30 pm. We completely lucked out and got a room in the Cottonwood wing of the Lodge. One of the only sections having only one floor, and includes a view of the falls. There were a few hearty souls holed up at Camp 4 in tents, but we’re not geared up enough for camping in the snow, so we were quite happy to be warm and toasty in the Lodge. Private shower, prepared meals, warm bed, cozy reading chair, and in the bar every evening; enjoying the winter Olympics on TV with a cold micro-brew. Wow! I could seriously get used to this! Not wasting a moment, we got in some nice hiking and snowshoeing under varying weather conditions. I will do some write-ups of these hikes as time permits, but it was just so nice to enjoy the winter experience in our favorite park. Yosemite is quite different in winter. There are plenty of people around, but it’s not crowded. It’s very quiet with crisp clean air, and the sights are even more amazing.

On our first day we decided to hike up the Yosemite Falls trail just to see how far we could get. The valley floor had remnants of snow, but we could see that there was deep snow up high. We decided not to carry snowshoes, but we had our YakTrax which we thought would fair better on the twisty trail. We made it to the top where there was deep snow and great views even under the gloomy skies which made it difficult to get good photos. On Saturday morning we woke up to fresh powder. About 3 inches in the valley, and about 3 feet up at Badger Pass. We had an early morning sightseeing stroll around the lodge area, and later met up with Sue’s brother and his wife for some snowshoeing out to Dewey Point in the falling snow. It was great fun even though the fluffy snow made for a very tiring day. During the night the storms left, colder air moved in, and Sunday morning broke clear and blue with frost and ice. Yosemite Falls had awesome sheets of ice and snow flowing down the course of the upper fall into a huge snow cone at the bottom. The sun came out and we hiked the old 1800s era Conway Trails on the valley floor with all the old familiar sights seeming like new places in their ‘other’ season glow. And then we did it. We packed up and went home arriving late Sunday evening and I’m still having culture shock. Write ups and photo links to come.


Dave Miller said...

Great write up Randy. It must have been beautiful. Our trip earlier in the month was nice, but warm and clear of snow.

Can't wait to read the rest of the reports.

Waypoints said...

Hi Dave. I remember seeing your pictures. It looked like you had some good family fun. We saw a few blooms on the way out. Pretty soon the poppies will likely be coming out again on route 140. Your photos from last year were superb.