Thursday, October 1, 2009
Yosemite Day Two
We are writing to you tonight from Annett's Mono Village in Twin Lakes, CA, near Bridgeport. After leaving Oakhurst this morning we headed back towards Yosemite National Park, with a stop at an old loggers' camp along the way. The big steam engine at the Sugar Pine Railroad had already taken it's last run of the season yesterday, so we just missed that, we we did get to ride a "Jenny Car" and had a great history lesson about the old logging community. The kids counted that stop as of one of the top highlights of our trip so far.
From there we headed back into the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park, this time turning left toward the valley floor. We took the turn toward Bridal Veil Falls, but when it took nearly 45 minutes to go just 4 miles due to road construction, we got back in line behind the "Follow Me" car and headed back out of the construction mess, eating lunch as we sat and waited. (More reasons to love an RV - we didn't have hungry kids while stuck in traffic and no potty accidents!)
The Wawona Hotel with its huge white porches and leaded glass windows was a worthwhile spot to stop and tour. I felt like a southern bell walking those lush, green lawns as we made our way to the formal, Victorian-style hotel lobby. Since it was a bit chilly, the kids had fun warming their hands by the fire. Rangers at the visitor's center let the kids play with a bear locker, stamp "passports" of their visit, then helped us plan out the rest of our day.
As we headed down into the valley itself, we had some breathtaking views of Half Dome and finally found a great place to stop and take pictures over Sentinel Bridge. Our camping neighbors back in Monterey had been through Yosemite just a couple weeks ahead of us and said they had seen both bison and elk (though we now wonder if maybe she hadn't been talking about Yellowstone rather than Yosemite?) so we were all set to see some big animals, but instead saw a large collection of squirrels, chipmunk and dear. Yosemite is an amazing place, but with my inability to take to the hiking trials, the lack of big game we had hoped to see, the kids getting tired, and the fact that perhaps we are quite spoiled in the fantastic natural views we enjoy regularly here in the Reno/Tahoe area and at nearby Grover Hot Springs, we found we had seen all we wanted to see by only about 3:30.
Back into the RV with our GPS set to take us over Tioga Pass. We had heard horror stories of the drive, especially in an RV, but Rick handled that diesel engine beautifully. He said that once again he was glad we had selected the 24 foot model, and we were thankful for good daylight, bright weather and low winds, but the drive really wasn't too hard, and what the road lacked in guardrails, it make up for in views! We were over the pass and to the eastern gate of Yosemite before 6.
We had heard that family friends worked at this camp near Mono Lake, so we looked them up, gave a call for directions and headed for Twin Lakes. On the way we passed several RV parks with vacancies and could have stopped at any of them, but it was definitely worth the extra 15-20 minute drive west from Bridgeport to find this little hide-away tucked up against the back side of Tioga. (And we had even greater appreciation for the mountain we had just passed over when seeing it from that position!) We counted dozens of dear on the way into camp and look forward to getting up to explore the lake in the morning.
It's dark, we have full tummies, the kids are all in bed and I'm not far behind them. When they wake up with the sunrise, I'm glad they are all falling asleep with nightfall as well!