Thursday, October 1, 2009
We pulled into Oakhurst about 3:30 or 4 yesterday afternoon. After registering and finding our camp site, we pulled back out and headed on up the road to Yosemite National Park, purchased our $20 one-week visitor's pass, and headed toward the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Trees.
We found out an important tip for RVers, that only vehicles under 25 feet can access that road, so we were especially glad we had selected the 24 foot RV! (The same length limitation applied to parking at the Fisherman's Warf in Monterey, so a longer RV would have seriously limited some of our experiences.)
Even stopping for frequent rests, I was disappointed that my body just couldn't make it very far along the 2-mile trail to see landmark trees like the Tunnel Tree. I did get to see the Fallen Monarch as it's just at the entrance to the path, and I made it a bit further before sending Rick and the older two on ahead while the 3-year-old sat with me having a delightful time stirring up great clouds of dust with his stick in the dirt.
By the time the rest of our family rejoined us, you couldn't even tell what color his clothing had been and he had to be stripped outside the RV before we could even let him back in, but he sure had a blast! :D We drew lots of letters in the dirt and he identified all but one for me. When I drew it, he looked at me and said, "That's not a letter, Mom. That's an X!" (I guess buried treasure isn't marked with an actual letter.)
The older kids took their Dad almost all the way to the Tunnel Tree (found out after we made it back to the RV that they had been only about two tenths of a mile away when they had to give up the climb, but as there had been no maps available, they had no way to know that at the time). The hike was quite steep and exhausting. While the 9-year-old really wanted to push on and see that Tunnel Tree, we will just have to save it for another visit, but they did get to see sights like the Bachelor and Three Graces along with the Grizzly Giant.
To give the kids a bit of perspective, we held hands and tried to wrap our arms around one of the "smaller" sequoias at the edge of the path (in an area that wasn't roped off with instructions to stay on the path) and even with that relatively small Giant, our family of 5 could not come even half way around that tree!
We were back to camp by about 7, dark fell quickly as we ate dinner, and we were all in bed (and almost instantly asleep) by only 7:30! After being pampered by our great accommodations at Marina Dunes, I'm sorry to say that we were all pretty disappointed in the RV park here in Oakhurst, enough so that we plan to forfeit our second pre-paid night and either dry camp somewhere in Yosemite tonight or possibly even go on across Tioga Pass before dark. Again, the website description and the actual RV camp location were very different from one another, and while High Sierra RV Park had a slick website and great marketing materials, they just didn't live up to our expectations. Oakhurst itself seemed like a wonderful place to visit, we just won't be choosing this specific park again in the future.
(See the head of our oldest just beginning to pop up at the bottom of this picture? Gives a bit of scale to what you are seeing!)