Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Forty-Four: Yosemite National Park

We woke up this morning to a guy sleeping on our picnic table. I'm not sure why he chose the picnic table and not one of two tents or the car that were at his site. Or his picnic table. But luckily he got off of it when he saw us coming. Kind of strange. Then he asked us if we wanted to listen to U2 while eating breakfast... We had kind of made fun of the girls he was with while we were in the bathroom. Not very nice of us, but of course it turned out to be our neighbors! Go figure.
Anyway, after packing up the tent, we headed out towards Yosemite National Park. We weren't really planning on going here in the first place, but Dad told us that we would be disappointed if we didn't, so we decided that we should. We had originally planned on going down the coast from San Francisco to LA, but this took us inland. So we drove the couple of hours out to the park.
When we got there, it was CROWD-ED! It seemed like everyone was there. We were going to go out to the Mariposa Sequoia Grove first, but parking was full, so we had to go towards Wawona (a small town in the middle) where the gas cost between $4.49 and $4.79 a gallon. (They get you inside the park- graham crackers at the store cost over $6 a box.) From there, we went out to Glacier Point. On the way, there were signs on the road at Avalanche Creek about a fire. They had a lightning-sparked fire recently and were performing a controlled fire to help prevent an even bigger one. Pretty neat how the fire actually helps the trees out.
After a 30 mile drive, we made it out to Glacier Point. From here, you can see all of Yosemite Valley- Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, Yosemite River, and El Capitan. It was pretty cool. And a long way down.
After that, we decided to drive down to Yosemite Valley to look up at everything, since we had already looked down on it all. So we took the drive (again, with a ton of cars going in the same direction) and were lucky enough to find parking close enough to walk, but far enough to be out of the craziness. From the bottom, everything looks different. You can see everything up close and not through binoculars or a camera lens. We learned that the other half of Half Dome never existed and the geology behind the formations. They also had a Native American village in the Valley. It was the Awahanee Tribe. Pretty cool seeing their buildings and how they lived. There was more information on them in the Visitors' Center. Also in the Valley was the Ansel Adams Art Gallery. We learned that putting any good picture into black and white makes it a great picture. Some of them looked like ones we took this summer!
There was one final road that they suggested taking called Tioga Road. Well, we got there and about 2 1/2 miles into it, we were stopped. The line of traffic was moving on the other side, but not on our side. Still don't know why. We were there for about 20 minutes. Well, when we finally got moving again, there were some meadows along the way and some great overlooks. We did see (what we think was) a mountain lion. It was definitely of the cat persuasion and bigger than a house cat. They say that mountain lions live in the park, so we are thinking that that's what it was. It could've been a bobcat, but I think it was too big for one.
When we were done, it was back to the campground. It was a long day in the park so we are just getting ready for bed. It's off to Kings Canyon and Sequoia tomorrow morning!

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