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April 09, 2017

Yosemite 1 - the road to Upper Pines Campground


Yosemite National Park was an annual August destination of a decade or so.  I would take son Michael back to college in Orange County, via 395 and Tioga Pass – a wonderful route.  This will only be our second Springtime trip.  Yosemite is known for its massive granite formations, stands of massive Sequoia groves and waterfalls … this trip is not just about the waterfalls.  But seeing the valley thru the eyes of the grand-girls

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In August we could spend a few days working our way up the Eastern Sierra on 395 and then over Tioga Pass.  But Tioga Pass will not be open for a few more months so it is through Los Angles for this trip.  There is never a good time to go through LA.  And we’ll be doing it on a Friday … Is there ever a good time to go thru LA?  It is a slow drive to our overnight at the Walmart camping lot in Bakersfield.
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There’s a bit of a fun tourist trap Bravo Farms outside of Fresno.  It’s a good place for a leg stretch, easy-off; easy-on Hiway 99.  With several flavors of craft cheese, olives (but no jalapeno stuffed olives today Sad smile).  And way too many choices of root beer and not enough of the local wines.

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Coming from the south CA-41 is the obvious choice, altho 140 makes a great route too.   And on 140 you’ll not get this pesky bridge clearance warning.   A bit worrisome but we continue on.
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SNOW!  Just past the Wawona entrance on 41 there are still high snowbanks along the road.  But the real reason for this entrance is Tunnel View.   That is Bridalveil Falls that pops into view as we exit the tunnel and find a parking spot and Bridalveil Falls that welcomes us into the Valley.
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Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove were the first federally protected park land to be set aside specifically for preservation and public use, when President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War – while neither he nor any member of Congress had seen Yosemite Valley.  Thus paving the way by creating a national precedence for preserving lands for public use.  Just 8 years later, with the signature of President Grant on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was created as our first national park.
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Yosemite was ceded to California as a federally mandated State Park until President Theodore Roosevelt, after a 1903 camping trip with John Muir,  signed a bill returning Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to federal protection as part of Yosemite National Park in 1906.

Only Camp 4 does not require an advance reservation.   With both daughter Kami and I trying to secure a reservation we managed to snag my 3rd choice for Spring Break week in Upper Pines Campground.

Cell service has improved thruout the valley.  Both voice and text are available, but a good LTE signal is only available at the Village.

We have one of the most spacious sites in Upper Pines Campground, which is in the shadow of Glacier Point preventing our little solar suitcase from doing much good.  The locals call the campgrounds on the south side ‘Little Siberia’ as they will not get any sun during the winter and are always much cooler than the north side
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After 5 years of drought the trees in Upper Pines are being thinned.  Thus much of the privacy we enjoyed in site 155 is missing in the higher numbed sites.  Also with the recent rains some of the sites are flooded, here in site 216 they have to cross the creek to get from the parking to their bear locker and picnic table.
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After Kami carefully designed the promo cards for the Harry Potter game, JK tossed in a curveball – Scabbers is not an Ally!  There are thousands of Scabbers' cards to cook our Hobo Stew.
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This is Aj’s marshmallow stick, it’s hard to see in the picture but it is a fishing pole with a weighted head.  A flip of the wrist is all that’s needed to rotate marshmallows … pretty clever and fun to use.
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Over the next week or so I’ll be updating with our bobcat and bear sightings, our hikes into the valley and above the valley floor.
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