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April 11, 2017

Yosemite 2 – fun in the valley

Yosemite National Park was 3rd most visited National Park in 2016, behind the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon.  The 5.2 million visitors last year set an attendance record, despite the confusion with the iconic historic areas having been trademarked by Delaware North Company (DNC), the previous concessionaire.  I think it was a smart move by the NPS to rename the trademarked iconic structures during the litigation process.  This allows the NPS to claim the trademarks are of little value, as with the renaming people came and set a new record, I hope that is the case.

[side bar: Delaware North now has the rights to San Diego’s Old Town … ARG!]

Having spent 6 days in the valley, I’ll condense our time into this one long post.   We jumped on the free valley shuttle we take the shot ride to Yosemite Village, where my two favorite village people photobomb the sign.  As with all the renamed sites the original sign was simply covered with a new one, as seen the the example of Half Dome Village was Curry Village.

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Our first stop is the  Visitor Center and theater where the girls get a serious viewing on being safe on the trails and around the water.  Within the excellent VC Aj meets up with John Muir and shares his vision of Yosemite.  I could start most topics with ‘Back in the day …’, hence I’ll be using the iconic names in my post, and reference the new name.

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The next stop on the shuttle is the Ahwahnee Hotel, aka the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, we’ll be here a few more times and I’ll compile all our visits into this post.  The Royal Arch Cascade was flowing nearly full force over the west side of the Royal Arches.  This beautiful ephemeral fall will soon be gone.
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We took a tour that provided the history of the hotel and then came back the next day for breakfast.  The hotel was designed before Hiway 140 was completed.  It was soon discovered that the prevailing winds carried the exhaust fumes into the lobby.  Hence a new lobby was quickly constructed, so if the hotel looks like it is backwards … it is!
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Each of the rooms and throughout the public areas are unique murals inspired by native Indian basket weaving.  I heard Ansel Adams playing the piano here … back in the day!
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Breakfast tip – Kg and I had the ‘Royal Arches’ breakfast (eggs, hashbrowns, bacon), but if you have the desire go for the buffet – smoked salmon and trout, eggs Benedict, muffins, bagels, fruit ….
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The furnishings within the hotel are mostly original, including the writing desks.  Stephen Mather (of 20 mule team borax fame) was the first director of the National Park Service.  The hotel is built to his specifications that it be fire proof (despite the wood look it is nearly all concrete) and there must be writing desks!  There are dozens of writing desks and even a writing room, where a guest were encouraged to send letters and post cards to promote the value of Yosemite and the national parks in general.  BTW – postcards were free with postage a penny … back in the day.

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My story of the hotel ends here with the sad note that Kg’s camera was taken.  What low-life would take another’s memories???  Tis a heartbreak, but on the upside, Kg gets to research and pick her replacement camera.   I’d still like to chat with the sob who lifted it …

On another valley day we had signed up for the ‘camera walk’, a 90 minute walk in Cook’s Meadow from the Best's Studio (Ansel Adams Gallery).  Our docent Michael led us from the gallery to spots where Ansel Adams had taken photos and discussed their composition, lighting, framing, etc.  Here’s my chance at being Ansel, it’s sorta ok in color, but the foreground fades away in BW
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Next up will be Mirror Lake, but if you want a reflection photo look in Cook’s Meadow.  Back in the day … Mirror lake was a mirror, now it’s a meadow.  That’s the next post ….
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Back on the shuttle for our last stop at Yosemite Falls at 2425’ it is the tallest falls in the lower US.  The falls is in 3 stages, during our visit only the trail to lower falls was open.
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From here we’ll walk back to the campsite across Cook’s Meadow crossing the Merced River on the Swinging Bridge.
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There is a sign along the trail that shows the depth of the water from the 1997 tropical storm.
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OK so it’s hard to keep SoCal gals away from water, despite the movie we saw a few hours ago …
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The chapel holds services and is open for meditation most every day.
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YoHo! a bobcat!!! a Lynx Rufus behind the chapel.
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Once we arrive back at campsite 155, Kami gets the the Dutch Ovens going.  With Cherry Cobbler, Garlic Potatoes and Meatballs with gravy.

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ARG! Kami is wearing socks with sandals – a total SoCal Faux Pas!  And so is Aj, I thought I raised these girls better!  I am sooooo embarrassed I have to show this Smile

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Aj, the energetic one now has fashioned a bow and arrow, and is working on her native shelter.  Never know what the kids will focus on from the VC, or the Indian Village.

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Here’s a couple Pics from Kg as she is learning to use my old Cannon, she does have an eye ... :
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She makes that old camera look better than new!

Next up the Mirror Meadow Loop with a young black bear providing the entertainment.
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