YOSEMITE VALLEY November 13, 2011

Asleep by about 8 p.m., the night before, I woke up at an early 1:45 a.m., this fine Sunday. This was the last of three fee-free days for the National Parks. The forecast was for partly cloudy. I supposed there might be some of a photographic challenge, so left home by 4 a.m. I know that it doesn’t take me too long to drive to the Valley, so motored along U.S. 99, then over to CA 120 via Valley Home. I filled up with gas at 3.599 in Oakdale, CA, then noted the new blacktop on the Old, then New Priest Grade, later seen, both up, and down. I stopped for a break in Groveland, CA. It didn’t look like much for a dawn magic hour shoot, so I declined a short walk, there.

Stopping at the Stanislaus National Forest Rim of the World vista point, I snapped a panorama. I usually pass this place by, but I would have time to kill, today. I was unable to determine if the Glacier Point Road was open, by the NPS website, or by their Facebook page. I phoned the number indicated for road conditions three times the day before, but just got a weather recording. The entrance station was closed, so I passed on through. Most of the dogwood leaves were dead, and there was a slight mist over the highway. Snow began to appear along the asphalt, and I passed by the closed Tioga Pass Highway.

I began to stop for photography. There was a fall at Cascade Creek, and then I was stopped by a road work delay. I’d be shooting plenty of movie clips, today. Coming into the Valley, I started snapping photos. Good familiar sights to see. Then, it was to the Village where I headed for the visitor center. They told me that the Glacier Point Road was indeed closed, but I decided later to check it out for myself.

I stopped to hike over to the Lower Fall viewpoint, and had some sights of fall color. Back to my car, I stopped again at Tunnel View for a quick panorama. I shortly came to Glacier Point Road, and saw the locked gate. A truck went through, but had keys to the locks. There was snow, but if it didn’t snow again for awhile, I imagined it all could melt out. Too late for me, I turned back, and gained one view from about Avalanche Creek.

I shot my own movies at a view area, then came back to Tunnel View. I hiked up some slopes to get a higher view, and other people were doing that, too. Motoring down to the Bridalveil Falls trail, I took a few photos and movie clips. Making the Valley loop once again, I repeated taking in the same views, then figured on a shorter day, here. I looped about to the Lodge, and had some food.

Clouds started to blow over the west side of the Valley, so I motored out, and on home. I managed to snap a few more photos, then it was back to CA 120. I stopped again at the Rim viewpoint for another panorama, then enjoyed a nice sunset as I whizzed along the county road that I take for a short cut. Some more food helped me on my drive home.

Hiking then only a mile or so, I had some slight gain, driving 365 miles. I captured 500 images and movie clips (83.1 MB, 3:45, 720p HD). I spent about $55 for gas and food, saving then the $20 entrance charge on this fee free weekend.

Figuring this may be how the rest of my hiking life goes, I hope to provide some near current information for people interested in places that I visit. I had thoughts of hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls, but I have done that so many times. My heart just wasn’t in that. I previously meant to hike a good trail or climb a peak, but I have been there, done that, so many times. I’m having fun doing photography, and a safe, relaxing, time.