Wow! Yosemite truly is an awe-inspiring National Park. We spent 4 nights at the Yosemite Falls Lodge, in the valley of Yosemite.
Shortly after passing through the Big Oak Flat park entrance you are blessed with beautiful landscapes.
The Waterfalls were flowing quite well due to a winter full of moisture and slightly warming Spring temperatures.
Below is a picture of Yosemite Upper and Lower Falls as seen from the Sentinel Meadow. The cars in the foreground give some good perspective to size.
We were saddened to see a large number of trees destroyed from the Ferguson fire, which hit Yosemite last summer. Additionally, the park was hit hard by winter storms in February.
Many of the trees that survived the fire were weakened to a point that they just snapped when the winter storms came. The fire damage was wide spread.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located in the northwest corner of Yosemite. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Valley. We hadn’t heard about this area of the park but it looked like an interesting side trip. The drive is full of scenery and at times, tight mountain turns. We really enjoyed it.
We also took a side trip up to the Yosemite Ski Resort. There was quite a bit of snow at the resort.
There are some beautiful landscape views on the way up to the ski resort.
During our stay we had 3 days of overcast weather, a little rain, low temps in the 20s and highs in the upper 40s.
It wasn’t a washout though so we were able to get out hiking every day. We hiked between 8 – 10 miles a day. It is very easy to do this in the valley as it is pretty flat and so scenic that you forget how long you have been walking.
We enjoyed a walk to Mirror Lake, although with overcast skies we didn’t get very much of the mirror effect.
The trail was very lush.
On one of our walks we stumbled upon a small cemetery. Some of the graves date back to the mid 1800s.
We didn’t see very much wildlife in the park, aside from these deer and a couple of coyote.
Below are some final pictures from our visit:
The Three Brothers
My favorite view of the Valley is from Tunnel View. We visited this spot numerous times during our stay and it wasn’t until we were leaving the park for good that we got a nice shot with bright blue skies.
And the final picture, with Charlie and I.
Our Stays along the way:
We left Marina Dunes RV Park, near Monterey, CA, March 18th and drove to a winery in Merced, CA. We found Vista Ranch and Cellars through the ‘Harvest Hosts’ app. (https://harvesthosts.com/ ). They allow RVs to stay overnight on their property and they even supply 50 amp power. It was a good location en route to Yosemite. The wine was just average, but we enjoyed the wine tasting experience. We would not stay here again though, as I think the train goes through their front yard. We heard train horns continuously through the night.
On the way to Merced we passed some fields adorned with beautiful wildflowers.
We left Merced early in the morning and made our way to Groveland, CA. The road from Moccasin to Groveland is interesting. It is very steep and windy, an interesting road with the RV.
Groveland is the last town before reaching Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat’s entrance. It has the ambience of a former Gold Rush mining town. We parked the RV at Yosemite Pines RV Resort. It is a stretch to call this a Resort. However, it served its purpose as a safe parking spot for the motorhome while we stayed at the lodge in Yosemite. The only time we ventured into the town was for dinner on our first and last nights.
The most unique restaurant/bar in town is the Iron Door Saloon. According to its proprietors, it is the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. We enjoyed a drink there before heading across the street to the Mexican restaurant, Cichio. They have fabulous tacos. We tried all of them; beef, chicken, shrimp and fish.
After we left Groveland we headed over to Lodi, CA where we stayed at another Harvest Host winery: Jessie’s Grove Winery. We parked in a huge grassy field, surrounded by vineyards.
Due to the wet winter and spring, the vineyards were very lush.
The wine at this small winery was pretty good, especially the ports.
While in Lodi we visited the old town district.
We ventured into a fantastic cheese shop. We had a personalized tasting and learned quite a bit about cheeses. If you are ever in Lodi, check out Cheese Central.
Our next stop is Napa Valley. More on that later…..