Beyond Yosomebody

The clock is winding down on our time in Yosemite – there are so many things to do and see. But, we’re both so stiff & sore after yesterday’s climb to the Falls that we can hardly move. We finally decide to take a (flat) hike down to Mirror Lake.

Along the trail to Mirror Lake

Along the trail to Mirror Lake

It’s a chance to take Jezzy along, so three happy campers hit the Trail. You know how it goes when you’re in a new place, and you just want to see what’s around the next corner? Our little walk turned into a six-mile hike, past some Yosemite scenery totally different than what we had experienced. We passed a rock slide area, where enormous white granite boulders had come smashing down the mountain, into a grove of redwoods.

Rockslide!

Rockslide!

You wouldn't want to be here when the rocks let go!

You wouldn’t want to be here when the rocks let go!

Twisted three trunks and piles of rocks were everywhere. I always wonder what such an event sounds like and feels like. Always interesting to contemplate.

porthole view from our campsite.

porthole view from our campsite.

We decide to try to get an early start on our last day – it’s a fairly short travel day (about 180 miles), but we never know how long our travel time will be.

This guy was holding up traffic.  Jezzy went nuts!  Cunning yellow eyes...

This guy was holding up traffic. Jezzy went nuts! Cunning yellow eyes…

A detour to the Mariposa Grove (Sequoia) just at the Yosemite exit gives us our first glimpse of the giant trees. They are stunning. It’s difficult to comprehend 2000 year old, living trees. Their sheer size is overwhelming – some are 40-45 feet in diameter.

Hard to comprehend how big these are.

Hard to comprehend how big these are.

Naturally, we hike farther and farther into the Grove, stopping to stare and take a few photos, and wonder at these trees. For me, this is by far the best part of our trip so far.

One last funky sight in Yosomebody

One last funky sight in Yosomebody

So, our early start has dissipated, but we don’t care. Our plan is to stop at a small town along the road, and find a Laundromat. We strike gold with a Laundromat next door to a sushi restaurant which will actually deliver to the laundry. Spring rolls and spicy tuna take the drudgery out of doing some nasty camping laundry, for sure. On the road again, we peel off at Trader Joe’s in Fresno to restock the larder for another three or four days of camping. Then, on to Island Park Campground, somewhere in the foothills near Kings Canyon National Park.
All of the sudden, we’re in the lush California foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. No more desert and rock – everything is lush and fuzzy-warm. The roadside is a riot of color with strawflowers, California poppies, and lavender everywhere.

Our campground is at on the shore of this lake.

Our campground is at on the shore of this lake.

Groves of orange trees are still loaded with fruit. The hills are grass-covered, and studded with boulders and green trees. Our campground is at the very bottom of yet another twisty road. Very interesting campground….our space is pretty narrow, and up a hill. John has to back the Fireball up into this narrow slot, which is the most unlevel site we can imagine. We’ve got one side of the Fireball jacked up so high to make it level that we have to leap out the door. That first step is a killer!  Will have to take a photo, just so we can remember this….
Our camp neighbors are a huge extended family that has been camping at this park Easter week for over 25 years. What a compound they’ve established. There must be at least 80 of them, spread out all over the campground, and we’re dropped right into the middle. I’ll bet they brought a cord of firewood with them. There are bunches of kids, all who want to pet Jezzy and chat us up. It’s camp life at its greatest.
Kings Canyon National Park coming up……

Yosomebody

My sister’s grandson once referred to Yosemite as Yosomebody, so that’s what it’s become to us.

an early view

an early view

The Park is bigger, more spectacular, and grander than expected in every way.  Preseason, there are few campgrounds open, so this one is packed.  Kids, bikes, tents and small RVs are everywhere.

happy campers

happy campers

There are a few larger motorhomes, but not many.  Lots of campfires keep the air quality interesting.

The access road into Yosomebody is hair-raising.  Dips, twists and turns.  We probably gained and lots 3000 feet of elevation several times.  My head was whipping back & forth, trying to see everything as John maneuvered the Fireball thru the tight turns.  I think he had a death-grip on the steering wheel, but he pretended to be relaxed.  Ha!

We’ve been here for a few days already, and trying to describe this magnificent park seems so trite.  So, I’ll just make a few observations, and post a separate story about the hike of a lifetime we had yesterday.

*The Park spends a lot of time & effort on bear warnings

Guess they are so clever they can even back-seat drive

Guess they are so clever they can even back-seat drive

.  Each campsite has a bear box for all food things.  We don’t leave anything in the truck.  They really should have raven warnings.  These crafty birds are patrolling the campground, and pick up anything not nailed down.

*Why would anyone throw down a cigarette butt in such a place?  One of these morons better hope I’m not around when they are ditching their butt on the ground.

*I’m envious of all the families here – people hiking with their kids (and very young kids).  What memories they’ll have.  So many Asian visitors as well, and many Germans.

*The Rangers are awesome.  It would take the patience of Job to deal with all the people and situations that arise every day.  They’re helpful and polite, in spite of answering the same questions over and over.

*We love the shuttles.  They keep traffic down, and really move large numbers of visitors around efficiently.  They’re electric, so they’re quiet as well.

*What a great place to be on a bicycle!

Lots of markers around regarding the high water of 1996

Lots of markers around regarding the high water of 1997.

*We’re so glad to be here in the off-season.  A fellow hiker yesterday said that the trails are “like Disneyland” from May to September.

*We’re really happy with the Fireball.  It suits our camping needs perfectly.  We revel in all the compliments of people walking by.

*There are a couple of basic subcultures here (this is from John).  First are the lodge/cruise ship people. They ride the bus a bit, eat in the dining rooms there, and get a small slice of Yosomebody life.  Second are the RV/generator people.  Although we have an RV (of sorts), we’re not one of them.  Honestly, why do they need to run those generators all the time?  We can see them sitting inside with their lights on. Third are the small campers, tents and car-sleepers. Pretty low maintenance.  In the campground, we’ve got flush toilets and cold running water only.  Everyone is cooking outside and hanging around outside, huddled around campfires.  Fourth are the Camp 4 folks.  These are the climbers – folks who’ve come to Yosemite to do some serious rock climbing.  They are superfit, drive beat-up cars and vans, and seem to be totally outside the rest of the Yosemite experience.  They wear Patagonia.

More to come – we’re in a hurry to get out & hike today.