Yosemite is a place that I have dreamed of visiting for many years. I finally got the opportunity to pay a very quick visit recently. Only having a couple of free days in San Francisco, I was quick to book a hotel room and rent a car.
Unable to get a room in Yosemite National Park, I ended up staying in Oakhurst. A couple of mistakes that I made were not appreciating quite how far away the visitors centre was from my hotel and the second was not realising that I needed snow chains on my car to carry on up into the park.
I arrived in Oakhurst mid afternoon. The weather was not good; pouring with rain and very low cloud, so I decided to have an early night.
My earlier mistakes were addressed by a very efficient bus service that runs from Fresno up to the park at regular intervals throughout the day. It picked a few of us up right outside our hotel at 5.30 the following morning.
The weather was still poor but this was my one and only chance to get up to this wonderful place. Two hours later and we arrived at the visitors centre. It didn’t open until 9am so I joined a couple of ladies and walked to the base of Yosemite Falls.
The rain, sleet and snow had finally stopped and the low cloud base slowly lifted, making for quite a dramatic landscape.
Having stopped for a photo opportunity we slowly wandered back to the visitors centre and got the up to date information on what trails were open. Loaded with maps and the latest info we decided to walk part of the base trail.
The recent storms had caused quite a lot of damage plus there was still quite a lot of roads and trails closed due to snow. No major ascents or descents today, just lots of spectacular views. Early Spring seemed the perfect time of year to see the waterfalls, especially after the recent weather.
We had only been walking about half an hour when the sun worked its magic and burnt through all the cloud, giving us a beautiful blue sky shortly afterwards.
We passed some large groups of school children doing some orienteering, others learning about the local flora and fauna; wow, what a classroom.
We almost got our feet wet at one stage trying to negotiate our way through a well flooded section of trail. Fortunately we managed to get through unscathed but a couple just behind us were less fortunate; no harm done, just wet feet.
A little further on we arrived on the opposite side of mirror lake where a young man was taking some time out, sitting cross legged on a rock meditating. The whole area makes you feel very relaxed, such tranquil surroundings.
I was eager to head up higher; there are many trails throughout the park, something for everyone. However, my plans of reaching dizzy heights will have to wait for another time. Governed by a bus schedule, the last bus was leaving at 5.30pm. Just enough time for a sandwich and mug of hot chocolate.
Leaving the park you pass by so many of the other amazing landmarks, don’t blink or you’ll miss it.
I fully intend on going back to Yosemite, next time will have to be a holiday; no time constraints.