| Home | April-20th-2002
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The Landmark of Yosemite NP - the Half Dome
30th of May - After the past strains we wanted to let the day begin leisurely since we were already very close to the Yosemite NP. However, we were set right. When we left the campground in Bishop towards Yosemite NP at about 8 o´clock, soon thereafter the lamp "Service Engine Soon" went on at the dashboard. Fantastic, we did not need another problem with the motorhome. First we thought we did not have enough oil because the ride through Death Valley had demanded a lot from our RV. Thus we had to drive back to Bishop. It would have been too risky to go on and Bishop was relatively large and there were a few garages. The search for a garage turned out to be very difficult, contrary to all expectations. After we had to leave five garages without having achieved anything, we finally got help immediately at the sixth one. We wanted to go on as soon as possible. We had called El Monte before and asked what should be done and whether an oil change is really due, as we assumed. Normally the oil must be changed every 3000 miles but we had only driven 2000 miles. At the garage we were told that an inspection with an oil change had already been overdue 1000 miles. The invoice total was quite high in our opinion, but it did not bother us since we should get the costs refunded by El Monte. Main thing, everything was okay again. Three and a half hours time delay were the result and the disappointment about the always so highly praised service quality of the Americans sat deeply.

Due to the time delay we had to cancel the hot creeks of Mammoth Lakes and the Mono LakeAscent to the Vernal Fall because we did not want to arrive too late at the Yosemite NP if we still wanted to get a camping site in the park. Fortunately, the Tioga Pass was open. That saved us a long detour.The Whole Beauty of the Vernal Fall The way across the pass was not very difficult. With some more time we also would have definitely stopped at the wonderful lakes which were situated on the left and on the right of the road. On our arrival at the Yosemite Village all campgrounds were unfortunately already full. However, we did not let us put off. Anke turned on all her charm and thus we still got a camping site for handicaped on the Wawona Campground,View from the Side which is about 30 miles away from the Yosemite Village at the South Entrance. Since we were already in the Yosemite Village and many hiking trails begin here, we went on a hike then. After a short stop at the Visitor Center we started our hike along the Mist Trail to the Vernal and Nevada Fall at about 4 p.m. The trail was very steep and strenuous, but also very interesting and exciting. It leads directly past the thunderous Vernal Fall, soTotally wet, but happy. that you get totally wet by the spray of the water. We did not walk all the way up to the Nevada Fall. We only looked at it from the Emerald Pools. The masses of water that fell down the rock were enormous. Due to the advanced time, we unfortunately had to go back because we did not want to arrive in the dark on the campground and we still had to drive quite a few miles. Since there was no wind and the charcoal was of very bad quality, we could not make a grill fire in the evening.

31st of May - Our campground Mammoth Treewas situated near the Mariposa Grove where giant trees, that are thousands of years old, can be admired. That was our firstMites were also there. sight of interest of the day. You should take the free shuttle from Wawona to Mariposa Grove because motorhomes which are longer than seven meters are not allowed to park at the Grove. The parking space there is very limited anyway. You can go on a guided tour by shuttle through the Mariposa Grove. It leads you to the most beautiful trees and takes one hour. Since the tour costs $11 per person, we decided to walk to the Grizzly Giant which is actually sufficient in order to get an impression of the Mariposa Grove.

Our next point of interest was the Glacier Point,View at the Glacier Point which is located high above the valley and which offers a stunning view of the waterfalls, the Half Dome and further granite massifs of the Sierra Nevada. The last curves before the viewpoint are very difficult to drive. The road is not easy for not very experienced drivers. Being back in the Yosemite Village, we had a look at the Bridalveil Fall and the Yosemite Falls which are very easily accessible without long hikes.

Bridalveil FallAt about 3 p.m. we left the park over innumerable serpentines. We would have liked to stay longer because the park had impressed us very much, but unfortunately we did not have more time. We wanted to spend the night near San Francisco because the campground in the city cost $46. From the CampBook of California we knew where we had to look for campgrounds. We wanted to camp near Tracy but the campground was very difficult to find. After we had asked innumerable people who could usually give us no information, we finally found the campground. It was situated in a complete isolated area, quite far away from the highway and completely deserted. Everything seemed to be closed. Here we definitely did not want to spend the night. It was almost a bit creepy there. Meanwhile it had become dark. We drove back to the highway and to the next campground in Livermore. When we inquired about the campground in Livermore, we were told that it is situated 7 to 8 miles away from the town. We did not have the nerve to drive any further and inquired about alternatives, but noone could help us. Ronny was completely bushed. Meanwhile we did not have any nerves anymore. From the highway we had discovered a Wal Mart where we drove to. In travel guides we had read that you can stay overnight on a parking lot of Wal Mart. We did that then and we were not the only ones. We were so tired that the noise of the highway did not bother us at all.

Our Tips

Since the Yosemite NP is one of the most popular national parks, it is advisable to reserve a camping site in advance. The campgrounds outside the park are not a good alternative because you have to drive many miles in order to get into the park and out again and thus you lose a lot of time.

The warnings of bears you should take serious, otherwise you will have surprises you do not wish for. Do not leave food outside. Especially when you camp in a tent, you should use the bear boxes for storing your food.

In the Yosemite NP you must consider that you will have to drive a lot because of the great distances in the park.

Due to the situation of the Yosemite NP in the high Sierra Nevada and the climatic conditions there, the Tioga Pass, the Glacier Point Road and the Mariposa Grove Road are closed for traffic from October/November until May/June. You should plan your route accordingly. The information about the open pass roads you can get in the internet.

For visiting the Yosemite NP you should plan much time because the park has so much to offer - many impressive waterfalls, secluded clear mountain lakes, fantastic hiking trails for each condition. Strongly to recommend is the Glacier Point, because a better view of the park you can only have from the Half Dome. You should not miss the hike to the Vernal and Nevada Fall. The last part of the way up on the Half Dome is only for someone with a good physical condition. But it is an unique experience that you will live on for a long time.

An excursion to the Mariposa Grove is only to recommend if you do not visit the Sequoia NP because it´s quite a long way from the Yosemite Village and thus very time-consuming.

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