Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day 8 (23 August 2015)

A very hazy Half Dome from Olmsted Point - heading out of Yosemite National Park towards the eastern entrance. The haze is due to the bushfires nearby.

Strange rock features near Toulumne Meadows Visitor Centre. Still inside Yosemite National Park.

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park.

The eastern Yosemite National Park tollgate - at nearly 10,000 feet above sea level.

Descending down the Sierra Nevada near Lee Vining, California.

The Bodie Methodist Church.

Anne in front of one of Bodie's old shops.

Brick and wood structures in Bodie, California - east of Lee Vining.

The old Bodie School House - once served children within a 10,000 populated city.

A view of the desert side of the Sierra Nevada range near Bridgeport, California.

Toffee apples for sale in South Lake Tahoe, California.

The Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe, California - a winter's paradise for skiers.

Gondolas to the South Lake Tahoe ski slopes.

Country western singer outside our restaurant in South Lake Tahoe.

After a few days we have access to Wifi and inserted three days worth of holiday pictures. Today we left Yosemite National Park and needed to climb a 10,000 feet pass to travel eastward near the Nevada state line. The views over Yosemite was very hazy due to the bushfire that were started by lightning. It is strange as there has not been any rain or clouds in this region for weeks! We drove past a town called Lee Vining and headed off road to a ghost town called Bodie. Once a gold and silver mine city of 10,000 population however many years ago it was deserted and became a ghost town. Just recently it is opened to tourists and many original buildings are still intact. Interestingly their claim to fame during the 1880's was a killing of a person on a daily basis. Gold fever apparently! From Bodie we headed back on the Sierra Nevada range and made South Lake Tahoe about 3:30pm. This is a Bonanza site where Hoss Cartwright would have visited but now a famous ski resort at the south end of Lake Tahoe. The town is very touristy with fine restaurants. We have an early wake up tomorrow for a balloon ride of the lake - starting at 6:15am. This is a first for the four of us. With a champagne breakfast it should be fun. So cheers to all. 

Day 7 (22 August 2015)

A dry Yosemite Falls.

A little water is flowing over the Yosemite Falls - however we needed to look hard to find it.

A squirrel at the Lower Yosemite Falls

It's all about Yosemite Falls.

The main river that flows through the Yosemite National Park valley - a great mirror view.

The famous Half Dome from the Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

The dry Mirror Lake inside the Yosemite National Park

Guess who? Taken from Washburn Point, Yosemite National Park.

Half Dome from Washburn Point (8,800 feet)

Neil and Anne at Washburn Point.

Showing off at Washburn Point.

More showing off at Washburn Point.

A downward view where we had parked our Bertha taken from Glacier Point 2000 feet above.

Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Another view of hazy Half Dome with Neil and Anne. Taken from Glacier Point.

Another view of hazy Half Dome with Choon and Meng. Taken from Glacier Point.

Our last view of Half Dome at Glacier Point

An early wake up made us leave our accommodation at 7:45am for Yosemite National Park. It is only 8 miles away however being a Saturday the popular weekend holiday site for Californians it is necessary to beat the crowds. This was a great decision. On our arrival we parked our Bertha with no problems and then headed straight for the Lower Yosemite Falls. Because of the late summer season there were no flowing water over the high cliff. Nevertheless, the view was awesome. Within the park there is a free shuttle service…so we boarded the bus to take us near Mirror Lake. Again no water in the lake but the famous Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley was visible. Boarded a second shuttle bus back to our Bertha and had lunch near the Information Office. By this time the crowds were thick and fast. After lunch we drove out of the Yosemite Valley and headed for Glacier Point – about 23 miles away. The road ascended to 7,214 feet which is about the same height as Mount Kosciusko in NSW. There are two lookouts here and definitely the highlight within Yosemite National Park. The views from Washburn and Glacier Points were spectacular. The Half Dome from a distance is great and looking down a couple of thousand feet down onto the car park where earlier where had parked was amazing. The only drawback today was the smoke haze that prevented picture perfect views and photographs. Apparently the smoke condition are the caused by the serious bushfires occurring in northern California who have being affected over the past few weeks. Back to El Portal we stocked up food for dinner tonight – smoked sockeye and pasta, yum!…. in our self-contained rooms. Tomorrow we head out of Yosemite National Park westwards to South Lake Tahoe. This is famous for the Bonanza location TV series and near the Nevada border. So….cheers to all.

Day 6 (21 August 2015)

Our Dodge Durango "Bertha" at Delano, north of Los Angeles.

The front area of a road side rest stop north of Delano, California - great information site and picnic area.

Somewhere north of Fresco, California during a leg break stop.

Our Bertha along the Yosemite Valley near the entrance to the National Park tollgate. 

A late afternoon view of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park. This high monster is frequently scaled by rock climbers - some without rock equipment.

One of the many rock features inside the Yosemite National Park valley.

Late summer water spill over the Bridle Falls in Yosemite National Park

A mule deer inside Yosemite National Park.

Another view of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park.

We left Los Angeles at 7:45am and hit a congested freeway heading north. With twelve lanes across the traffic jam for 20 kilometres or near about was slow. After passing through a junction where traffic was heading into Los Angeles and we were heading out the road trip was uneventful. At a place called Delano we visited a Walmart and purchased supplies and lunch. Walmart sell easy fresh take-away foods the locals call South-West Salads, Cobb Salads and Ranch Salads that make an inexpensive and non-fattening lunch. At noon we consumed our repast at a rest stop. After lunch we passed through Fresno and headed north on normal country roads to El Portal. We have booked a lodge at this place located just a few miles from the entrance to Yosemite National park. After check-in we paid $30 (per vehicle) for a seven day pass into the park and travelled as far as El Capitan. This is a high steep sheer cliff prominently visible from the interior park road. Apparently many climbers scale this monster mountain some without ropes and climbing equipment – crazy people! Also we checked out the Bridle Falls which at this time of the year was dry from lack of water supply from the surrounding mountains- California is suffering from a severe drought not seen for decades. Returning to our lodge we refuelled “Big Bertha” – yes that is the name we gave our huge four-wheel beastie. The fuel was expensive at $4.20 USD per gallon totalling a $73USD final bill. As our lodge room had a stove and cooking facilities we served ourselves steak and salads washed down with a local beer. Tomorrow we will explore Yosemite National park more deeply and may utilise their free shuttle service between each major site. Cheers to all our friends.