Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Portugal - California 2004

Through Yosemite and across the Sierra

You guessed it : yet another great night's sleep and a really nice awakening, with the strong sun streaming into my room as best it could through the tiny gap between the curtains. I partook of the Holiday Inn Express breakfast for the last time on this trip and was ready for the road by approximately 1000 - no great rush required. I was immediately on Highway 140 heading east, first through fairly boring surroundings and later passing through the much more interesting canyon of the Merced River, before arriving at the gateway to Yosemite National Park and stumping up my USD20 entry fee. In fact, I never grudge these fees as I believe that the US National Parks Service does a pretty good job in looking after some wonderful natural assets.

Before too long, I found myself in the reasonably familiar surroundings of Yosemite Valley, with El Capitan and other peaks towering above. With the soaring, sheer cliff faces, I could see why this place has rather colourfully been called God's Cathedral in the Sierra! I had visited Yosemite twice before : in 1985 and again in 1987. It had been a long time, yet I remembered the valley area quite well. Very little appeared to have changed, which is probably not that surprising; this was no man-made cityscape! I had a fast food lunch in Yosemite Village, which was very much nicer than those served up by the major chains.

I walked the short trail out to the Yosemite Falls. It hadn't actually occurred to me that they would be bone dry! Didn't really think that one through, did I? I returned to the car and set off to cross the Sierra Nevada via the Tioga Pass. Much of this road lies within the National Park and I made a few stops along the way to admire the views. The best ones were at Olsted Point and Tenaya Lake, then Tioga Lake and Ellery Lake on exiting the park. There is also what should be a spectacular vista where the road meets Highway 395 at Mono Lake, but the view is cluttered by various intrusions, not the least of which is the highway itself.

I had a fast run down Hwy 395 to the side road for Mammoth Lakes and found the Holiday Inn there without too much difficulty. Although I felt it didn't have much of an appearance externally, it proved to be very nice inside. Indeed, I got the definite impression that it was close to being brand new. I did some much-needed washing in the hotel's guest laundry, putting the waiting time to excellent use by formatting my latest pictures and writing up this diary!

Friday 24 Sep

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