Yosemite

Today, I drove up from Ridgecrest to CA.  Took about 3 hours, most of the way on US-395N.  The road into Yosemite, US-120, was quite impressive.  A large portioin of the road is on a mountainside, climbing up to almost 10,000ft from 7,000 or so.

Once in Yosemite, I drove west to Olmstead Point.  Here you get a great view of some mountains in the distance, including the backside of the famous Half Dome.  There is also a short trail leading to a large granite hill which offers great views of the area.  After taking a whole bunch of pictures, I moved on.

I decided to get a quick lunch at a snack bar in Tuolumne Meadows.  I had a bacon cheeseburger and fries and a lemonade.  It was no better than any of the other DNC offerings I’ve had…

Afterward, I looked for a good place to walk through the meadow.  It turned out I picked a good spot.  A short walk across the meadow passed some nice creeks and nice views.  It lead to Soda Springs, an area where water is bubbling up out of the ground.  It was interesting, never seen a spring before.

After walking around a bit in that area, I walked along a utility road that started out next to a creek.  I saw a man taking pictures of a deer, and I did the same.  I slowly walked closer and closer getting pictures all the way.  Eventually, I got a bit too close and it darted.  I wasn’t prepared for it to run towards me, and there was in fact a 2nd deer as well obscured in some tall grass that ran along.  They passed in front of me and crossed the road and into the woods.  I could still see them since it was lightly wooded, and it turns out that there was a fawn as well!  That’s my first ever baby deer!

After walking a bit more, I backtracked and returned the way I came.  I decided to take a side trail that went through the meadow.  Got some nice pictures there…  It eventually lead to the snack bar that I ate at.  I returned to my car by a path that paralleled the road.

After that, I decided to go climb Pothole Dome, which is a granite dome that overlooks the meadow on the west side.  Apparently there is an easier way up (map), but I took probably the route of medium difficulty.  I did see 3 guys climb up the side, which was more than I can handle.  It took me awhile to get up, had to take 3 or 4 breaks.  But eventually I made it.  Since it is above the treeline, it offers great views of the meadow.  I was pretty tired after that and it was late so I decided to head to my hotel.

I got in to my hotel in Mammoth Lakes just as the sky darkened.  Staying at the Westin Monache, which actually has a pretty good rate considering it is a Westin.  It’s awesome as expected.  Nice comfy bed, LCD TV, and the room is pretty large even though it’s the lowest class of room at the hotel.  I ate at the hotel restaurant since it was pretty late.  I had a rare steak and beef appetizer.  It was pretty good though expensive.  I was tempted to get desert but didn’t really feel up to it.

And that was my day!

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