Friday, August 19, 2016


Wanting to take advantage of his recently acquired America the Beautiful Senior Pass, giving him access to national parks for free, my dad had his sights set on Yosemite this year. 
Although still almost a 4 hr drive each way, it was at least one that did not require a plane ride to get to.  My third time and my dad’s second time in 20 years, a lot has changed over the years.  Aside from the increase in traffic especially during peak season that may delay you up to 2 hours trying to get into Yosemite Village, the landscape has changed as well from the 2 year closure of the Mariposa Grove, home of the giant sequoias as it undergoes restoration efforts to the previous large Hetch Hetchy rim fire that threatened the water supply at a time that California was already grappling with a drought. 

We are definitely not out of the woods (pun may or may not be intended) as month long wildfires from 4-5 hour away Monterey County and thankfully a quickly contained one from the neighbor Sierras brought along a haze as a reminder of the high fire danger and the importance of being responsible.  

The last time we were in Yosemite for the day, we did an easy to moderate 1 ½ mile hike at Pothole Dome.  The name may not be so inviting but the impressive views were worth the time.  Located on the Western part of the Tuolomne Meadows right off Tioga Pass Road, the hike on a granite dome can provide adventure for people of almost all ages.  Once you catch your breath from the high altitude, the view of the meadows, Lembert Dome, and Cathedral Peak from the summit will take it right back.  Do not be surprised if you encounter some friendly wildlife on your trek but do pay attention to the namesake “potholes” caused by water erosion that you will find scattered throughout. 

This time around due to limited time at the park and my dad’s purpose of wanting to take pictures, it was more of a driving tour through different areas of the park.  Although the haze affected the visibility of some sites the higher we went, we were able to capture some scenic pictures from Tunnel View on our attempt to head up to Glacier Point,
but due to a full lot and a 1 1/2 hr wait for the 30 minute shuttle ride, we detoured and went to Olmsted Point on Tioga Pass Road instead where it was slightly clearer,

and El Capitan and Bridal Veil Falls from the valley floor.

With the Mariposa Grove reopening some time next year, hopefully we will find ourselves back way before another 20 years has gone by. 

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